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).
financial capital, symbolic capital (prestige, renown) or social capital (‘connections’). Only players with sufficient ‘know-how’ and belief in the game (‘illusio’) will be willing to invest time and effort playing it.
Skilled players acquire over time a ‘feel for the game’ or ‘practical sense’ that allows them to improvise in a structured but seemingly effortless manner.
Action guided by a ‘feel for the game’ has all the appearances of the rational action that an impartial observer…would deduce. You need only think of the impulsive decision made by the tennis player who runs up to the net, to understand that it has nothing to do with the learned construction that the coach, after analysis, draws up…The conditions of rational calculation are practically never given in practice: time is limited, information is restricted, etc.
(Bourdieu 1990: 11) Another fundamental notion in Bourdieu’s practical apparatus is ‘doxa’, those deeply internalised societal or field-specific presuppositions that ‘go without saying’ and are not up for negotiation (Bourdieu 1998: 66-67, 2005: 37, Parkin 1997: 376).
Theodor Schatzki (2001) distinguishes four main types of practice theorists: philosophers (such as Wittgenstein, Dreyfus, or Taylor), social theorists (Bourdieu, Giddens), cultural theorists (Foucault, Lyotard) and theorists of science and technology (Latour, Rouse, Pickering).
In Bourdieu’s theory of practice, the world’s structural constraints form ‘permanent dispositions’.Second, there is Webb Keane’s article Self-interpretation, Agency, and the Objects of Anthropology: Reflections on a Genealogy which is, as far as I can tell, available on-line free of charge (as are many of his other excellent papers) which reflects on the ‘Gupta and Ferguson’ moment of 1997 featured both Anthropological Locations and Culture Power Place as well as Abu-Lughod’s Writing Against Culture which has certainly become representative of a certain approach to anthropology.Third, there is Sherry Ortner herself, who has attempted to update her famous article in the first chapter of her book Making Gender in 1997 and it looks like her upcoming volume Anthropology and Social Theory will do the same.Where women’s bodies were oriented down in keeping with ‘[t]he female ideal of modesty and restraint’, men’s bodies were oriented towards other men (Jenkins 2002: 75).Bourdieu concluded that Kabyle bodies are ‘mnenomic devices’ that help to reproduce fundamental cultural oppositions and are integral to a cultural habitus learned more through observation than formal teaching (Jenkins 2002: 75-76). Peterson’s (this volume) summary of Bourdieu’s account of practice: Social life is a constant struggle to construct a life out of the cultural resources one’s social experience offers, in the face of formidable social constraints.