Reason and Faith
PAOLO MONTI On the Rationality of Social Practices 103
On the Rationality of Social Practices PAOLO MONTI Social Practices as a Speculative Question Between the 1970s and the 1980s social practices were the object of theo- retical research in some areas of sociology and cultural anthropology, to meet the need to integrate structuralist, functionalist or Marxist objectiv- ist theories of society by using more sensitive types of approach to social actors, who were viewed as subjects capable of individual decisions, ac- tions and interpretations. In particular, the role of reflexion on social prac- tices became more relevant in the critique of society as an organic, unified whole, also stressing an alternative to liberal outlooks and describing soci- ety in the basic terms of relationships between individuals. The concept of social practices was thus the object of a number of studies, partly converging towards a shared nucleus, partly diverging in terms of both their specific contents and their different origins. Among the various authors relevant to the positioning of this topic between socio- logy and philosophy are M. Foucault, P. Bourdieu, A. Giddens, G.H. Mead, A. MacIntyre, Ch. Taylor. Despite some obvious differences, their studies share some features and intentions. As T. Schatzki notes in his main work dedicated to this topic, “These conceptions do, however, in my view, share at least one important trait: the idea that practices are the site where un- derstanding is structured and intelligibility articulated”1. On the whole, such reflexions actually agree in considering social practices not only an occasional cooperative composition of individuals’...
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