All our research is curated and peer-reviewed giving you access to an unmatched library of information all in one place.

Homines in Extremis: What Fighting Scholars Teach Us about Habitus

I use the collection of “carnal ethnographies” of martial arts and combat sports assembled by Raul Sanchez and Dale Spencer under the title Fighting Scholars to spotlight the fruitfulness of deploying habitus as both empirical object (explanandum) and method of inquiry (modus cognitionis). The incarnate study of incarnation supports five propositions that clear up tenacious misconceptions about habitus and bolster Bourdieu’s dispositional theory of action: (1) far from being a “black box,” habitus is fully amenable to empirical inquiry; (2) the distinction between primary (generic) and secondary (specific) habitus enables us to capture the malleability of dispositions; (3) habitus is composed of cognitive, conative and affective elements: categories, skills, and desires; (4) habitus allows us to turn carnality from problem to resource for the production of sociological knowledge; and (5) thus to realize that all social agents are, like martial artists, suffering beings collectively engaged in embodied activities staged inside circles of shared commitments.