File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2000/bourdieu.0009, message 32

Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 21:36:26 +0100
Subject: Re: nonunitary subjectivity and habitus

This raises an issue which I am fearful of bringing up as it has been said to
already be an old chestnut of mine, but here goes....

This question is, I think, difficult to answer unless the concept of habitus is
developed.  The realisations of a habitus - practices within concrete contexts
- will obviously differ from field to field, and indeed in the same field.
What habitus, as we know, tries to suggest is that these practices are
realisations of an underlying generative principle.  That principle or device
or mechanism we can call the habitus.  But we cannot say whether the habitus is
the same or different in two cases unless we can identify or describe the
structure of the habitus which practices are the realisations of.

Without this ability the tendency is to fragment the habitus.  So we end up
with talk of a linguistic habitus or a footballing habitus or whatever.  This
doesn't tell us anything beyond naming the field in which the habitus is being
realised.  It doesn't tell us about the structuring of habitus.

In other words, since habitus as a concept is stuck at the level of simply
naming the underlying generative principle and does not yet enable us to say
that here it exhibits this structuring and there it exhibits that structuring,
then the tendency is to say that dispositions regarding football are products
of a footballing habitus.

Referring to homology does itself show us, I feel, the work which needs to be
done, for homology isn't very insightful into the structuring of a field or a
set of practices.  It uses a tacit notion that both share a similar
structuring, without stating what that structuring is, and what it is not.

I'll explain myself better when I'm less tired ....

"Evelyn S. Ruppert" wrote:

> Here are my two offerings on your questions: that fields are homologous to
> the broader social space rather than to each other; that the habitus is not
> unitary nor is it fragmented but that different parts of it are brought into
> "play" depending on the particular game, strategies, stakes, players, etc.
> of the particular field within which one is engaging.
> Evelyn

I don't think what you've described here is any different from saying that the
habitus is fragmented.  The idea that there are 'parts' to it seems to me very

> >What I wonder
> > about is would it be possible to say that the habitus may be
> > fragmented or > compartmentalized such that one could practice in one field
> in a way that
> > is NOT homologous (and I hope I'm using the term right) to the way one
> > practices in another field?
> >
> > This idea has just come to me in the last couple of weeks, and I
> > wonder 1)
> > if anyone has already discussed such a thing, 2) if anyone has
> > any thoughts
> > on it.

With best wishes,


Karl Maton
School of Education, University of Cambridge

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