File spoon-archives/habermas.archive/habermas_2000/habermas.0005, message 44

Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 23:55:18 EDT
Subject: Re: HAB: Habermas & Bourdieu

Warning in the spirit of solidarity: equating the life-world with "habitus" 
will fall prey to the one-sidedness of the culturalistic concept of the 
life-world (TOCA II, Ch. 6).  Even for Habermas, there is more to the 
life-world than culture or cultural practices--i.e., society and personality. 

As a personal aside, I get particularly irked when "materiality" or the like 
is reduced to socio-cultural situatedness--that is, when the very 
"materiality" of it is completely eliminated, as if one's limp or erect 
nipple or member had no say in the matter.

For all their flaws, there's something refreshing about the earlier 
Frankfurter's preoccupations with >sexual< liberation and even good 
old-fashioned, let's throw Marx's materialism and early Freudian libidinalism 
together and see what we get, tool-in-the-mouth and food-in-the-hand 
materialism (at least gratification of biological needs in the wi[l]dest 
libidinal sense).  Obviously, anything can be one-sided; yes, even sex can be 
fetishized; but there remains much to be said against the fetishization of 

The philosophical vigilante in me wants to place a Habermasian, for example, 
in a contemporary battle zone where she can proceed to convince both parties 
invovled that communicative action is simply necessary (indeed, a must) in 
contemporary society (and, to add insult to injury, that she is not making a 
normative claim).  At the risk of sounding crude [cut me some slack, 
remember, this is a personal aside], if anyone did bother to hear and 
"understand" her speaking they would likely laugh, blow her head off, rape 
her [an obligatorily pc "her" that backfired on me, okay?], or excercise any 
combination or order of the three.

The problem is that I just don't see enough flesh, blood, gratification, or 
even genuine bodily pain in all this--except in abstracted metaphors (i.e., 
reduce all materiality to language to perpetuate further disembodied 
discourse).  I'm not trying to sensationalize anything, and this says nothing 
against a good balance of theory and practice (as in, please excuse me for 
this post, I'm just feeling rather hormonal at the moment).

"field my ass",

Erik R. Davis
San Francisco

> > I wouldn't 
> > go so far to say that "objectivity" is Bourdieu's main concept
>  > given 
>  > the fact that all his research tries to go beyond the opposition of
>  > 
>  > subjectivity and objectivity; structure and agent. I guess he found
>  > 
>  > an intelligent answer to those problems with the concept of
>  > "habitus" 
>  > even though I am not sure that it really solves the problem 
>  > completely. But as long as the alternative is Habermas' concept of 
>  > "intersubjectivity" I prefer to work with the habitus concept which
>  > 
>  > seems to be more useful for empirical research.
>  > 
>  Please say more about the notion of habitus. The correlate notion for
>  Habermas is lifeworld, which has an embodied, temporal, and scenic
>  character.
>  Gary

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