Blog Post #5: Bourdieu I

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"Habitus" according to Bourdieu is "this generative and unifying principle which retranslates the intrinsic and relational characteristics of a position into a unitary lifestyle, that is, a unitary set of choices of persons, goods, practices." (272) In my opinion, "habitus" is a sense of habit that develops into a lifestyle when a certain action is repeated routinely; It is the socialized customs that guide our behavior and thinking; it is the way societal structures connect with the individual in the form of behavioral tendencies and structured tendencies to think, feel, and act in certain ways. In other words, habitus influences how we act and think, what we like and dislike and is influenced by "the social conditioning associated with the corresponding condition." (272) I think that Bourdieu is saying that habitus is influenced by structural conditions that were shaped by past structures, therefore habitus changes over time to conform to the social structure within which we live in. Habitus is created through a social process rather than an individual process and it is not permanent because it can be changed according to the situation, or time and space.

Habitus is affected by economic status, social status, political and ethnic structures. We act a certain way not because of free will, but because of habitus. It is behaviors that we administer unconsciously because we are in a certain position. In the textbook, Bourdieu argues that habitus is this generative and unifying principle which retranslates the intrinsic and relational characteristics of a position into a unitary lifestyle, that is, a unitary set of choices of persons, goods, practices. For example, the CEO of a company might have a bourgeois way of actin, not because he chooses to but because of habitus which is influenced by the structural conditions which he lives in. The same example goes for someone who works on an assembly line. Habitus is therefore taste or lifestyle that is based on social structures.

Bourdieu calls this concept of habitus "social categories of perception", meaning that habitus also provides the distinctions between what is good and bad, right or wrong etc... it puts forth categories that are distinct to individuals. What one thinks is right may be wrong to another. Habitus gives the impression of a social fact because it seems like something external to the individual. It is a norm and according to Bourdieu, a product of history which produces individual and collective practices.

An example of habitus can be inequality. I chose this one because it is something that has been in existence forever. It is not questionable and people accept it because there is not much to do about. Society is unequal and it has been that way for a long time. Inequality can be affected by economic status, and social status, but is never permanent. Inequality in society allows us to think, feel, and act in certain ways.

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This page contains a single entry by Pierrechrist Ekue-Hettah published on April 11, 2012 1:16 AM.

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