File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_1998/bourdieu.9804, message 1


Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 23:34:48 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Aesthetic Labour


On Tue, 31 Mar 1998, Anthony Beck wrote:

> Habitus may be
> transcended by what appears to be novelty in the arts - though the new is
> always in the womb before it is born.  But the 'original' and successful
> artist cannot be accounted for in terms of training or habitus/

Bourdieu's notion of the habitus does have a diachronic dimension: this is
the active labor of interpretation, i.e. the constant sorting out,
threshing, winnowing and refining of taste, style, aesthetic theory and
whatnot. The tools of the aesthetic trade are constantly being updated,
analyzed, cross-examined and remanufactured, and can be displaced or
devalued by more productive or marketable innovations elsewhere, 
very much like other forms of capital. In general, Bourdieu
talks mostly about how original theories of art develop, and
not so much about how the work of art is itself innovated -- what a
previous philosophical discourse used to call the transcendent, as opposed
to the immanent, pole of the analysis. Note also that the habitus is not a
static field, but something like a recursive unit, which contains still
smaller habituses, and can be enclosed by still larger ones (much as
global capitalism has elements of national capitalisms which have elements
of urban and regional capitalisms, etc.).

-- Dennis

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