Re: [xmca] ego, self, etc.

From: Martin Packer <packer who-is-at>
Date: Sat Feb 02 2008 - 10:56:37 PST

On 2/2/08 12:21 AM, "Paul Dillon" <> wrote:

> As I understand it, the concept of habitus only acquires theoretical meaning
> in relation to a specific field of activity developed around the acquisition
> of different types of capital. Habitus would be totally abstract without
> field and of course incapable of providing an alternative to anything.


You're quite right: I should have said that habitus and field *together*
offer an alternative to the representational model. The whole point is that
they are defined relationally, in order to enable us to think about
relational phenomena. So it's always habitus/field.

As I grasp it, Hegel's account of the development (Bildung) of consciousness
is something like this: First, we take things to be just the way they appear
to be. Then, we come to experience a distinction between things are they
appear and things as they are, which requires consciousness of self. We
eventually become conscious of the way our own consciousness has been shaped
by our biography and by our own society ≠ we come to see society as an
objective reality. Then we become conscious of the way society is itself a
product of human activity ≠ and that humans have evolved. And finally we
become aware that we ourselves are a manifestation of something larger.
[Unfinished task: see whether Vygotsky describes the same progession]

Bourdieu is locating himself somewhere advanced in this progression: he
grasps the ways that society is reproduced in human activity. Habitus/Field
is designed to capture this dynamic. The people he studies, in contrast, he
sees as being subject to a necessary "illusio" that is pretty much a state
of sense-certainty: things are just as they appear to be. Reflexive
sociology offers a kind of "socio-analysis" that enables people to see that
they have alternatives, that what seems natural is not. Reflexivity is about
≥uncovering the social at the heart of the individual, the impersonal
beneath the intimate, the universal buried within the most particular≤


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Received on Sat Feb 2 11:09 PST 2008

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