the green fuse /Harris






key words:

Embodiment, Bourdieu, Foucault

Sources: Sociology

Many sociologists suggest that our understanding of social behaviour may be embodied. Games are a good illustration: The rules of the game, strategies and complex physical movements combine in ways that mean a footballer often has no time to think thorough how to play. They must feel the game 'in their bones'. The principles of the game are embodied, and the full meaning can only be expressed in actions. (Bourdieu, 1990: 66-68)

Pierre Bourdieu expresses this as the habitus, a set of dispositions that the body learns and can use given the right social context. These behaviours are the product of an embodied knowledge. Bourdieu refers to this as a 'technique of the body', a phrase he has in common with Foucault. Habitus is expressed in the way individuals ‘carry themselves’, stand, walk and gesture: “Bodily hexis is political mythology realized, em-bodied, tuned into a permanent disposition, a durable way of standing, speaking, walking, and thereby of feeling and thinking”. (Bourdieu, 1990: 69-70).

Last updated: 17-01-2005

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