Cultures of Listening, Dark Listening and a Plea for Theory

Motzkau, Johanna (2021). Cultures of Listening, Dark Listening and a Plea for Theory. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 51(4) pp. 689–694.



Russi (2021) suggests ‘eavesdropping’ as a way to appreciate the practical implications of Shotter’s (2015) stance that social inquiry is an art/craft beginning with experience, rather than a technique pre-determined by theory and methods. Following Russi’s instruction to eavesdrop on his eavesdropping, I explore his concepts of experience and listening. Contrary to Russi I issue a plea for theory, as theoretical frameworks are key for tracking the politics of knowledge surrounding social inquiry. Illustrating the process theoretical character of Russi’s concepts of experience and listening, I argue for the possibility of theory as emergent within experience. Here my concept of cultures of listening is relevant, as it helps to consider eavesdropping as a form of dark listening (Motzkau & Lee forthcoming).

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