chapter  6
18 Pages

How Society Works: Habitus

The concept of habitus can be found here and there in western philosophy and social theory, and anthropologist Marcel Mauss reintroduced it in the early twentieth century, but it was importantly picked up and significantly revised by sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and his disciples in the second half of the twentieth century. Ways of carrying one's body and other bodily habits are also socialized into one's habitus. Just as blue-collar people will tend to speak more loudly than wealthy people, so wealthy people will tend to be more reserved with their body movements than blue-collar people. Those of us who live in a so-called meritocracy live in a world much more like the medieval social world than we think. Our social hierarchies are not assigned at birth and rigidly reinforced throughout life and without exception, but our social hierarchies are reproduced because of the class habitus we are socialized into from birth.