habitus (sociology)


  • — Bourdieu, 1996 As a result, habitus may be employed in literary theory in order to understand those larger, external structures which influence individual theories and works
    of literature.

  • For instance, a certain behaviour or belief becomes part of a society’s structure when the original purpose of that behaviour or belief can no longer be recalled and becomes
    socialized into individuals of that culture.

  • • Bernard Lahire – a French sociologist who suggested that the habitus is not (or no longer) a system shared by a class, but rather an eclectic set of dispositions that are
    often contradictory, due to non-typical socialization paths in late modernity.

  • Peter Barry explains, “in the structuralist approach to literature there is a constant movement away from interpretation of the individual literary work and a parallel drive
    towards understanding the larger structures which contain them” (2009, p. 39).

  • As Bourdieu explains, habitus … are structured structures, generative principles of distinct and distinctive practices – what the worker eats, and especially the way he
    eats it, the sport he practices and the way he practices it, his political opinions and the way he expresses them are systematically different from the industrial proprietor’s corresponding activities – habitus are also structuring structures,
    different classifying schemes classification principles, different principles of vision and division, different tastes.

  • Overview People with a common cultural background (social class, religion, and nationality, ethnic group, education, and profession) share a habitus as the way that group
    culture and personal history shape the mind of a person; consequently, the habitus of a person influences and shapes the social actions of the person.

  • influences the availability of opportunities in life; thus the habitus is structured by the person’s social class, but also gives structure to the future paths available to
    the person.

  • In Bourdieu’s work, the habitus is shaped by structural position and generates action, thus when people act and demonstrate agency, they simultaneously reflect and reproduce
    social structure.

  • It includes the totality of learned habits, bodily skills, styles, tastes, and other non-discursive knowledges that might be said to “go without saying” for a specific group
    (Bourdieu 1990:66-67) – in that way it can be said to operate beneath the level of rational ideology.

  • In sociology, habitus (/ˈhæbɪtəs/) is the way that people perceive and respond to the social world they inhabit, by way of their personal habits, skills, and disposition of

  • In this sense, habitus has in the past been interpreted as the physical and constitutional characteristics of an individual, especially as related to the tendency to develop
    a certain disease.

  • There is therefore a strong desire to understand the larger influencing factors which makes an individual literary work.

  • Therefore, the reproduction of social structures results from the habitus of the individual persons who compose the given social structure.

  • In contemporary usage it was introduced by Marcel Mauss and later Maurice Merleau-Ponty; however, it was Pierre Bourdieu who used it as a cornerstone of his sociology, and
    to address the sociological problem of agency and structure.

  • • Stephen Parkin – a sociologist who considers the “habitus” construct as an explanatory mechanism for the production of drug related harm in drug using environments located
    in public settings in “Habitus and Drug Using Environments: Health Place and Lived-Experience” (published by Ashgate in August 2013).

  • [1][2] The sociologist Pierre Bourdieu said that the habitus consists of the hexis, a person’s carriage (posture) and speech (accent), and the mental habits of perception,
    classification, appreciation, feeling and action.

  • In ‘’The Civilizing Process’’, his theory is also extended to a ‘national habitus’ of Germans, used to justify the Holocaust.

  • For example, Joe Moran’s examination of authorial identities in Star Authors: Literary Celebrity in America uses the term in discussion of how authors develop a habitus formed
    around their own celebrity and status as authors, which manifests in their writing.


Works Cited

[‘Lizardo, O. 2004, “The Cognitive Origins of Bourdieu’s Habitus”, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 375–448.
o ^ Jump up to:a b Bourdieu, Pierre (1977). Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge University Press.
o ^
Jump up to:a b Bourdieu, Pierre (2000). Pascalian Meditations. Stanford University Press.
o ^ Bourdieu, Pierre (1977). Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge University Press. pp. 78–79.
o ^ Tönnies, Ferdinand (1963). Community and society.
New York, NY: Harper and Row.
o ^ Bourdieu, Pierre (1990). The Logic of Practice.
o ^ Review Archived 2009-04-09 at the Wayback Machine of Holsinger, The Premodern Condition, in Bryn Mawr Review of Comparative Literature 6:1 (Winter 2007).
o ^
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th Ed) Houghton Mifflin Company, 2003
o ^ Lahire, Bernard. 2011. The Plural Actor. Cambridge: Polity.
o ^ Ignatow, Gabriel (2009). Why the Sociology of Morality Needs Bourdieu’s Habitus.

o ^ Schwarz, Ori (2015). The Sound of Stigmatization: Sonic Habitus, Sonic Styles, and Boundary Work in an Urban Slum. Vol. 121. pp. 205–42. doi:10.1086/682023. PMID 26430711. S2CID 10034380.
o ^ Elias, Norbert (1939). The Civilizing Process
(5 ed.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ASIN 0631221611.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/inspirekelly/10686568196/’]