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Technologies of the Self: Habitus and Capacities.

By Ian Burkitt


NoThis paper analyses Foucault's notion of technologies of the self, but does so through a non-Foucauldian style of analysis. It traces the use of the term technology back to the works of Aristotle and elaborates upon this definition. Here, technology is seen to be central not only in the production of works, but also in the production of selves. This idea is then developed through the work of other thinkers who have a similar technological view of the production of the self, particularly Marcel Mauss and John Dewey. Another important element emerges from their works, which is the production of self through the technology of habit or habitus. It is argued that habitus is not a socially determinate concept, because it allows for the development of both practical and critical reason, both of which permit the agent some freedom in their activities. However, it is possible to use the connotation of habitus with routine to understand something of the nature of social power. The concept of capacity is also introduced to extend the self-reflexive and knowing aspect of habitus, showing how this is an essential feature of the agential self. However, it is argued that although the development of practical and critical reason allows for reflexivity, the self is always grounded in technologies of the body and self, which constitute the aspect of the self reflected upon. Reflexivity, then, is a secondary and partial aspect of the self

Topics: Reflexivity, Body, Capacity, Habit, Dewey (J.), Mauss (M.), Achievement, Self, Technology, Foucault (M.)
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1111/1468-5914.00184
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Bradford Scholars
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