Who We Are
Back in 2005, Dave Fearon, Jr. published his University of Santa Barbara Dissertation for his Ph.D. in Sociology: “Social Enaction: How Talk-in-Interaction Constitutes Social Organization.” He and his father, Dave, Sr, hoped they could find ways to formerly collaborate on developing the power of the methodology and findings in Dave’s groundbreaking work.
And they did! They established the domain in turns of talk in every intentional conversation. Podcasting such conversations is both an offering and a laboratory. They begin with Dave, Sr talking episodically with Peter Vaill for making sense of the nature of Practice. Perhaps it is a social organization enacted by one visible to many. Regardless, this is the birthplace of a new platform for all things related to the power of conversation.
Social enaction is a way of defining social organization as a production and result of social interaction in practice. It focuses primarily on instances of talk among participants engaged in interaction.
Each subject of conversation featured on this site is enacted in turns to talk; novel meanings brought forth as discussants interact with a shared desire for mutual understanding. Our purpose is to discover, capture, and share primary meanings as they are enacted.
We draw upon three common ways of defining “enaction” as a metaphor for empirical features of communication:
Enact: “performance” occurring as an individual’s course of action is oriented to the others most salient as the “audience.”
Enact: to “bring forth” a social domain for an observer. Social organization is not “contained” within abstract representation, but “brought forth” by the practice of talk with co-presenting others.
Enact: to “warrant” as a broad sense of the dictionary meaning of enact as “make into law.” Participants in interaction work out “private domain” intentions and experiences through talk, in part by being able to indicate and orient to what they have indicated publicly so far to each other, word by word, phrase by phrase, to what was just said.
Core Values of Enaction Research
Top Goals of Enaction Research
Peter Vaill (1936-2020) was a retired professor of managerial leadership, living in Minneapolis, MN and enjoying “assisted living.” His career began in 1960 at the Harvard Business School where, from the very beginning, he was taught the interdependence of theory and practice. Theory was continually challenged and enriched by the realities of Practice; Practice was continually challenged and enriched by the discoveries and clarifications of Theory. In the long run it could be no other way. But in the shorter run, as Peter was to discover in his 50-year career at five different universities, it was possible for things to get quite out of balance. In what has become the case, Theory is the dominant force; Practice is nowhere publicly to be found – though of course is very much alive in the experience of millions of hardworking people in all walks of life. Peter was all about redressing the balance, in showing that Practice has a depth and complexity every bit as fascinating as Theory – a depth and complexity that Theory could learn a lot from!
David Fearon, Sr. is a retired professor of management & organizational behavior, living in New Hartford, CT and enjoying being underfoot. It was in 1969, at the start of his doctoral leadership studies at the University of Connecticut, that Dave became Peter Vaill’s student, then dissertation advisee through 1974. This collaboration fused Dave’s still-deepening fascination with organizing for efficacy at the point of action; now, as Practice. Keeping his 50-year academic career as close as possible to action-takers, Dave has taught and led in several regionally-centered public universities where most students work while attending college. His management courses, workshops, and consultancies capitalize on the value of the practitioner-learner knowledge and their experiential learning. He strives to inspire learner ownership of theory for future use. He finds rapidly arising, real-time learning challenges press practitioners to create workable knowledge on the spot; addressing daily barrages of disorderly questions raised in novel circumstances. Thus, when Peter reached out to join him in the cause of casting Practice in a leading role, Dave welcomed reprising Vaill-Fearon conversations that once launched, fifty years ago, and still sustains, his teaching practice.
David Fearon, Jr. is far from retired and is in practice as a Senior Data Management Consultant with Johns Hopkins University Data Management Services where he trains and assists in designing to curate research data in the social sciences and medicine. His close attention to humans conversing to socially enact organizations grows from undergraduate and doctoral studies in Sociology at Colby College and University of California at Santa Barbara and post-doctoral study of data conversancy at UCLA. He is crafting his own advancing library science curation practice to keep pace with the digitization of research itself; changing rules, pace, and complexity of results in traditional and emerging fields of research. Thus, his interest in what Peter and Dave, Sr. are doing is personal and professional.