Understanding Collaborative Practice: Reading between the Lines Actions


  • Sung Won Hwang University of Victoria
  • Wolf-Michael Roth University of Victoria
  • Lillian Pozzer-Ardenghi University of Victoria




collaboration, intersubjectivity


Collaboration is the central aspect of human practice; without it and the associated division of labor human society as we know it today would not exist. Successful collaboration enables a collective subject to produce more than the sum of what its members can do individually. But which conditions enable successful collaboration and how does it come about? In a case study of artifact designing in a class of sixth- and seventh-grade students, we articulate how the social interaction produces and reproduces the prerequisite and required intersubjectivity for successful collaboration and thereby constitutes a configuration of successful collaboration at two dominant modes of design practice. In face-to-face communication, human bodies produce a variation of available social and material resources and thereby concretely realize the generalized possibilities of making individual subjectivity available to others. This, we show, produces and reproduces intersubjectivity. During cooperative action, human bodies take up different parts of the collective labor and thereby achieve a division of labor, but the different contributions are accomplished into a collective one through human bodies in action, which constitutes a form of communication. We conclude that evaluating collaboration requires reading the productive value from communication and the communicative value from the division of labor, which, in dialectical unfolding of collaborative interactions, articulates itself in and as of creating new action possibilities (room to maneuver) through acting human bodies and therefore requires reading between the actions.




How to Cite

Hwang, S. W., Roth, W.-M., & Pozzer-Ardenghi, L. (2005). Understanding Collaborative Practice: Reading between the Lines Actions. Outlines. Critical Practice Studies, 7(1), 50–69. https://doi.org/10.7146/ocps.v7i1.2111