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date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter abstract The author of this chapter proposes that we consider Bourdieu’s work neither on its own terms, nor in the terms of the postwar French academic field, but in terms of the general problems that it solved. When we do so, we find that Bourdieu developed lines of thinking that had stalled in Germany and the United States. The former was the field theoretic tradition associated with Gestalt psychology and empirical phenomenology; the second was the habit theoretic tradition associated increasingly with pragmatism. Each had stalled because each seemed, in a way, too successful—everything turned into habit for pragmatist social psychology; field theory also put everything indiscriminately in the field of experience. By focusing on the reciprocal relations of habitus and field, Bourdieu developed these insights in ways that allowed for empirical exploration, and that cut against the French rationalist vocabulary that he inherited.

Keywords: Chapter, Bourdieu, psychology, habitus, phenomenology, pragmatism

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