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The Politics of Embodiment

Habits, Power, and Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory

Niilo Kauppi

At times controversial, always thought-provoking, Pierre Bourdieu is one of the most influential modern social and cultural theorists. In this in-depth, multidisciplinary analysis of the Bourdieusian concept of habitus, the embodied social and cultural environment, Niilo Kauppi initiates a dialogue between Pierre Bourdieu’s theory and historical (Lucien Febvre), philosophical (Aristotle and C.S. Peirce), and sociological (Émile Durkheim and Norbert Elias) approaches to habits and subjectivity. Through terms such as action, arbitrariness, homology, and structure, the author examines the complex affinities between Pierre Bourdieu’s ideas on embodiment and traditions in anthropology (Claude Lévi-Strauss), linguistics (Ferdinand de Saussure), literature (Honoré de Balzac), philosophy (Gaston Bachelard), and psychology (Lev Vygotsky). Niilo Kauppi offers a constructive basis for a re-evaluation of habitus, «regularity without rules, intentionality without intentions, rationality without calculation, physically lodged in the individual but thoroughly social in character.»
Contents: Embodiment – Habits – Power.