Practices and Actions: A Wittgensteinian Critique of Bourdieu and Giddens

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Abstract

This article criticizes Bourdieu's and Giddens's overintellectualizing accounts of human activity on the basis of Wittgenstein's insights into practical understanding. Part 1 describes these two theorists' conceptions of a homology between the organization of practices (spatial-temporal manifolds of action) and the governance of individual actions. Part 2 draws on Wittgenstein's discussions of linguistic definition and following a rule to criticize these conceptions for ascribing content to the practical understanding they claim governs action. Part 3 then suggests an alternative, Wittgensteinian account of the homology between practices and actions that avoids this pitfall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-308
Number of pages26
JournalPhilosophy of the Social Sciences
Volume27
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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