Habitus is a system of embodied dispositions, tendencies that organize the ways in which individuals perceive the social world around them and react to it. These dispositions are usually shared by people with similar background (in terms of social class, religion, nationality, ethnicity, education, profession etc.), as the habitus is acquired through mimesis and reflects the lived reality to which individuals are socialized, their individual experience and objective opportunities. Thus, the habitus represents the way group culture and personal history shape the body and the mind, and as a result, shape social action in the present.
Pierre Bourdieu suggested that the habitus consists of both the hexis (the tendency to hold and use one's body in a certain way, such as posture and accent) and more abstract mental habits, schemes of perception, classification, appreciation, feeling, and action. These schemes are not mere habits: Bourdieu suggested they allow individuals to find new solutions to new situations without calculated deliberation, based on their gut feelings and intuitions, which Bourdieu believed were collective and socially shaped. These attitudes, mannerisms, tastes, moral intuitions and habits have influence on the individual's life chances, thus the habitus is both structured by an individuals' objective past position in the social structure; and structuring its future life path. Pierre Bourdieu argued that the reproduction of the social structure results from the habitus of individuals (Bourdieu, 1987).
The notion of habitus is extremely influential (with 400,000 Google Scholar publications using it), yet it also evoked criticism for its alleged determinism, as Bourdieu compared social actors to automata (while relying on Leibniz's theory of Monads)....LESS