Pierre Bourdieu Coins the Term ‘Habitus’ to Explain the Role of the Body in Class Reproductive Dynamics. Summarize His Position

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Sociology of the Body

Pierre Bourdieu coins the term ‘habitus’ to explain the role of the body in class reproductive dynamics. Summarize his position

Introduction

Pierre Bourdieu’s account of class reproductive dynamics stems from his belief that your “habitus” dictates how your body engages in the reproductive dynamics of class theory. This notion of “habitus” has become central to the studies on social inequality.

Bourdieu and Structuralism

Bourdieu is a typical example of a structuralist. Structuralism is concerned with macro-theories and the functionalist school of thought along with conflict theories, which were illustrated by Durkheim and Marx, respectively. Structure confines the person to a certain area, and restrains them to a respective position. To break out of this confinement, would require a change in the structure. Individualism is not taken into account, because the structure of the hierarchy is built to suit only those needs. This model of thought is highly theoretical and is a re-construction of the Marxist model. Habitus is central to the whole framework of the structuralist model for Bourdieu, as habitus is the structure, the hierarchy, to which one cannot change, as it is part of you and embodies every movement you make. You cannot break out of this habitus as it is ingrained in your being, your structure. You are wrapped in the confines of the hierarchy. This is what makes Bourdieu a structuralist.

Bourdieu’s school of thought is registered in the synthesis between structures and individual activity. The reproductive theory is an emphasis on reproduction of social patterns and individual, rather than change. Society is reproduced, class oppression, reproduced itself. Your habitus reproduces itself within your children. Your class is embodied in your body which is passed down, consequently reproduced.

How do we define Habitus?

“… scientific observation shows that cultural needs are the product of upbringing and education: surveys



Bibliography: Bourdieu, P (1984) Distinction. London: Routledge (Pp: 466-482) Butler T, & Robson, G (2003) London Calling. London Jenkins, R. (1992) Pierre Bourdieu. London: Routledge (Chp 4) Scott, J & Marshall, G (2005) Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. London

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