The Logic of Practice

The Logic of Practice

Paperback

By (author) Pierre Bourdieu, Translated by Richard Nice

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  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 340 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 226mm x 23mm | 476g
  • Publication date: 1 August 1992
  • Publication City/Country: Palo Alto
  • ISBN 10: 0804720118
  • ISBN 13: 9780804720113
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 78,748

Product description

Our usual representations of the opposition between the "civilized" and the "primitive" derive from willfully ignoring the relationship of distance our social science sets up between the observer and the observed. In fact, the author argues, the relationship between the anthropologist and his object of study is a particular instance of the relationship between knowing and doing, interpreting and using, symbolic mastery and practical mastery - or between logical logic, armed with all the accumulated instruments of objectification, and the universally pre-logical logic of practice. In this, his fullest statement of a theory of practice, Bourdieu both sets out what might be involved in incorporating one's own standpoint into an investigation and develops his understanding of the powers inherent in the second member of many oppositional pairs - that is, he explicates how the practical concerns of daily life condition the transmission and functioning of social or cultural forms. The first part of the book, "Critique of Theoretical Reason," covers more general questions, such as the objectivization of the generic relationship between social scientific observers and their objects of study, the need to overcome the gulf between subjectivism and objectivism, the interplay between structure and practice (a phenomenon Bourdieu describes via his concept of the habitus), the place of the body, the manipulation of time, varieties of symbolic capital, and modes of domination. The second part of the book, "Practical Logics," develops detailed case studies based on Bourdieu's ethnographic fieldwork in Algeria. These examples touch on kinship patterns, the social construction of domestic space, social categories of perception and classification, and ritualized actions and exchanges. This book develops in full detail the theoretical positions sketched in Bourdieu's Outline of a Theory of Practice. It will be especially useful to readers seeking to grasp the subtle concepts central to Bourdieu's theory, to theorists interested in his points of departure from structuralism (especially fom Levi-Strauss), and to critics eager to understand what role his theory gives to human agency. It also reveals Bourdieu to be an anthropological theorist of considerable originality and power.

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Review quote

'A writer whose intellectual passion is continuously supported by empirical observation, Pierre Bourdieu is particularly attractive to English traditions of social criticism. An English translation of this important book is very welcome. What was formerly exciting but arcane in his work becomes excitingly accessible because he explains his various theoretical standpoints as part of a single grand project: to interpret the whole of human communication, including the use of the body in all possible spatial and calendrical frameworks.'Mary Douglas

Flap copy

Our usual representations of the opposition between the "civilized" and the "primitive" derive from willfully ignoring the relationship of distance our social science sets up between the observer and the observed. In fact, the author argues, the relationship between the anthropologist and his object of study is a particular instance of the relationship between knowing and doing, interpreting and using, symbolic mastery and practical mastery--or between logical logic, armed with all the accumulated instruments of objectification, and the universally pre-logical logic of practice. In this, his fullest statement of a theory of practice, Bourdieu both sets out what might be involved in incorporating one's own standpoint into an investigation and develops his understanding of the powers inherent in the second member of many oppositional pairs--that is, he explicates how the practical concerns of daily life condition the transmission and functioning of social or cultural forms. The first part of the book, "Critique of Theoretical Reason," covers more general questions, such as the objectivization of the generic relationship between social scientific observers and their objects of study, the need to overcome the gulf between subjectivism and objectivism, the interplay between structure and practice (a phenomenon Bourdieu describes via his concept of the habitus), the place of the body, the manipulation of time, varieties of symbolic capital, and modes of domination. The second part of the book, "Practical Logics," develops detailed case studies based on Bourdieu's ethnographic fieldwork in Algeria. These examples touch on kinship patterns, the social construction of domestic space, social categories of perception and classification, and ritualized actions and exchanges. This book develops in full detail the theoretical positions sketched in Bourdieu's Outline of a Theory of Practice. It will be especially useful to readers seeking to grasp the subtle concepts central to Bourdieu's theory, to theorists interested in his points of departure from structuralism (especially fom Levi-Strauss), and to critics eager to understand what role his theory gives to human agency. It also reveals Bourdieu to be an anthropological theorist of considerable originality and power.

Table of contents

Preface; Book I. Critique od Theoretical Reason: 1. Objectification objectified; 2. The imaginary anthropology of subjectivism; 3. Structures, habitus, practices; 4. Belief and the body; 5. The logic of practice; 6. The work of time; 7. Symbolic capital; 8. Modes of domination; 9. The objectivity of the subjective; Book II. Practical Logics: 1. Land and matrimonial strategies; 2. The social uses of kinship; 3. Irresistible analogy; Appendix; Notes; Bibliography; Index.