To fully understand the concept of Habitus, we’ll now dive deeper into what the mechanics of Habitus are. There are some core aspects with great importance:
- … class-specific behaviours, attitudes and dispositions,
- … adapts to and in the same time is determined by the respective social environment,
- … consits of unconciously learned patterns of behavior,
- … remains unconcious in essentail parts,
- … altough difficult to achieve, can be changed.
The concept of capital
As Pierre Bordieu already stated, there are 4 main types of capital.
💵 Economic capital
🫂 Social capital
💃🏽 Cultural capital
💍 Symbolic capital
These days, this concept got even more refined, leading to seven categories (Märtin, 2019).
Includes material possessions, income, financial assets, properties, business values, as well as expected inheritances, pensions, and insurance claims.
Encompasses degrees, certifications, ongoing education, expertise, career knowledge, academic and professional titles, as well as the ability to leverage one's knowledge and skills effectively.
Refers to one's network, relationships with individuals and groups, supportive family, role models, influential contacts, mentors, access to decision-makers, like-minded peers, as well as influence, power, and visibility
Involves familiarity with cultural codes and preferences that signify social standing and distinction. This includes knowledge of high culture, refined manners, and etiquette, as well as contemporary trends like mindful, sustainable lifestyles or the courage to embrace eccentricity and individuality.
Encompasses the ability to express oneself eloquently, engage with people, approach topics constructively, consider multiple perspectives. It also includes the crucial understanding of what, where, and how to communicate effectively.
Includes optimism, passion, imagination, and resilience. Psychological stability plays a significant role in whether one can realize their potential or remains stagnant.
Optimismus, Leidenschaft, Vorstellungskraft, Biss. Von der psychischen Stabilität hängt ab, ob man sein Leistungspotenzial verwirklichen kann oder im Mittelmaß stecken bleibt
The seven types of capital are similar to a diversified investment portfolio: Each individual has a unique distribution of capital, with varying levels in each category. Some individuals possess significant financial wealth and extensive social networks, while others excel in competence, refined behavior, and sophistication or possess remarkable physical fitness and overall health.
Let’s take look at this video to fully grasp the concept.
Typically, those who possess abundant capital in all categories occupy higher positions within the social hierarchy. More Habitus capital thus means having more opportunities, for individual action and expressions (Märtin, 2019).
Let’s look at an example.
A four types of people, among them a veterinarian and manager, are evaluated fictitiously to assess their overall capital and determine their position in the social sphere. Although the manager might have the largest financial wealth, they could have poor physical and psychological health due to their demanding work. The veterinarian might have lower financial means, equally demanding work but less hours on the clock, thus a better overall physical and mental health, which leads to more social participation and a higher rank in the social sphere (Märtin, 2019).
- Habitus consists of class-specific behaviors, attitudes, and dispositions that are unconsciously learned patterns of behavior.
- Habitus adapts to and is determined by the social environment, but remains unconscious in essential parts.
- Changing one's habitus is difficult but possible.
- There are seven types of capital: economic, knowledge, social, cultural, linguistic, physical, and psychological.
- Individuals with more diverse capital have more opportunities and higher positions in the social hierarchy.
Habitus is both influenced by the social environment in which we exist… …and actively contributes to shaping that very same social space.
The Habitus gets shaped by the social space.
But Habitus is not simply a passive byproduct of our environment; it is a dynamic force that actively contributes to shaping the social space as well. The way in which individuals behave and interact with each other can influence the norms and expectations of the social environment, and in turn, these norms and expectations can shape the Habitus of others.
(Mai, 2023, Märtin, 2019, unirostock, 2019, Kaufmann, 2016)
How does Habitus form?
To keep it short - through life.
But there is more to it. Socialization, individual experiences and active engagement all influence Habitus and it’s formation.
Socialization during childhood and adolescence forms the foundation for our habits. Through family, school, friends, and society, we learn behavioral patterns, attitudes, and values.
🏄🏽♀️ Individual experience
Individual experiences throughout life also influence habitus. Positive experiences can promote development, while negative experiences can lead to a change in habitus.
🏌🏽♀️ Active engagement
Active engagement with oneself and the environment can change and further develop one's habitus. This means that a conscious reflection on one's own behavior and attitudes is necessary to influence the habitus.
The formation of an individual is influenced by a hierarchical order: socialization, individual experiences, and active engagement. During early stages, we rapidly learn and adopt patterns from our socialization agents, such as parents, peers, or teachers. Once these patterns are established, individual experiences continue to shape us, but the core tools are already in place. For instance, when faced with challenging situations, individuals instinctively utilize the tools acquired during socialization without conscious thought.
This inherent hierarchy is the main reason why habitus, despite being dynamic, is resistant to change. Only through active engagement in adopting new tools that automatically guide reactions to the social environment, one can gradually transform their habitus (Mai, 2023; Schwarz, 2019; Märtin, 2019).
The higher the habitus capital in the upbringing family, the more advantages a child has from birth. This can result in a child potentially having a higher social rank in the social space than an adult.
Habitus is not equally developed in all people. Individuals from privileged backgrounds often have more valuable resources and advantages from the beginning compared to children from less wealthy circumstances (Mai, 2023; Schwarz, 2019; Märtin, 2019).
- Habitus is both influenced by and actively contributes to shaping the social environment.
- Habitus is formed through socialization, individual experiences, and active engagement.
- Socialization during childhood and adolescence establishes the foundation of Habitus.
- Individual experiences throughout life can shape and change Habitus.
- Active engagement and conscious reflection are necessary to influence and develop habitus.
- Privileged individuals often have more valuable resources and advantages, leading to a higher Habitus capital from the beginning.
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