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Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge Studies in Social Anthropology #16)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,378 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
A translation of the study in which Bourdieu develops the theory for his empirical work, based on fieldwork in Kabylia, Algeria.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published 1977 by Cambridge University Press (first published 1972)
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May 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Roy Lotz
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: misanthropology
Huck Finn on Bourdieu:

I ain’t never seen such scribblin' before in my life. No sir, not from no con artists or carpet baggers, nor from no preachin' type neither. This man sure know how to give a man a headache, I tell you. He sayin' all sorts of stuff, like “structuring structures” and a “present past that tends to perpetuate itself into the future” that make me want to lie down. Shoot. Maybe it’s because he parler voo francey and this was Englished by some nut case, but maybe he's crazy in Fre
Justin Evans
Sep 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-etc
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
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Plan on averaging about 4 pages an hour.
Jessica Zu
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rel501
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 27, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
"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."""
Bernhard Nickel
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
It's quite French. There's a lot of suggestive material that asserts broad theses without doing what I could recognize as arguing for them, esp. in the ways that practices cannot be understood in more "objective" or "cognitive" ways. But the suggestions are certainly interesting. It provides, I suppose, a way of looking at phenomena that one might investigate on one's own and invites questions to ask.
Roger Green
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This volume presents Bourdieu's formulations of key concepts largely based on ethnographic analyses in North Africa. It works especially well in conjunction with the volume titled The Field of Cultural Production, which applies his economic analyses to European trends in Modern Art, which are only hinted at in the concluding chapter here.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Provides a very useful heuristic for analyzing social practices which surmounts the distortions caused by the strict methodological dichotomy between objectivism/subjectivism. Knowledge of the European (esp. French) intellectual tradition is helpful.
David Kirby
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book about human relations being about tactics and strategy, so an objective account and a subjective account both miss the point.
"The most successful ideological effects are those which have no need of words, and ask no more than complicitous silence".

Unreadable at first yet very interesting once you adjust to the style of thought (and translation). It's a mix of everything: anthropological research in Algeria, parallel marriages, rites and rituals, male vs female and all other dichotomies, economics, linguistics - all brought up together to viciously fight against "outdated" epistemological principles.

Oh, and, of course
Apr 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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."
Jessi Marie
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Not a particularly easy or riveting read, but its full of great theoretical concepts and you need to interact with it.
Ana Vial
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sep 19, 2010 is currently reading it
getting through it very slowly
Jul 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
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:)
Apr 08, 2009 rated it liked it
I found this one particularly dry but none the less brought up many important things to keep in mind when conducting ethnographical studies.
Jan 07, 2008 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.)
Espen Knutsen
May 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.
Jul 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
The writing is incomprehensible. Perhaps it is better in French?
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sociology
I am impressed!
rated it it was amazing
Feb 18, 2015
rated it really liked it
Feb 18, 2015
Yogi Saputra
rated it it was amazing
May 24, 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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