Bourdieu’s habitus

I finished a short piece last night on Bourdieu and his concept of habitus – for the new Routledge Key Concepts in Archaeology . OK a key concept, in some ways, for recent social archaeology. (In some ways, becuase many don’t make open reference to the concept, though they are influenced by it and its relation to theories of social practice.)

I struggled a bit to get the meaning across, with some examples. Not least because archaeology is just now getting to grips with the emphasis in habitus upon embodied understanding. (Mike Pearson and I did try this on a big scale in Theatre/Archaeology though).

Anyway, Colin Renfrew has got it spot on when he describe’s George Segal’s sculpture as precisely about habitus: “permanent disposition, embodied, schemes of perception and thought, at a deeper level, in the form of bodily postures and stances, ways of standing, sitting, looking, speaking and walking”.

George Segal - Walk- Don't Walk

We have a Segal at Stanford (and much more ‘archaeological art’). Maybe I could run a course on archaeology that tours a different work each session. George Segal – habitus. Andy Goldsworthy – site and monument …

Download PDF