Theory vs Practice


If culture was a champions league, and the finalists were theory and practice, who would win?

In order to answer this question, an inquiry has been personally conducted, investigating people’s opinion over a month.

From Central Saint Martin to Science Museum to What Design Can Do, a winner had to be found. However, as it turned out there was no winner.
Despite the variety of contexts and people’s age or background, the answers were equally divided.

Therefore, after some action, theory appeared to be the appropriate source for a proper answer.

Previous studies about the relation between theory and practice demonstrate that opinions have always been divided depending on different societies and times. For instance the Ancient Greeks disregarded the hand work in favor of intellectual activity. On the contrary Buddhist culture traditionally focused on the prototypal experience of concepts. However, later studies and analysis conducted by Bacon (1901), Gramsci (1948) or Williams (1986) demonstrated that theory doesn’t necessarily have to be antithetical to practice.

According to Peter Anstey (2005, p.216) Bacon rather identified accurate ‘speculative knowledge’ (Theory) as the result of a regulation of the ‘observational-experimental knowledge’ (Practice).

Moreover, Gramsci, A. (1948) underlined the value of praxis as a physical way of thinking that leads to a deeper understanding of life. Similarly, Williams, R (1986,p.317) expressed theory as ‘in active relation to practice: an interaction between things done, things observed and (systematic) explanation of these.’

As a result, it could be argued that theory and practice are two different yet linked disciplines that have always had an active relation towards each other; therefore, no opposition is required between them (Williams, 1986, P.250).

Eventually, for the first time ever in Champions League, it seems that the final match will end in a draw.



Anstey, Peter R. (2005) Experimental versus Speculative Natural Philosophy .P.R. Anstey and J.A. Schuster Editions.

Gramsci, A.(1948) Prison Notebooks. Torino:  Einaudi.

Williams, R ( 1986) Keywords A vocabulary of culture and society. New York: Oxford University Press.


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