Titel: Does Practice Theory Work? Reckwitz’s Study of the ‘New Middle Class’ as an Example
Autor: Andreas Pettenkofer
‘Practice theory’—a theory program that connects the goal of offering non-rationalist explanations to a strong focus on everyday routine activities, and builds on the work of Bourdieu but tries to gain a less narrow perspective—is being used more and more widely in the social sciences. Its advocates often argue that, since practice theory is a heuristic for doing empirical work, discussing it without addressing this empirical work cannot do justice to it. Therefore, this article analyses Reckwitz’s recently translated book on The Society of Singularities, which its author presents as an example of the advantages of (one dominant version of) practice theory. As will be shown, the book demonstrates that this version of practice theory does not fulfil its promises. Looking at its difficulties is instructive, however, because it helps see more clearly how the goal of an integrative ‘theory of practice’ could be achieved.
Titel: The Society of Singularities: Reply to Four Critics
Autor: Andreas Reckwitz
In this article, Andreas Reckwitz replies to the four critical commentaries of Patrick Baert, Andreas Pettenkofer, Austin Harrington and Sally Haslanger on his book The Society of Singularities. In this context, he discusses the general position of this book within the landscape of contemporary social theory and the question of what a ‘social logic of the unique’ means. He enters the question in how far his analysis of the new middle class differs from Pierre Bourdieu’s analysis of the new petty bourgeoisie, emphasizing the combination of an orientation towards inner experience and social prestige in his account of the new middle class. He discusses the question of whether neoliberalism is responsible for the proneness to disappointment which the late-modern culture of self-actualization implies. Finally, he works out the differences between the type of critical analytics which his book implies and normative critical theory.