chapter  7
14 Pages

Habitus as topic and tool

Reflections on becoming a prizefighter
WithLoïc Wacquant

The concept of habitus supplied at once the anchor, the compass, and the course of the ethnographic journey recapped in Body & Soul. Epistemic reflexivity is all the more urgently needed by ethnographers as everything conspires to invite them to submit to the preconstructions of common sense, lay or scholarly. The weighed combination of the three modalities of writing - the sociological, the ethnographic, and the literary - according to proportions that become gradually inverted as the book progresses, aims to enable the reader to feel emotionally and understand rationally the springs and turns of pugilistic action. Many social researchers view theory as a set of abstract notions that either float high up in the pure sky of ideas, disconnected from the nitty-gritty of the conduct of inquiry, or constitute responses to the empirical questions that the latter raises, to be discovered in the real world, as in the approach labeled "grounded theory".