Bourdieu's Notion of Habitus

Topics: Sociology, Social class, Social stratification Pages: 2 (559 words) Published: April 17, 2011
Bourdieu's notion of habitus is defined as some sort of filter that individual’s use to structure their own perceptions, experiences, and practices. According to Bourdieu, this notion does not only shape one's mental state of being but also one's physical being as well. The readings state, habitus helps mold one's "natural propensity" and "sense of one's place." However, this is not the only compass of habitus but instead it is an "internalization of externality." In sum, Bourdieu’s idea of habitus claims that an individual’s inclinations are a direct result of how one internalizes externalities. These externalities are established by two forms of capital: economic and cultural. The two capitals establish social position in society because the more economic and cultural capital one possesses determines one's social space. Inevitably, individuals with similar capitals socialize into the same social group therefore structuring society. The relationship between habitus and social structure is then formed. According to the reading, habitus is in itself structured by a person’s position in the social world which is acquired in return by the type and volume of capital he possesses.  This system of structure is based on one’s dispositions that have been embedded in that individual since childhood socialization experiences.  My interpretation of habitus is that an individual’s life experiences mixed with their inclination and cultural and economic capital is directly related to his social position. Bourdieu believes that one’s objective surrounding structures influences what one considers “possible or impossible” and “reasonable or unreasonable” and in return cultivates one’s aspirations and practices to attain a lifestyle suiting that objective structure. This inevitably shapes a relationship of social hierarchies because it castes individuals in a system of low social mobility. For example, if a boy is brought up in a blue-collar home his goals and aspirations are...
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