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3 - Habitus

from PART II - FIELD THEORY: BEYOND SUBJECTIVITY AND OBJECTIVITY

Karl Maton
Affiliation:
University of Sydney, Australia.
Michael Grenfell
Affiliation:
Trinity College, Dublin
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Summary

Introduction

Habitus is an enigmatic concept. It is central to Bourdieu's distinctive sociological approach, “field” theory, and philosophy of practice, and key to his originality and his contribution to social science. It is probably the most widely cited of Bourdieu's concepts, has been used in studies of an astonishing variety of practices and contexts, and is becoming part of the lexicon of a range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, education, cultural studies, philosophy and literary criticism. Yet, habitus is also one of the most misunderstood, misused and hotly contested of Bourdieu's ideas. It can be both revelatory and mystifying, instantly recognizable and difficult to define, straightforward and slippery. In short, despite its popularity, “habitus” remains anything but clear. In this chapter, I explore this complex concept. I suggest that its seemingly contradictory character flows from its principal roles in Bourdieu's sociology. In short, habitus does a lot of work in Bourdieu's approach. Habitus is intended to transcend a series of deep-seated dichotomies structuring ways of thinking about the social world. This would by itself make a full account of habitus a rich and multi-faceted discussion, touching on a wide-ranging series of profoundly significant issues and debates. However, the concept is also intended to provide a means of analysing the workings of the social world through empirical investigations. It is thus central not only to Bourdieu's way of thinking but also to his formidable range of substantive studies.

Type
Chapter
Information
Pierre Bourdieu
Key Concepts
, pp. 49 - 66
Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2008

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  • Habitus
  • Edited by Michael Grenfell, Trinity College, Dublin
  • Book: Pierre Bourdieu
  • Online publication: 05 February 2013
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/UPO9781844654031.006
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  • Habitus
  • Edited by Michael Grenfell, Trinity College, Dublin
  • Book: Pierre Bourdieu
  • Online publication: 05 February 2013
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/UPO9781844654031.006
Available formats
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To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Habitus
  • Edited by Michael Grenfell, Trinity College, Dublin
  • Book: Pierre Bourdieu
  • Online publication: 05 February 2013
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/UPO9781844654031.006
Available formats
×