chapter  9
51 Pages

Why “In”? Of Maps, Territories, and Governance

There is a danger in emphasizing, as we do in this book, the role of language as the site and surface of organizational emergence. We risk losing sight of the situational reality of all communication. One of Giddens’ many useful distinctions contrasts practical and discursive knowledge. Practical knowledge is the kind of skills people use to get on with their lives in everyday contexts of involvement. It stays for the most part below the level of consciousness. It is tacit. It is part of just doing what one is accustomed to do. Discursive knowledge, as the term suggests, is what has to be talked about: forefronted in active consciousness, usually because there is something to be dealt with that needs to be talked through. Most knowledge, Giddens thinks, is of the practical kind. Discursive knowledge is highlighted only when our involvements in activities of various kinds necessitate a rise to the level of communication. Communication, therefore, is always about something: It is invariably situated-in conversation and in life circumstances.