In previous chapters, we have seen that within hermeneutic or interpretive practices theory, practices are equipped and embodied (Heidegger): they thereby tacitly emplace shareable ‘horizons of understanding’ (Gadamer). Power (or its construction) characterises these three ‘moments’—not least hegemonic horizons embedding ideology from which distance may be achieved (Ricoeur). We have thereby sought to reflect empirically and philosophically upon the ‘necessary embeddedness of human activity in social and material contexts’ (Hui et al., 2017: 2). In a generic and implicitly goal-directed practice, consumers prefigure, configure and refigure identities (Ricoeur) of self as well as surroundings (e.g. as skilful purchaser and purchase), generating meaning. This concluding chapter briefly marks out a broad contribution of hermeneutic philosophy’s perspective on diverse practices from architectural studies to science and theology, emplacing analysis across a wider scrutiny.
Fundamentally, however, we continue here a hermeneutic ‘non-representational theoretical trajectory’ (Warfield, 2016: 1) in constructing thinking about consumption, distinguishing between the ‘clear consciousness found in the act of reflection and the sedimented certainties implicit in the course of the performances of action’ across the ‘practical embeddedness of the human being in his or her world’ (Joas, 1987: 17, 22). ‘Basically, I expect good security from the mall’ our mall visitor considered, reflecting upon her ‘sedimented certainties’. Audiences and consumers pursue narrative meaning (dis)enabled by tacit anticipation of generic structure. ‘Practical consciousness’ (Giddens) precedes representation—in subsequent thought, focus group, celebration or criticism. While we are encircled online by a datafied delivery of algorithmically delineated horizons of understanding, we are simultaneously engaged in a ‘multiplicity of practices’ (Rabinow and Rose, 2003: 15)—thereby embodying a hermeneutic circle of integrative understanding, crossing narrative perspective. Media are ‘materialisations of practices of communication’ (Hepp et al., 2018: 4).