determination

Thomas Meisenhelder tsmeisen at wiley.csusb.edu
Wed Mar 15 13:47:14 MST 1995


>Another point that I think it is important to stress is that social
>structures of all kinds simultaneously enable as well as constrain. This is
>part of what I think tends to get lost when we think in terms of the
>"determination" of consciousness by social being. If we are enabled by
>particular circumstances to do something it simply means that there are
>possibilities for action available, with nothing compelling us to go in any
>given direction. Capitalism constrains workers by forcing them to sell their
>labour power. At the same time it has tended to concentrate workers in a
>single location which has enabled working class solidarity. Whether or not
>workers become aware of the potential power that this grants them, and
>whether they learn how to exercise it to their advantage is an open question
>(and whether this will ever lead to socialism is an equally open matter).
>
>
Yes.  This is one of the powers of Bourdieu's notion of habitus.   As a
structurally-created but structure-creating set of generative dispositions,
habitus both enables and constrains practice.  It is derived from one's
position in social fields (economy, culture. society), it guides how we
represent experience and self, and it generates certain practices intended
toward "objectiv ely" possib le futures.



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