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Outline of a Theory of Practice

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  918 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A translation of the study in which Bourdieu develops the theory for his empirical work, based on fieldwork in Kabylia, Algeria.
Paperback, 248 pages
Published June 2nd 1977 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1972)
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In your heart you know he's right.

"Hello, I'm Pierre. It looks like you want to solve all the problems and problematic dichotomies that have continually been plaguing the human sciences. May I assist you?"

I feel that part of why Bourdieu is today's doxa is because he synthesizes all the insights of the Heroes. All the old-fashioned theorists that you spent so much time learning, but thought you'd never see again (the toys you abandoned when you left childhood) are all there at this shindig at Bo
Huck Finn on Bourdieu:

I ain’t never seen such scribbling before in my life. No sir, not from any con artists or carpet baggers, nor from no preacher type neither. This man sure know how to give a man a headache, I tell you. He saying all sorts of stuff, like “structuring structures” and a “present past that tends to perpetuate itself into the future” that makes me want to lie down. Shoot. Maybe it’s because he parler voo francey and this was translated by some nut case, but maybe he's crazy in F
Justin Evans
The best thing about this book is the blurb from the Times Higher Ed Supplement:

"OTP can be highly recommended as a complex and often beautifully written piece of philosophical literature."

*BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN*??? What the heck were they reading before this, Hegel translated into Linear B????

Execrable prose style aside, this is well worth reading, particularly if you can resist the temptation to read it all. If you're an anthropologist, no doubt his musings on the Kabyla ritual year calendar
Jeff Culver
Plan on averaging about 4 pages an hour.
Jessica Zu
I read Bourdieu as a philosopher first, a phenomenologist in particular, and a neo-Marxist second. Outline of a Theory of Practice is definitely the corner stone of all his later more famous work. The more appropriate title for it should be Outline of a Theory of the Genesis of Practice. This is because what he offers here is a meta-theory thoroughly debunking our modern Fetishism (first voiced by Marx but never fully developed) of scienticism: long live the objective observer; long live the obj ...more
May 28, 2009 nell rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: theory
i hear its better in french. and if i had time to outline every sentence perhaps it would be easier to follow. that said, how can one not love structuring structures?
Nick Wellings
Wonderful. 10 stars out of 5.
Molasses-thick, filled with structuralist concepts and analyses of the Kabyle habitus and doxa, this isn't a work by the Bourdieu I came to know and love in La Distinction. But some of is analyses are truly insightful, making room for both structure and agency, recognizing the role of physical motion in establishing practice, and proving that there is a middle ground between relativism and objectivity. Not a breezy afternoon read, but an important contribution to social theory, and one I'm glad ...more
Aug 14, 2008 Amber added it
This is the last book of the summer for Art Theory Summer Camp. I would not call this an easy read, but Bourdieu provides an excellent tool kit for looking at the assumptions we all have when asking questions and how the question itself reveal our bias.

Jeffrey Towey
I keep going back to this book because it takes the Wittgensteinian line of representing philosophy as an intellectual error - but the catch is, as Aristotle observed, even those who attack philosophy are doing philosophy!
Mark Dellenbaugh
"Almost comically obtuse at time (in the great French postmodern tradition!) but this work does a good job introducing some key concepts in social anthropology such as ""doxa."""
Scott Forsyth
The writing is incomprehensible. Perhaps it is better in French?
Mon dieu, it's Bourdieu!

"The logical relations constructed by the anthropologist is opposed to "practical" relationships -- practical because continually practiced, kept up, and cultivated -- in the same way as the geometrical space of a map, an imaginary representation of all possible roads and routes, is opposed to the networks of the beaten paths."
Espen Knutsen
His language makes this book just barely comprehensible, some of his articles are better. Seems silly to need people to interpret your jargon. Of course very important theory here nevertheless.
thanks pooja for sending me this book. it is a very difficult book, as one sentence is a paragraph long!! tough read but very important theory for my MA thesis:)
I found this one particularly dry but none the less brought up many important things to keep in mind when conducting ethnographical studies.
Not a particularly easy or riveting read, but its full of great theoretical concepts and you need to interact with it.
Jan 07, 2008 Beth marked it as to-read
I have already read this, but it was for school, and I would like to read it again (and absorb more.)
I am impressed!
Jessi Marie
Difficult read that I had to supplement with several other readings in order to fully grasp Bourdieu's practice theory. Important theory on the structuring structure of society, incorporating his concepts of habitus, capital, and field, and applying it to the Algerian Kabyle tribe that he was studying.
Sep 19, 2010 Kristin is currently reading it
getting through it very slowly
Candee marked it as to-read
Jun 30, 2015
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Jun 29, 2015
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Bourdieu pioneered investigative frameworks and terminologies such as cultural, social, and symbolic capital, and the concepts of habitus, field or location, and symbolic violence to reveal the dynamics of power relations in social life. His work emphasized the role of practice and embodiment or forms in social dynamics and worldview construction, often in opposition to universalized Western philo ...more
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