Ortner updating practice theory

10-Mar-2017 08:48

Whilst the first generation, led by some of the foremost theorists of the twentieth century (e.g.

Bourdieu 1977, de Certeau 1984, Foucault 1979, Giddens 1979, 1984) laid the foundations of what we now regard as practice theory, the second generation is currently testing those foundations and building new extensions to the theoretical edifice (Ortner 1984, 2006, Schatzki 1996, Schatzki et al 2001, Reckwitz 2002, Warde 2005).

Thus the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1977) developed the notion of ‘habitus’ to capture ‘the permanent internalisation of the social order in the human body’ (Eriksen and Nielsen 2001: 130) whilst recognising ‘the agent’s practice, his or her capacity for invention and improvisation’ (Bourdieu 1990: 13).

In Bourdieu’s theory of practice, the world’s structural constraints form ‘permanent dispositions’.

She is author of New Jersey Dreaming: Capital, Culture, and the Class of '58, also published by Duke University Press; Life and Death on Mt.

Everest: Sherpas and Himalayan Mountaineering; Making Gender: The Politics and Erotics of Culture; and High Religion: A Cultural and Political History of Sherpa Buddhism.

ortner updating practice theory-19

Some of the essays reflect explicitly on theoretical concerns: the relationship between agency and power, the problematic quality of ethnographic studies of resistance, and the possibility of producing an anthropology of subjectivity.Written with Ortner’s characteristic lucidity, these essays constitute a major statement about the future of social theory from one of the leading anthropologists of our time.In Anthropology and Social Theory the award-winning anthropologist Sherry B.The seven theoretical and interpretive essays in this volume each advocate reconfiguring, rather than abandoning, the concept of culture.Similarly, they all suggest that a theory which depends on the interested action of social beings—specifically practice theory, associated especially with the work of Pierre Bourdieu—requires a more developed notion of human agency and a richer conception of human subjectivity.

Some of the essays reflect explicitly on theoretical concerns: the relationship between agency and power, the problematic quality of ethnographic studies of resistance, and the possibility of producing an anthropology of subjectivity.

Written with Ortner’s characteristic lucidity, these essays constitute a major statement about the future of social theory from one of the leading anthropologists of our time.

In Anthropology and Social Theory the award-winning anthropologist Sherry B.

The seven theoretical and interpretive essays in this volume each advocate reconfiguring, rather than abandoning, the concept of culture.

Similarly, they all suggest that a theory which depends on the interested action of social beings—specifically practice theory, associated especially with the work of Pierre Bourdieu—requires a more developed notion of human agency and a richer conception of human subjectivity.

By living in a society structured by such constraints, and organised by the successful practices of [others, JP], one develops predispositions to act in certain ways.