American Sociological Association

The Habitus and the Critique of the Present: A Wittgensteinian Reading of Bourdieus Social Theory

I tackle some major criticisms addressed to Pierre Bourdieu’s notion of habitus by foregrounding its affinities with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s notion of rule-following. To this end, I first clarify the character of the habitus as a theoretical device, and then elucidate what features of Wittgenstein’s analysis Bourdieu found of interest from a methodological viewpoint. To vindicate this reading, I contend that Wittgenstein’s discussion of rule-following was meant to unearth the internal connection between rules and the performative activities whereby rules are brought into life. By portraying rules as tools that allow agents to stabilize and renegotiate practices, I illustrate the active role social agents play in the production of shared accounts of practices. I conclude by showing that, if viewed through this prism, the habitus proves to be meant to provide guidance on how social theory helps historicize and denaturalize the social world.

Authors

Croce, M.

Volume

33

Issue

4

Starting Page

327

Ending Page

346

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