The term diapraxis was coined by Lissi Rasmussen, a Danish minister and scholar, within the context of interfaith conflict.* "By diapraxis," she notes, "I do not mean the actual application of dialogue but rather dialogue as action." Expanding upon her work and this statement, at Athina, we define diapraxis as "the intersection of the communicative and relational aspects of dialogue with the action of praxis" (Fontes, 2021). It uses an anthropological and social approach and has the goal of relationship-building, and serves as a bridge to dialogue. Translated, this means learning more about one another through activities like cooking a meal together or working on a joint project without attempting to jump into dialogue around a difficult topic. The dialogue can come later, either through planning or organically, over time. By engaging in shared activities, we find the things we have in common and begin to view one another in new ways. We go from strangers with opposing viewpoints to friends and neighbors with (sometimes big) disagreements.
*The term diapraxis was coined by Lissi Rasmussen in 1988 ("From Diapraxis to Dialogue," in L. Thunberg, M. L. Pandit, & C. V. Fogh-Hansen (eds.), Dialogue in Action: In Honour of Johannes Aagaard, Prajna Publications).