How Social Forms Come Alive: The Enactive Workings of Discursive Positioning

  • Marta Lenartowicz Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Keywords: agency-structure, social ontology, positioning theory, speech acts, typification, enaction


By focusing on the structural-enactive aspect of discursive positioning, I explore the capacity of the positioning theory to contribute to a higher-level theoretical conciliation of the ‘agency vs. structure’ dichotomy in social sciences. Connecting the theory of Rom Harré and Luk Van Langenhove with Austin’s pragmalinguistics, Searle’s social ontology and Luhmann’s theory of social systems, I argue that the discursive positioning is precisely the social act which creates and sustains social forms.

Author Biography

Marta Lenartowicz, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

MARTA LENARTOWICZ ( is a post-doc researcher in the Evolution, Complexity and Cognition team at the Free University of Brussels (VUB). Marta received her PhD in humanistic management (public affairs) in 2014 and MA in philology (theoretical linguistics) in 2001, both from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In her research she focuses on identity, individuation and worldview formation of social systems (human and techno-human), approaching them as complex, adaptive, self-organizing, symbolically embodied instances of distributed cognition and intelligence. She is currently designing and implementing an educational programme named the “Postgraduate School of Thinking” (VUB).