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Foundations Of Anthropology Essay

2391 words - 10 pages

Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu is a well known French sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher whose work has greatly influenced the people of his time and still continues to do so today. He worked during the 1970s and 1980s studying and analyzing the idea of power within a comprehensive “theory of society”. With many years of conducting his own research, he came up with a theory of his own to identify individuals and their relationship with society and their status with power. Bourdieu sought to connect his theoretical ideas with his own life experiences to best relate his work with people of society in his time. While doing so, he managed to create a different set of key concepts ...view middle of the document...

Continuing his success as an academic writer and social theorist, he later wrote and published his second book Outline of a Theory of Practice in the year of 1977 which had a great amount of influence on his readers.
Throughout his lifetime, much of Pierre Bourdieu’s work was influenced by his knowledge of traditional sociology and anthropology which he used to create theories of his own. He was also highly influenced by a great number of other sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers and their work such as Max Weber, Karl Marx, Marcel Mauss, and Emile Durkheim to name a few. With all the influence they had on him and his own knowledge and experience, he too made a name for himself and also became an important public intellectual. Bourdieu’s work was mostly concerned with analyzing power in social development and social change and how it is transferred and maintained within each generation. Bourdieu tried to argue that “power is culturally and symbolically created, and constantly legitimized through an interplay of angency and structure” (powercube website). Everyone in society has their own set of cultures that is assembled by the process of what they “do” or practice in their everyday life. This idea of “praxis” is how we each engage in the social world; the social world in which we are born into and in which we operate in everyday life is already structured. what puts people together or sets them apart and is found to be the basis of social relations. Although his ideas were similar to Foucault, Foucault saw power differently and his theory instead viewed individuals and their interrelationship as being determined by discourses of power.
Habitus is one of Bourdieu’s important key concepts and is considered to be one of his greatest contributions to the field of sociology. This sociological concept has been used for many years and considered to be thought of as very useful. Although Bourdieu was highly influenced by the work of other sociologists and their idea of this theory, Bourdieu developed the idea of habitus into his own that actually resulted in being better developed than the others. Bourdieu defines habitus as a “system of acquired dispositions functioning on the practical level as categories of perception and assessment or as classificatory principles as well as being the organizing principles of action” ( ). Habitus is the way that people view the world and act in society based on events in their life that they experience and what they may encounter in their society. He explains that the culture and society each of us live in affects us deeply and plays a major role in defining who we are and we have no control over this affect. The way that we look at the world and interpret it to be is greatly affected by the society and culture we live in and are a part of. Each individual’s culture is unique and different to that of other’s and is based on our class, gender, race, and religion amongst other views....

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