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Questions for Today

1. What exactly does Bourdieu mean by habitus?

2. What problems does the concept of habitus solve for Bourdieu ? 3. How can we decide whether to use or discard the concept of habitus ?

The conditionings associated with a particular class of conditions of existence produce habitus, systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures, that is, as principles which generate and organize practices and representations that can be objectively adapted to their outcomes without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or an express mastery of the operations necessary to attain them. Objectively *regulated* and *regular* without being in any way the product of obedience to rules, they can be collectively orchestrated without being the product of the organizing action of a conductor.

Los condiciones asociados con una clase particular de condiciones de existencia producen habitus, sistemas de disposiciones duraderas, transponibles, estructuras estructuradas predispuestas para funcionar como estructuras estructurantes, es decir, como principios que generan y organizan las prcticas y las representaciones que se pueden adaptar objetivamente a sus resultados sin presuponer un objetivo consciente en los extremos o un dominio expreso de las operaciones necesarias para alcanzarlos. Objetivamente * regulado * y * regular * sin ser de ninguna manera el producto de la obediencia a las reglas, pueden ser colectivamente orquestada sin ser el producto de la accin organizadora de un conductor.

Before we go looking for an example of a habitus, let us examine the elements of the definition so we will know how to recognize one if we find one.

Conditions of existence
Las Condiciones asociadas con una clase particular de condiciones de existencia.. The conditions associated with a particular class of conditions of existence.

produce dispositions
Produce habitus, sistema de disposiciones. Produce habitus, systems of . dispositions.

Durable and transposable


Sistema de disposiciones extrapolable (transponible), Systems of durable, transposable dispositions,

structured structures
structuras structuradas structured structures

structuring structures
Predispuestas a Predisposed to funcionar como function as structuring structuras structurantes structures

Functioning as principles
como principios que generan y organizan prcticas y represenciaciones as principles which generate and organize practices and representations

Dont forget that it is systems of DISPOSITIONS which are supposed to be doing all this stuff, organizing practices and all the rest of it ..

unconscious goal-seeking ?
que se pueden adaptar objetivamente a sus resultados sin presuponer un objetivo conciente de sus fines that can be objectively adapted to their outcomes without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends

regulated and regular


Objetivamente * regulado * y * regular * sin ser de ninguna manera el producto de la obediencia a las reglas, pueden ser colectivamente orquestada sin ser el producto de la accin organizadora de un conductor.

objectively regulated and regular without being in any way the product of obedience to rules, they [habitus] can be collectively orchestrated without being the product of the organizing action of a conductor.

Of all the oppositions that artificially divide social science, the most fundamental, and the most ruinous, is the one that is set up between subjectivism and objectivism. p.25

2. What problems does the concept of habitus solve for Bourdieu?

Bourdieu invented the technical term, habitus for the purpose of solving problems he believed to be caused by this ruinous opposition.

Free Will

The concept of habitus resolves the conflict between the objective principle of determination by environmental conditions and the subjective principle of freedom. As an acquired system of generative schemes, the habitus makes possible the free production of all the thoughts, perceptions, and actions inherent in the particular conditions of its production and only those This infinite yet strictly limited generative capacity is difficult to understand only so long as one remains locked in the usual antinomies .. p.55

Social Reality
Contrary to positivist materialism: the objects of knowledge are constructed, not passively recorded. Contrary to intellectualist idealism: the principle of this construction is the system of structured, structuring dispositions, the habitus. P. 52

Continuity in Social Life


Habitus, a system of dispositions, is a present past that tends to perpetuate itself into the future. It is the principle of the continuity and regularity in social life, which objectivism sees in social life without being able to account for it. P. 54

Institutions
Habitus makes it possible to inhabit institutions, to appropriate them practically, and so to keep them in activity. It is because the habitus exploits the bodys readiness to take seriously the performative magic of the social that the king, the banker, or the priest are able to be the monarchy, financial capitalism, or the Church, made flesh. P. 57

Reinventing Economics
The absurdities of economic theory flow from thinking of practice in terms of the logic of decisions of the will (i.e. from subjectivism). Habitus corrects economic theory by starting from the premise that decisions and the systems of preferences that underlie them depend not only on the previous choices of the decider, but also on the conditions in which the choices have been made Habitus replaces the supposedly self-transparent act of economic choice with the real logic of action. pp. 40-51, 56-57.

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3. How can we decide whether to use or discard the concept of habitus ?