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PART 4 Habit and the architecture of the person

The aesthetic, I have argued, constitutes a distinctive kind of authority that, like any other, works through the specific kinds of tutelage it organises. I have sought both to provide a rough genealogy for, and to illustrate, the qualities of the guided forms of freedom this gives rise to by probing the historical and discursive underpinnings of Jacques Rancière’s work. Jane Bennett alludes to another aspect of these in recording that, when asked whether an animal, plant or drug might disturb the orders of police, ‘Rancière said no: he did not want to extend the concept of the political that far; nonhumans do not qualify as participants in a demos; the disruption effect must be accompanied by the desire to engage in reasoned discourse’ (Bennett 2010: 106). His position in this respect is classically Kantian in its conception of culture as a unique realm of free human agency. This is not, though, as I noted in Chapter 1, solely a dividing line between the human and the nonhuman; it is also a dividing line between different humanities, a dividing line that is typically drawn around the place that habit is accorded within the makeups of different forms of personhood. It is to these questions that I now turn in Part 4 where I examine the roles

played by both anthropology and aesthetics in these regards. I look first, in Chapter 8, at the concept of habit associated with the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century anthropological doctrine of survivals. I do so with a view to identifying the light this can throw on how and why Australian Aborigines came to be thought of as unimprovable and therefore no longer susceptible to the civilising effects that it had earlier been thought would result from their exposure to culture. My concerns here will serve as an adjunct to my discussion in Chapter 5. It adds to these a concern with the ways in which different ‘architectures of the person’ inform the governmental deployment of cultural knowledges. I then, in Chapter 9, look at Bourdieu’s understanding of the relations between habit and habitus. I trace, first, the legacy of the anthropological doctrine of survivals in Bourdieu’s discussion of the organisation of what he calls ‘archaic habitus’. I then discuss the essentially Kantian historical schema underlying his account of the role that collective

intellectuals are to play in distilling the potential for freedom and distributing this capacity more broadly to encompass those whose habitus are shaped more by the routine repetitions of habit. My purpose in doing so is to extend the disciplinary reach of my discussion by showing how Bourdieu’s sociology can be approached as a liberal discipline that operates through the differential distribution of the capacities for freedom that it produces.