“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
“In summary, I do not have the same social position as others I work with so cannot, as with my experiences as a fast-food worker, objectify my experiences in the same way. Just as the ethnographer experiences the world of the research subject through his own categories of perception and dispositions (his habitus) and so can never truly experience the subjective world of the subject they research, I would be trying to see the world of the working-class (in this case more specifically “precariat”) worker through more middle-class eyes (my class position is difficult to articulate as will be explained later in the main series).” … More The Limits of Reflexivity | How Class Mobility Impedes Your Ability to Research
“Being reflexive means being conscious in a way that makes our normal practice, however much it felt like we were consciously doing it before, seem like unconscious. […] By analysing how I came to acquire the scholastic disposition and become academically successful we can look at the structures which led to this, so policy can encourage these types of results.
Biological transfer is, although stochastic and probabilistic, it is not absolutely deterministic. […] Our statistical techniques can never give us 100% certainty (if they did, we would have hard laws rather than statistical probabilities), human errors, or all the other kinds of problems associated with human research, we always face margins of errors” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 4: Some Reflexions & Notes on Habitus, Luck & Biological Capital
“For the earlier parts of childhood, we were fairly middle class in the sense that I don’t remember ever going hungry, living in a comfortable suburban area where I would play outside with other children on our street. Culturally however I was fairly deprived compared to more middle class children in that, although I showed an interest in certain culturally valued pursuits, my parents did not have the propensity to invest in my education further […] I sometimes lived with my maternal grandparents […] It was probably most during these years that I was inculcated with values of hard work, gratitude, self-reliance and thrift. Although not exactly poor, my grandparents probably inherited these values from their parents […] success might have motivated me to adopt a more industrious attitude to my schoolwork if not for the following years not affording me the stability I needed to focus…”
In this article I have begun to explore how I came to possess a scholastic disposition and certain values which I have been able to exchange and convert into different forms of capital that have allowed me to be socially mobile. … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 3: Gaining the Scholastic Disposition
“[…] Social class even effects the ways we think and feel. […] the education system is a key point of socialisation and education as an institution, along with the family, is one of they most significant experiences which develop everyone. […]working-class children internalise an understanding of their low academic achievement as pathological, which in Bourdieusian terms translates to them accepting and valuing symbolic mastery, which is required for academic achievement, as privileged over practical mastery. They come to accept the doxa, the orthodoxy, that academic achievement makes one worth more and so on one level misrecognise that their acceptance of this doxa perpetuates its privileged value which keeps them in a dominated position by reproducing general class relations, and on another level, they understand this which is why it leads to class based bullying.” … More The Psychic Landscape of Social Class & My Cleft Habitus | Part 2: Class-based Bullying, Fear & Envy
“This article is a critical commentary, hopefully also comically polemical, on an article by Dylan Riley, professor of sociology at UC Berkeley, written in the new journal Catalyst in Spring 2017. I think his article does an injustice to Bourdieu and those scholars that have continued to develop his sociology. It is an extremely long and thorough, although still not as thorough as it could be, article which I hope succeeds in at least combating Riley’s criticisms, many of which seem almost slanderous to me. I hope this article also provides a decent introduction to Bourdieu’s sociology for anyone interested. ” … More In Defence of Bourdieu | Critical Commentary on Dylan Riley’s “Bourdieu’s Class Theory” in new journal: Catalyst by Jacobin Magazine