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Vanans makt: En kritisk granskning av Pierre Bourdieus bidrag till aktör-strukturdebatten genom George Herbert Meads tänkande
Örebro University, Department of Social and Political Sciences.
2007 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this essay is to critically review Pierre Bourdieus contribution to agency – structure debate. I will do this with help from the thinking of George Herbert Mead. My aim is to show that Mead can provide valuable knowledge to Bourdieus theory.

Pierre Bourdieus notion of habitus is his solution to the dilemma between agency and structure. It is in the habitus that the objective structures meet the inner, subjective structures and this results in various actions. Bourdieu claims that the relation between the habitus and the outer structures causes dispositions to ‘ways of reacting’. His aim with the notion of habitus is to show why the society follows an often strict regularity. Bourdieus is however often accused of being a determinist. I do not totally agree with this criticism but I claim that Bourdieus hasn’t done enough to stipulate his middle way between freedom and constraint and agency and structure. The habitus seems to be more or less immune to mayor upset. Bourdieu is often unclear of how the individual uses his dispositions in various situations. Bourdieus is letting the habitus to too much work. He sometimes seems to forget that it is an individual beyond the habitus. He underestimates the power of humans to make choices of their own. There seems to be more to the notion of agency then the habitus can fully capture. Thus we turn to the thinking of George Herbert Mead. I claim that Mead offers a way out of Bourdieus dilemma between agency and structure. He does this by focusing on what happens in the particular situation. Mead believes that the society reproduces itself in two different ways. There is the ‘unreflexive’ way which has certain similarities with Bourdieus way of thinking. The main difference between Mead and Bourdieu is that Mead claims that there is another way that the society reproduces itself. This is what he calls the reflexive reproduction. If the individual encounters resistance he/she becomes aware of the habitual expectations he/she brought in to the situation. The resistance causes a break in the world the individual takes for granted. The individual then reflexively adapt there actions to the situation. The break makes the individual aware of the world, and this is what lacks in Bourdieus theory. The individual can think and also act in opposite to their habits or habitus. This is what can cause the habitus to change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. , 38 p.
Keyword [en]
agency, structure, Mead, Bourdieu
Keyword [sv]
aktör, struktur
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-1679ISRN: ORU-SAM/SOC-C--07/0019--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-1679DiVA: diva2:135309
Uppsok
samhälle/juridik
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2007-11-13 Created: 2007-11-13

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
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  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
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