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Bourdieu Pascalian Meditations Notes

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This is an extract of our Bourdieu Pascalian Meditations document, which we sell as part of our Sociological Theory Notes collection written by the top tier of University Of Oxford students.

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Pierre Bourdieu - Pascalian Meditations Chapter Four: Bodily Knowledge
* Objective definition seems particularly scandalous when applied to the scholastic world - to people who seem themselves as qualified to explain rather than be explained
* to move out of this problem we need to take on Pascal's words: 'By space the universe comprehends and swallows me up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world.'
# i.e. because I have a place in the material world and social structures I am able to comprehend the world
* BUT we cannot comprehend this practical comprehension without exploring what distinguishes it from theoretical comprehension and what are the conditions of both
* here the 'I' that comprehends the physical/social world isn't the subject as in philosophy, but a habitus, a system of dispositions
* it occupies a position in the physical/social world Analysis situs
* Biological individuals are situated in a physical and social space - not placeless or in numerous different spaces
* the ideal of the separate individual is given to us by the familiar idea of man as a living being among others, yada yada
# but this is naive spontaneous materialism
* the mentalist picture is inseparable from Cartesian dualism
* but the model of the isolated, distinguished body, which is reinforced by the legal definition of the individual, is also a principle of collectivization
# being open to the world implies conditioning and socialization - individuation is the product of fashioning by social relations The social space
* Social agents are situated in social space in the same way as physical objects are situated in physical space
* social space is made up of a distinct set of positions
* the relations of social space reflect the relations of physical space - high/low, left/right etc
# e.g. he who has no place - a vagrant - lacks social existence Comprehension
* The world is comprehensible because the body has the capacity to be present to what goes on outside it; is exposed to its regularities
* given this, the body can anticipate the regularities in behaviours which engage a corporeal knowledge of practical comprehension
# this is distinct from intentional decoding
# this knowledge comes from the experience of frequently encountered situations
* We need to move beyond mentalism and intellectualism, which see the practical relation to the world as a perception
* we need to reclaim from idealism the active side of practical knowledge
# the habitus can do this - it restores to the agent a generating, unifying, constructing, classifying power, whilst recognizing that the capacity to construct

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