File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2000/bourdieu.0009, message 62

Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 11:11:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Moving on....

Bill, I'm in agreement with you.  I do think Bourdieu undertheorizes the
concept himself, as you suggest, but that doesn't mean it isn't powerful
or valid.  Perhaps we ourselves might take it further?  Got to go -- more


On Tue, 26 Sep 2000, Bill Hord wrote:

> In a recent post Carolyn Betensky wrote:
> > > Let me toss another topic on the table:  how do you all feel about the
> > > hysteresis effect as an explanatory principle?  I don't recall seeing
> > > much over the course of the habitus debate (I joined this list over the
> > > summer -- perhaps you've discussed this before?) concerning the role of
> > > hysteresis.  Bourdieu writes of it in Outline of a Theory of Practice and
> > > in the Logic of Practice (elsewhere, too, I believe, though I can't
> > > remember where):  it's one of the ways he explains disruptions and
> > > mutations in social reproduction.  The hysteresis effect occurs when the
> > > habitus keeps running but stops working -- that is, when it stops
> > > producing its habitual, taken-for-granted effects but continues to do its
> > > usual thing.  As I understand it, this gap between the habitus's
> > > "efforts" and the habitus's effects opens up when the larger context
> > > within which the habitus operates shifts in some way the habitus hasn't
> > > had to deal with before.  The habitus *isn't* all-powerful in some
> > > mysterious way -- things *do* happen that take it by surprise and force it
> > > to shove over, if only for a moment.  Of course, each such challenge
> > > ultimately strengthens the habitus as it offers new opportunities to
> > > spin recuperative strategies, new plays for the habitus portfolio.
> To which Karl Maton responded:
> > My mental picture of it is the movement of an ant's legs after it's died ... it keeps
> > moving, though the reasons for doing so have disappeared.  I like the idea and it is
> > useful for thinking about.  As an addition to the concept of habitus, though, it
> > smells rahter strongly of ad hoccery.
> Here's my question:
> Why 'ad hoccery'?  Shouldn't we view habitus as an adaptation?  Aren't
> adaptations (admittedly ad hoc in another sense) only temporary and
> always subject to revision?  (Bourdieu's acknowledgment of the
> pragmatists helps us understand this point.)  Thus, isn't habitus always
> 'subject to revision' (pun intended)?
> If we agree so far, then doesn't it follow that the notion of hysteresis
> is inseparable from that of habitus?  (And possibly under-theorized by
> Bourdieu?)
> Bill Hord
> **********************************************************************
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