Habitus and FieldGeneral Sociology, Volume 2 (1982-1983)
Habitus and Field
General Sociology, Volume 2 (1982-1983)
Translated by Peter Collier
This is the second of five volumes based on the lectures given by Pierre Bourdieu at the Collège de France in the early 1980s under the title ‘General Sociology’. In these lectures, Bourdieu sets out to define and defend sociology as an intellectual discipline, and in doing so he introduces and clarifies all the key concepts which have come to define his distinctive intellectual approach.

In this volume, Bourdieu focuses on two of his most important and influential concepts: habitus and field.  For the social scientist, the object of study is neither the individual nor the group but the relation between these two manifestations of the social in bodies and in things: that is, the obscure, dual relation between the habitus – as a system of schemas of perception, appreciation and action – and the field as a system of objective relations and a space of possible actions and struggles aimed at preserving or transforming the field. The relation between the habitus and the field is a two-way process: it is a relation of conditioning, where the field structures the habitus, and it is also a relation of knowledge, with the habitus helping to constitute the field as a world that is endowed with meaning and value.  The specificity of social science lies in the fact that it takes as its object of knowledge a reality that encompasses agents who take this same reality as the object of their own knowledge.

An ideal introduction to some of Bourdieu’s most important concepts and ideas, this volume will be of great interest to the many students and scholars who study and use Bourdieu’s work across the social sciences and humanities, and to general readers who want to know more about the work of one of the most important sociologists and social thinkers of the 20th century.
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  • December 2019
  • 446 pages
  • 160 x 237 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $45.00
  • 9781509526697
Table of Contents

Lecture of 5 October 1982 
The retrospective illusion and the unreality of theory in research – A work of axiomatisation – Scientific concepts – The fundamental questions – Realist definition and interactionist definition – Metaphysical requirements for sociology – Iron Filings

Lecture of 12 October 1982
The double life of the social - The process of objectification and incorporation of the social - Moving beyond the opposition between subjectivism and objectivism. - Scholarly understanding and practical understanding - The examples of reading and the work of art - Programme of future lectures and questions from the audience

Lecture of 19 October 1982
Sense without consciousness - The mechanistic error and the intellectualist error - The temptation of the sociologist as king - Intellectual obstacles to the knowledge of the gnoseologia inferior - The habitus as orthe doxa

Lecture of 2 November 1982
Positions and dispositions - The two states of history - A feel for the game - Practical knowledge - Investment in the game and illusio - Affective transference of the domestic libido, and conformism - Critique of the economic discourse - The economic conditions of economic practices

Lecture of 9 November 1982
Habituality in Husserl - Decision theory in economics - Avoiding mechanism and purposiveness - The theory of the machine - The ontological power of language - Popular culture and popular language - Marxist teleology – The reification and  personification of the collective. - The solution of the habitus
Lecture of 16 November 1982
The adaptation of expectation to opportunity - Avoiding purposiveness- Interiorising the social - Incorporating necessity - Rites of institution - The call to order: the example of the relation of the family to the school - Social relations in the enquiry relationship - Surreptitious persuasion, symbolic violence - The paradox of continuity - Critique of the scholarly relation

Lecture of 23 November 1982
A double-voiced discourse - Looking scholarly - Where is the sociologist coming from? - Sociology in the space of disciplines - The unconscious structures of the hierarchy of disciplines - Philosophy / sociology / history - Epistemological struggles, social struggles - Finding out what sociology does


Lecture of 30 November 1982
Sociology as taking liberty/ies - Positions, dispositions and stances - Sociological bodies and academic styles - Positions attained and positions to attain - Mental structures and objective structures - Transformations of the field: the case of the university system - The refraction of external constraints - Strategies of struggle - The boundaries of the field - The intellectual field

Lecture of 7 December 1982      
The structural mode of thinking - From symbolic systems to social relations - Parenthesis on the genesis of a corpus of knowledge - The field of forces and the field of struggles - Thinking a social position - How to construct a relational space? - The distribution of capital and the different structures - The inter-fields - Return to the structure of the distribution of capital - The interdependence of  field and capital - The major kinds of capital - Conversion of the kinds of capital

Lecture of 14 December 1982
A manner of thinking - The field and the statistical aggregate - The concept of the field (1): theoretical itinerary - The concept of the field (2): practical itinerary Field and milieu - Field and interaction - Field and network - Field and positions - Field and representation of the situation - The space of objective relations and the space of interactions - Field, group, population, individual - Representations and practical sense - Homologies between fields

Lecture of 11 January 1983      
Physicalism and semiologism - Structure as crystallised history - Roulette and poker - The alternatives of income or trade - Amor fati. - The fertile terrain of the literary field - Art versus method: charismatic ideology and ‘sociology of literature’ - The field as mediation - Literary field and intertextuality - A chiasmatic structure - Automation, hierarchisation, institutionalisation - The intellectual in the field of cultural production

Lecture of 18 January 1983      
The world upside-down - Field of power and field of cultural production - Conservative intellectual - The law of symbolic legitimation - Return to the struggles within the field of cultural production - The genesis of the invariants - The adaptation of offer to demand through homology of structure - The conquest of autonomy - The hierarchy of productions and the hierarchy of publics

Lecture of 25 January 1983      
The economic logic of cultural enterprises - The truth of practice - The deferred profits of disinterestedness - The ambivalent profits of the market - The subversion of the rules of the field - Time-scales and ‘personalities’ - Clients and rivals: the mediation of the education system - Generations and revolutions - Modes of ageing and eternalisation - Overthrowing for the sake of overthrowing - Orientating the self in the space of possibilities - Trajectory / career and  habitus - The impious dismantling of the fiction

Summary of lectures, published in the Annuaire du Collège de France


About the Author
Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) was one of the most influential sociologists and anthropologists of the late twentieth century. He was Professor of Sociology at the Collège de France and Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales.  His many works include Outline of a Theory of Practice, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, The Rules of Art, The Logic of Practice and Pascalian Meditations.
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