Re: [xmca] ego, self, etc.

From: Andy Blunden <ablunden who-is-at>
Date: Sat Feb 02 2008 - 21:45:58 PST

Apologies Paul. I am causing mischief again with my use of words. When I
say "subjective" I do not mean "inside the head" or any such thing. Before
now I haven't tried to precisely define the distinction in way that would
stand up in this particular discussion, but I guess the habitus and its
field are maintained by the dispositions of the inhabitants equally as they
form those dispositions, all of which kind of make sense within and only
within that closed world of activity. The habitus is objective and material
with respect to the individual, but not with respect to itself - the
collectivity of human beings performing it. But so long as a person adopts
a "we" perspective in relation to their habitus, that is subjective. To the
extent that what they produce extends or comes from beyond the habitus that
is objective. If a class fraction produces something of value by other
class fractions, then that counts as objective to that extent.

At 09:20 PM 2/02/2008 -0800, you wrote:
> Your point that Objective &#8800; Absolute is crucial from a historical
> perspective, there is a constant movement in which objective become
> subjective and vice versa, albeit at time scales that defy direct
> observation at the historical level.
> \\
> . But I think the identification of habitus as subjectivity misses
> Bourdieu's point; habitus exists objectively albeit not necesarrily
> consciously, like a slope down which objects roll. True subjectivity
> rather found in the reflexive methodology that illuminates the
> structrures of habitus in their corresponding fields of practice.,
> Bourdieu is quite explicit that habitus is not any kind of subjective
> "consciousness" in fact almost necessarily not consciousl. One of my
> favorite passages from Bourdieu (Outline of a Theory of Practice)
> concerns the impossibility of asking native informants the most
> fundamental questions since these concern precisely those
> structurres/frames/elements that the native informant takes -for-
> granted, the water in which the fish swims, (The Japanese philosopher,
> Dogen, holds that it isn't really water for the fish at all, but
> fabulous castles, promenades, and boulevards). This goes to Martin's
> reservations about Bourdieu's claims for a
> science outside practice. But then Martin's concerns are also resolved
> in the historicity of the objective as it presents itself in the
> different fields of practice. Can we analyze historical formations, like
> coral reefs??
> In any event,t habitus definitely should not be equated with
> subjectivity. I Sense a slumbering dualism in this .coerced interpretation.
> Paul
> Paul
>Paul Dillon <> wrote:
> Yeah Martin,
>I haven't read ahead my inbox to see if Andy's already responded but I
>agree that if we correlate Bourdieu's foci to the categories of Hegel's
>Phenomenology, they are the already developed forms of Subjective and
>Objective Spirt. But then I don't think Bourdieu would agree that their is
>an Absolute Knowledge in any Hegelian sense. Andy surely can address this
>better than I.
>But I have a problem with your interpretation of the passage from sense
>certainty to more developed forms of consciousness. As I read what you've
>written, the dimension of violence in the process is totally absent.
>Violence plays a very important role in Hegel's dialectic and at two
>totally crucial points of transition: the first being that of the
>Master-Slave dialectic, in which the problem of solipsism is resolved
>through the subordination of one "self-consciousness" to another.
>The relation of both self-consciousnesses is in this way so constituted
>that they prove themselves and each other through a life-and-death
>struggle. They must enter into this struggle, for they must bring their
>certainty of themselves, the certainty of being for themselves, to the
>level of objective truth, and make this a fact both in the case of the
>other and in their own case as well. And it is solely by risking life that
>freedom is obtained; only thus is it tried and proved that the essential
>nature of self-consciousness is not bare existence, is not the merely
>immediate form in which it at first makes its appearance, is not its mere
>absorption in the expanse of life. Rather it is thereby guaranteed that
>there is nothing present but what might be taken as a vanishing moment —
>that self-consciousness is merely pure self-existence, being-for-self. The
>individual, who has not staked his life, may, no doubt, be recognized as a
>Person; but he has not attained the truth of
>this recognition as an independent self-consciousness. In the same way
>each must aim at the death of the other, as it risks its own life thereby;
>for that other is to it of no more worth than itself; the other’s reality
>is presented to the former as an external other, as outside itself; it
>must cancel that externality. The other is a purely existent consciousness
>and entangled in manifold ways; it must view its otherness as pure
>existence for itself or as absolute negation.
>The second place where violence plays a fundamental role in the transition
>for absolute freedom to the sphere of morality, the mmovement from
>pure-self- interest to the recognition that the ground of self interest is
>the moral order. Again Hegel is poetic:
>The sole and only work and deed accomplished by universal freedom is
>therefore death — a death that achieves nothing, embraces nothing within
>its grasp; for what is negated is the unachieved, unfulfilled punctual
>entity of the absolutely free self. It is thus the most cold-blooded and
>meaningless death of all, with no more significance than cleaving a head
>of cabbage or swallowing a draught of water.
>These elements of struggle -to=the=death and "fear and trembling" and
>submission before the threat (immanence/possibiility) of death, desire of
>death for all, institutionalized threats of violence, etc need to be
>addressed to bring Hegel's dialecdtic down to earth, where as we all know,
>the business of death is at the forefront of things.
>Martin Packer
>On 2/2/08 12:21 AM, "Paul Dillon"
> > 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 &shy; we come to see society as an
>objective reality. Then we become conscious of the way society is itself a
>product of human activity &shy; 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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  Andy Blunden : tel (H) +61 3 9380 9435,
mobile 0409 358 651

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Received on Sat Feb 2 21:48 PST 2008

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