This review addresses general anthropological understandings of practice and a technical semiotic approach to pragmatics through the concept of qualia. Qualia are pragmatic signals (indexes) that materialize phenomenally in human activity as sensuous qualities. The pragmatic role of qualia is observed through exemplary accounts of the “feeling of doing” from the ethnographic record of practice in four domains: linguistic practices, phatic practices organized explicitly around social relations, practices organized around external “things,” and body-focal practices. Attention to qualia enables anthropologists to consider ethnographically what is continuous semiotically across and within practices—from communication to embodiment. The article concludes with a discussion of praxis in relation to practice and pragmatics and offers suggestions for future research on qualia in the areas of awareness, language, and ritual.


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