Social theorists have addressed the challenges of understanding and explaining social phenomena for the last two hundred years or more. During this time, different schools of thought have flourished and faded, and diverse conceptual schemes and frameworks have evolved. All ideas have histories, and those explored in this book relate to the school of thought that has come to be known as ‘practice theory’. Ortner (1984) was one of the first to coin this term. It has since come to denote a body of ideas that, emerging since the 1970s against the background of the philosophical work of Wittgenstein and Heidegger, supposes that something called ‘practice’ is central to social life (Schatzki, Knorr Cetina and von Savigny, 2001; Reckwitz, 2002b).