Habitus

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Topics: Sociology
Habitus

Habitus is part of a set of learned characteristics, skills and ways of acting, that are often taken for granted and which are acquired through the activities and experiences of everyday life. Pierre Bourdieu defined habitus and something that is created through a social rather than an individual process leading to patterns that are long term and versatile from one context to another, but that also shift in relation to specific contexts and over time. He argues that characteristics that are both shaped by past events and structures, and that shape current practices and structures and also, importantly that condition our very understanding of these. In Bourdieu’s classic study of French society, Distinction, he shows how that social order if gradually inscribed in people’s minds through ‘cultural products’ including systems of education, language, judgment, values, methods of classification and activities of everyday life. (1986: 471) One of the important concepts in Bourdieu’s understanding of power ‘doxa’ which is the combination of both orthdox and heterdoxa norms and beliefs - the unstated taken-for-granted assumptions or ‘common sense’ behind the decisions we make. Bourdieu also uses the term ‘misrecognition’ similar to the Marxian ideas of ‘false consciousness’ but working at a deeper level that surpasses any intent at conscious influence by one group or another. Misrecognition is more of a cultural than ideological trend, because it expresses a set of active social processes that anchor taken-for-granted assumptions into the realm of social life and crucially they are born in the midst of culture. All forms of power require validity and culture is the battleground where this conformity is disputed and eventually materializes between agents, thus creating social differences and unequal structures. Habitus is demonstrated in many different ways in Andean culture, however a few of the major ways it is seen in Catherine

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