The word ‘habitus’ is derived from the Latin word ‘habeo−’, which means ‘to have’ or ‘maintain’. In contemporary social theories and research, the concept of habitus is predominantly attributed to the late French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s work in which he focuses on understanding human practice in the lived world. The purpose of this entry is to give an overview of the definition of Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, its relation to other theoretical tools such as field and capital, and to highlight a few key examples that represent some of the strengths and challenges of trying to understand practice through habitus in educational research.

In one of Bourdieu’s earliest works as a sociologist, he researched the effect of the French-Algerian war (1952–1962), colonialism, and uprooting on ...

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