“In order to prevent future moral catastrophe, we need to encourage thoughtfulness and discourage thoughtlessness. In order to do this, we need to include philosophers’ biographies when considering their philosophies. […] Nixon ends by admitting how he believes too much thoughtfulness could lead to mental quagmire, as in Heidegger, thoughtlessness would lead to more Eichmanns, and points to Mendelssohn, whom befriended a teenage Arendt, as giving an example of how to foster thinking. It’s a nice sentiment, and we can agree Mendelssohn did a good thing, however by leaving it there, Nixon fails to follow his own call to action.
Biography does indeed need to be considered when thinking about thinkers and their thoughts- what this really means is we cannot think about thought alone; the material reality and its influences on a persons thoughts and actions is necessary to truly understand either.” … More Arendt’s “Thoughtfulness” & Bourdieu’s “Reflexivity”: Differences, Similarities & Consequences | Part 2
“Similarly to how Arendt saw the process of becoming thoughtful as a reaction to actual events, Bourdieu claims that reflexivity, the temporary ability for us to reflect upon and change our social practices (which include thoughtfulness), is a reaction to the world. […] Arendt’s life cause her to become not just thoughtful, but reflecting on her own thoughtfulness, allows Arendt to develop her ideas about the connection between thoughtfulness and morality […] Similarly, Bourdieu wrestled with internal conflicts which, in a similarly meta-reflexive action, helped him develop the concept of cleft habitus. […] Thinking about how doxa affects social practices, which include both the social practice of thinking as such, and reflexivity, can then help us understand how doxa themselves can be considered forms of capital. […] we might say that Arendt’s refusal to systematise her thinking was due to her cleft habitus, as a fractured habitus could perhaps only contain fractured doxa- a habitus without a bannister.” … More Arendt’s “Thoughtfulness” & Bourdieu’s “Reflexivity”: Differences, Similarities & Consequences | Part 1
“The feeling of “not fitting in” is not the result of a simple clash of personalities, or some individual failing due to perhaps poor social skills, but that these social skills, perhaps the accompanying or produced anxiety, and even the emotional intensity of such feelings and thoughts is a reflection of habitus and field incongruence. […] Psychological sanctions as by-products of social mobility are not just experienced individually even social cognition is affected. Feelings of shame and guilt also become barriers between family members that have not similarly experienced social mobility. […] Those who are rapidly upwardly socially mobile it seems are doomed to inherit the dispositions of a class that will never fully accept them, and in doing so, become not just physically, but psychically separated from their class of origin.” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 11: The Psychological Sanctions of Social Mobility
“Reflexivity is paradoxical because it can only really be temporary, almost like a mode of habitus as it adjust to it’s new field, or is socially mobile in such a way that it moves into a more congruent field.
This paradoxical understanding led Bourdieu to theorise reflexivity as temporal, a kind of active mode which is triggered by habitus and field incongruence that reveals to a person the unwritten rules of the field they inhabited. However, this moment would always be temporary as once the incongruence is solved, practice becomes stable.
The fact that class is continuous and mobility is slow allows habitus more time to adjust itself to the new field and avoid the disruptive effects of hysteresis…” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 10: The Paradoxical Temporality of Reflexivity & The Continuity of Class
“Like the old adage, “you can take the person out of the place, but you can’t take the place out the person,” Bourdieu’s theory of habitus includes the idea of a primary habitus, the result of primary socialisation, which is much more resistant to change- yet not eternal. When a person experiences rapid changes in field, Bourdieu argued that the mismatch between a person’s habitus and their new field causes a “hysteresis effect”. […] in today’s world in which social mobility is much more common, is the working-class habitus protected from splitting that might occur as a result of rapid upwards social mobility, perhaps simply as a result of increased awareness of such a possibility existing?” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 9: Does Social Mobility Reduce Hysteresis?
“Further reflection on Reay’s pessimism […] has deepened the cynical turn in my thought and practices. In my notes for this series I had originally written to include a discussion of my individual practices of resistance to class stereotyping and stigma.
One of these practices was to retain my North-West English accent. […] this strategy was meant to diminish stigma by going against common stereotypes about what an educated person looks/sounds like […] however, I doubt the effectiveness of this practice.
Perhaps some readers will interpret aspects of this article as a confession that I have given up on the rationale most associated with critical theory. […] Yet, much as I am dismayed by much of what I currently see, I am still working on my own theories and I still do my best to follow Horkheimer’s famous dictum on the purpose of critique, that it is “to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them.”” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 8: Pessimism About Practices of Resistance and Social Mobility
“Pursuing higher education as a means to become upwardly socially mobile also reflects the hyper-competitive individualistic culture of contemporary society and universities, especially their marketing departments, are partly to blame for this. For me personally, academic pursuits were not a means to the end of greater financial security, although when I was younger this was seen as an obvious benefit, but I was drawn to them because it is in my habitus. However, there is still a lingering feeling of anxiety and sometimes guilty shame about my choices regarding my education […]
Reay’s research shows how some parents felt guilty about not sending their children to the best school possible and how they struggled balancing their own values with normative notions about good middle-class parenting. […]
If I can afford it, I would send my children to private school. Does this make me complicit in this unfair system? Is the privilege of choosing a lower or middle-class school also a choice about what social class one’s children will be?” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 7: What School Should I Send My Children To? Am I Also Choosing What Social Class They Will Be?
“Macbeth teaches its audience a moral lesson beyond killing is wrong, since it is unquestioningly alright to kill your fellow man at war, nor even regicide is wrong as King Macbeth is justly slain at the end (no spoiler alerts on a four centuries old play), but that it is wrong to disturb the social order. […]
Perhaps Bernays’ concept of propaganda is too broad? Can we consider, for example, Aesop’s fables as propaganda? […]
t is also difficult to examine how much luck was involved in creating my situation because, like Bourdieu who first theorised about habitus, my class mobility is an exception to the rule about how our inherited capitals, our origins, determine our destinations. […]
At what point does doing what modern society requires of one to get ahead, perhaps abandoning the class interests as a whole yet still working towards more justice and opportunities for those like myself that want to move up, equate to killing the king?” … More Macbeth Had a Cleft Habitus, Sometimes Propaganda is Moral, and Social Mobility is Like Killing the King
“Risking reducing parts of Bourdieu’s socioanalysis from a philosophical enquiry into the essence of his own being through examining his becoming, and certainly hoping not to appear to pathologise his reflexivity, there is a kind of constant flux of self-image as it is constantly re-examined. The difference between Bourdieu and one who suffers with BPD perhaps is, as many psychologists would agree (at least in my experience with fellow students many of which are now practising psychologists in some form) is that his reflexive actions did not cause him social problems and/or psychic distress enough to be considered pathological. ” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 6: The Beginnings of a Bourdieusian Analysis of Mental Illness (BPD)?
“Content warning: This article contains discussion of childhood neglect and abuse.
[…] I can’t recall much of my mother apart from her occasional emotional abusiveness such as screaming at me that I would “end up just like [my] father” when I misbehaved. The only real stability in my life then came from my maternal grandparents and school, the latter of which not exactly stable […] As a child, I didn’t understand that what I went through then was tantamount to abuse […] lack of consistency and abuse has led to maladaptive behaviours symptomatic of my mental health diagnosis, and in Bourdieusian terms, negative cultural capitals- especially in the way I failed to develop my independence or learned “learned helplessness”.” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 5: Abuse & Neglect; Embodying Negative Cultural Capital