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date: 19 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

It is now well established that Pierre Bourdieu’s work can be interpreted as a form of cognitive sociology. Yet, given that the term “cognitive” has a variety of meanings, the question of where Bourdieu’s project of cognitive sociology fits into other cognitively grounded approaches in the social sciences remains open. This chapter argues that if Bourdieu is to be considered a cognitive theorist, then there is only one way in which his conception of cognition can be interpreted, and that is as a form of embodied cognition. It distinguishes different senses of the term “embodiment” and specifies how they show up in Bourdieu’s work. It discusses two broad sets of empirical phenomena—the “hard” and “soft” embodiment of culture—that have recently been identified and argues that their discovery represents a vindication of the prescience and untapped promise of Bourdieu’s version of cognitive sociology. It closes by providing indications how an empirically grounded version of Bourdieu’s cognitive sociology can be furthered today.

Keywords: Bourdieu, embodiment, cognition, culture, learning, socialization

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