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Re-Describing Social Practices: Comparison As Analytical And Explorative Too

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Chapter Summary

Comparing is a very common procedure in the social sciences, grounded in the everyday routines of scientific practice. There is a relationship between the popularity of comparing and its ties to the visually obvious. This chapter deals with a very popular and more or less rhetorical mode of comparing in sociology, namely comparing sports practices to other social practices. Taking sports comparisons by George Herbert Mead and Pierre Bourdieu as examples, the author shows how sports practices such as, boxing - function as explanans and are deployed for the purpose of describing other social practices as diverse as thinking, conversing, competing, coordinating, cooperating etc. From sports comparison it follows that comparing is also capable of exploring, inaugurating and constructing new perspectives. Boxing is conceived as a bodily practice whereas programming is considered a cognitive or mental activity.

Keywords: boxing practices; George Herbert Mead; programming practices; social practices; sports comparison



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