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Book Title: The Logic of Practice|
The author of the book: Pierre Bourdieu
Edition: Stanford University Press
Date of issue: August 1st 1992
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 19.49 MB
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Bourdieu challenges the notions of subjectivism and objectivism, in favor of agency and structures. He adopts an approach of internalized structures that he calls habitus, which function as principles which generate and organize practices and representations. Those practices and representations can be objectively adapted to their outcomes “without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or express mastery of the operations necessary in order to attain them” (53).
First of all, according to Bourdieu objectivism is a concept attributed to certain elements that lack the personal bias; they are “independent of individual consciousness and wills” (26). Because of objectivism practical knowledge is often regarded as a set of rationalizations and hence rejected. Ultimately, Bourdieu argues, objectivism reduces social science to situational analyses of phenomena. Essentially, it ignores the relationship between experimental and objective meaning in social science. Just like subjectivism, objectivism is problematic as well.
Secondly, Bourdieu critiques in his understanding of knowledge some epistemological and social breaks in order to highlight the implications of objectivism. He references Bally’s conclusions on linguistic research, which imply as social break from the actual research. This leads to the neglecting of the “social conditions of scientific activity” (33). In a participant observation there is the contradiction that the observer cannot be assume the role of the participant, hence the paradox. He also criticizes Kant, in the sense that, he too is an outsider; he assumes the point of view of the creator of art instead of the observer that views art from the outside.
Moreover, Bourdieu refers to fetishism of social laws as a criticism of structuralism. Due to their need to discover new forms in the history of social thought, structuralists fall into this notion of fetishism. Bourdieu defines it as a rejection of subjectivism that leads to specific principles of division.
Since Bourdieu rejects both objectivism and subjectivism, he undertakes another approach; that of habitus. Habitus “is constituted in practice and is always oriented towards practical functions” (52). It is the internalization of the cosmos for the creation of an identity. Essentially, structure is the result of the systems of durable, transposable dispositions that define habitus. More specifically, as Bourdieu states structured structures are predisposed to act as structuring structures. He defines them as principles which generate and organize practices and representations that can “be objectively adapted to their outcomes without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or express mastery of the operations necessary in order to attain them” (53). The structures are objectively ‘regulated’ without being the subjective product of social action.
In conclusion, Bourdieu thinks that habitus occurs during the early stages of socialization, however there still remains some kind of agency, still based on the normalized form of habitus. Just like Durkheim Bourdieu believes in the predominance of a “past self”; past behaviors that have now been unconsciously internalized.
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Read information about the authorBourdieu pioneered investigative frameworks and terminologies such as cultural, social, and symbolic capital, and the concepts of habitus, field or location, and symbolic violence to reveal the dynamics of power relations in social life. His work emphasized the role of practice and embodiment or forms in social dynamics and worldview construction, often in opposition to universalized Western philosophical traditions. He built upon the theories of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Edmund Husserl, Georges Canguilhem, Karl Marx, Gaston Bachelard, Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, Erwin Panofsky, and Marcel Mauss. A notable influence on Bourdieu was Blaise Pascal, after whom Bourdieu titled his Pascalian Meditations.
Bourdieu rejected the idea of the intellectual "prophet", or the "total intellectual", as embodied by Sartre. His best known book is Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, in which he argues that judgments of taste are related to social position. His argument is put forward by an original combination of social theory and data from surveys, photographs and interviews, in an attempt to reconcile difficulties such as how to understand the subject within objective structures. In the process, he tried to reconcile the influences of both external social structures and subjective experience on the individual (see structure and agency).
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