Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Bourdieu's Habitus and Cognitive Sudies




College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Bourdieu's habitus is designed to overcome some of the major dichotomies is social analysis: structure and agency, subject and object, self and society, culture and personality. Bourdieu's habitus is a "feel for the game," a personal disposition as corporeal as it is cognitive, an individual's history of games played, a store of strategies ready to be deployed in the appropriate situations. Because an individual's history is the history of games played and positions occupied, the social categories which one has occupied come into place as well. One's gender, class, ethnicity, race and help structure the positions one occupies in social space. In Bourdieu's formulation, social actors are active and knowing agents endowed with a practical sense, that is, an acquired system of preferences, of principles of vision and division, (what is usually called taste) and also a system of durable cognitive structures (which are essentially the product of the internalization of objective structures) and of schemes of action which orient the perception of the situation and the appropriate response Bourdieu tells us that the habitus is the product of individual history and that individual history is in part the embodiment of social forces. What he doesn't tell us is how this happens. This paper will review recent work on memory, perception, language, cognition, neuro-psychology and human action and link Bourdieu's "habitus" with the mechanisms in which social experiences are formed and manifested in human social action.

Conference Name

International Social Science

Conference Location

United States

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