A dialogical conception of Habitus: allowing human freedom and restoring the social basis of learning

Kleio Akrivou, Lorenzo Todorow Di San Giorgio

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Abstract

This opinion article critically analyses Bourdieu’ s concept of habitus as unconscious action seen to be blocking human freedom and learning which reproduces social bonds. Our main concern with Bourdieu’s sociological origin of habitus, despite its merits, is that it views human action mainly driven by an outside-in internationalisation of learnt habits. Even when Bourdieu argues his theory is not presuming action as purely reproductive of a certain given (current) status quo, it still considers that individual habitus is “an active residue of (one’s) past” (Swartz, 2002: 63S). The problematic consequence is that it theoretically misses to account for the possibility for human freedom -which can be appreciated by reference to Aristotle, for example, although explaining Aristotle is outside the scope of this article. To help address this limitation in Bourdieu’s understanding of habitus, we shall try to show here that, in the frame of a dialogical conception, and supported by psychological findings,habitus can be compatible with the social basis of human freedom and learning.
Original languageEnglish
Article number432
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2014

Keywords

  • dialogue
  • habitus

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