Practice theory as flat ontology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Ontologies are an ineliminable part of social theory. By ‘ontologies’ I mean accounts, or simply ideas, explicit or implicit, about the fundamental nature, structure, dimensions, or elements of some phenomenon or domain thereof. Because social theories concern things social, the ontologies that imbue them are accounts of, or just ideas about, the fundamental nature of social life or social phenomena. The present chapter discusses the kind of social ontology that is promulgated in theories of the practice sort and emphasizes one particular feature of this ontology, namely, its ‘flat’ character. My claim is that practice theory as social ontology holds that the realm of the social is entirely laid out on a single level (or, rather, on no level). Practice theories are not the only theories to advance flat social ontologies. Nonetheless, their version of this idea is unique and has significant implications for investigation and explanation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPractice Theory and Research
Subtitle of host publicationExploring the Dynamics of Social Life
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781317326458
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 selection and editorial matter, Gert Spaargaren, Don Weenink and Machiel Lamers; individual chapters, the contributors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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