‘Habitus’ has become an important term of theoretical reference for the sociological study of religion, as a concept indicating agents’ embodied dispositions, linking social structure to individual agency. Most often referenced to the work of Pierre Bourdieu, many of the uses to which the term are put in the sociology of religion are incompatible with the development of the notion in Bourdieu’s own work. Bourdieu did not invent the term, and many of the uses of habitus in the sociology of religion have a greater affinity with earlier traditions, including those from which Bourdieu appropriated and reframed the term.

Habitus enters the stream of social thought with the Latin translations of Aristotle’s notion of ‘hexis’. In the Nicomachean Ethics, hexis/habitus refers to the virtuous character that ...

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