Monthly Archives: enero 2016

Notas de “Practicing Practice” de Peggy Dreamer


“Michel de Certeau’s work is important in this enterprise. Redirecting a critique of capitalism toward a more empowering, potentially transforming agenda, he describes how “practice” in everyday life offers a space for resistance to hegemonic power. Distinguishing between “strategic” and “tactical” practices, where the first applies to a stratified ordering of social reality and the second to a disruption of the schematic ordering of society, de Certeau saw that certain people, though lacking a space of their own, can tactically subvert acquiescence by engaging in their everyday operations.”

“The repositioning of practice as a framework for personal acts of resistance is continued in Actor-Network Theory (ANT). ANT, as described by Bruno Latour in Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory (2005), complains that sociology has too long presumed knowledge of what the social is. We cannot assume, he says, that the fundamental question of ‘who counts’ has to be answered. The social is ‘a precarious gathering of associations’ continually in need of reassessment and reconstitution.iii Who counts, Latour argues, are all the ‘actors,’ all the entities, animate and inanimate, under investigation. The actors form networks, and the ever-evolving actornetwork exchanges guarantee the instability of the enterprise. Actor-networks have to be repeatedly performed in order not to dissolve.iv Observers have to ‘catch up with [the actors’] often wild innovations in order to learn from them what the collective existence has become.’ The actors are not heroic in their autonomy, but offer “slight surprises.” The researchers/managers are not omniscient in their authoritative position, but follow the actors in their way finding.”

“Practices must operate in the context presented, understand their precariousness, and accept the practitioner/fabricator’s lack of authority in it. Accept it, and yet empower all actors at the table to perform at their best.”

“This reiterates the general “operate in the territory of the unknown” assertion that characterizes ANT theory in general, but gives it a more radical directive, demanding not just vulnerability on the part of the practitioner, but a creative “calling into being” without the rewards of authorship and without the aid of standard work practices.”


“Indeed, ‘management theory’ does not automatically conjure up utopian connections for either society or for architecture. But practice cannot be realized without the sound management of its organization. Current trends in architectural practice, such as moving from the production of goods to that of services, put new pressure on management. As architecture firms now must share design and financial expertise with other professions and reassess their own internal office operations, management is required not only to organize vast amounts of data but also to structure the operation of the organization. We may rightfully fear being over-managed and valued according to output, but as ‘scientific management’ (for better or worse) has shown us, the efficient worker, unable to both do work and manage her time, requires systematic management. It is necessary to consider management in a nontraditional light, one in which strategies for effectiveness are matched by, if not equated with, strategies for flexibility and social attentiveness.”

“’If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.’”

“As described in Urs Gauchat’s ‘The $300,000/Year Architect’ (2009), this worker is defined by her judgment, teamwork skills, technical skills, innate knowledge of design and procurement, general knowledge, and the ability to share, not just lead, the design process.”


“Theories of practice suggest procedures that invite risk and structure flexibility; that avoid assumptions about outcomes; that demand a willingness to put your money, expertise, and reputation on the table.”

“Theories of management tell us that structuring flexibility is not about control but about openness; not about leading but following. All of these implicate the various levels of architectural production—the individual, the office, the AIA, the discipline of architecture itself. Each demands a form of practice motivated by what is hoped for, not by what is feared.”


Dreamer, Peggy. “Practicing Practice“.