The Subjectivity of Habitus

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Abstract

Departing from Bourdieu's collective habitus, this essay develops a theory of the subjectivity of habitus, meaning the social-psychological processes comprising the agent and fueling deliberation. By incorporating George Ainslie's theory of the will and deliberation as the intertemporal bargaining of a population of interests, I theorize the “saturated agent” composed of an economy of interests, analogous to Bourdieu's “economy of practices” invested and saturated with cultural capital. Here culturally saturated interests negotiate strategically within the agent, with the ending balance constituting the habitus. Additionally, reflexivity becomes amenable to habitus as “desaturation” or suspending the commitment to a set of culturally saturated interests as a result of a crisis, followed by “resaturation”, the restructuring of the economy of interests.

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