RE: another view of Panofsky: what is "habitus"?

Date: Wed Jun 02 2004 - 14:39:07 PDT

Steve asked: I am struggling with the concept of "habitus."

I do not know much about it either. But I found this link comparing
Bourdieu's 'habitus' with Peirce's 'habit.'

"Peirce defines 'habit' through linking the concepts of 'habit' and
'belief'. This is made explicit through Peirce's statement that "belief is
of the nature of a habit" 3. What Peirce means by this is that our beliefs
are based on the "habit[s] of mind" we adopt 4. Peirce points out that we do
not require proof, in any rigorous, philosophical sense, that our beliefs
are true. Instead, we are content to base our beliefs on our habits of mind,
provided these habits yield beliefs which we think are true 5"

"Bourdieu defines the 'habitus' in terms of structures, such as cognitive
and motivating principles and procedures to follow 6, which are internalised
by the subject 7 and which then come to generate and organise social
practices and representations 8. The subject's habitual patterns of thought
are determined by the 'habitus'. As on Peirce's model, these habitual
patterns of thought cannot claim the status of 'objective truths'. The
habitus is constituted through the past experiences, both individual and
collective, of subjects within the world. Therefore, the habitual modes of
thought licensed by the habitus are based upon experiences of social
practices and not upon an inquiry into what is true. Yet, it is these modes
of thought which give rise to belief."

"Peirce's model entails that habits of thought are based on some sort of
consensual reality and not upon truth in an objective sense. Similarly,
there is no fixed point or ground in Bourdieu's model. Habits of thought and
action are determined by the habitus. However, the habitus is formed through
nothing other than structures arising out of "the arbitrariness of a
culture" 15. The habitus resembles an infinite series of contexts which are
embedded in one another but are not anchored to any fixed point or absolute.
In this way, the 'habitus' is similar to Foucault's model of discursive
structures and disciplinary knowledges. Yet, although both Peirce and
Bourdieu's models are ungrounded, neither entirely abandons reference to an
external reality. Peirce defends the notion that there is "some external
permanency - something upon which our thinking has no effect" 16 and
Bourdieu's concept of 'the field' entails that human beings interact with
objective structures in the external world."

iraj imam
The Center for Applied Local Research

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Nov 09 2004 - 11:42:57 PST