Pierre Bourdieu was a French social theorist that talked about habitus and bodily hexis. Habitus is a way of thinking, being, and knowing in an individual person. When we think about our behavior we do not always realize where we learned certain perceptions and attitudes. We might think that it is just the way we are, but in reality society imposes these things on us. We are all socialized to fit in to a certain structure, and we also reproduce and share our disposition with others. Our actions become a routine and are consistent with the social norms of the group we are interacting with. This makes our way of thinking hard to change. We also take what we learn and use it to our advantage to try and get as much power and success as possible. Bodily hexis explains why our disposition is so hard to change. It is a physical and mental memory that we use to know how to respond and act when certain things happen.
I thought that these concepts were interesting because we all have individual ideas, but they are learned from outside sources. Our ideas are shaped based on the group that we are trying to interact with. What I wanted to do was try and think about how someone might act if they did not know anything about society. One example that came to mind was the Terminator movies. In these movies Arnold Schwarzenegger is a robot that was sent to the past to either hunt down and kill Sarah Connor (Terminator 1) or protect her son John (Terminator 2). As the terminator goes about his business he is sometimes put in to social situations where he does not act like a normal person would. It makes me think of the example from class where two guys are walking past each other and one guy says “Hi how are you?” and then the other punches him in the face. Since the terminator is a robot it can only think “logically” and has a hard time picking up on social norms and how to act around people.
There are many examples of this but there are two that stick out in my mind. The first is from Terminator 2. When traveling back in time you cannot bring anything with you, not even clothes. The terminator ends up at a biker bar naked and you can tell that everyone is looking at him funny. You can see some of the women check him out, and other people stare at him with a confused look on their face. He then demands the clothes, boots and motorcycle from a biker. This starts a bar brawl, but he ends up getting what he wanted at the end.
-The video gets violent about a minute and a half in-
The second example is from the first Terminator movie. The terminator is sitting in a room loading his guns, when the janitor knocks on the door and asks him if there is a dead cat in the room. Not knowing how to respond, a list of phrases he heard people use scrolls down and he eventually chooses to say f*** you a** hole. The janitor looks confused and just walks away. The terminator then walks out of the room holding a big gun and scares the people in the hallway.
-Don't watch if you don't want to hear him swear-
These examples show just how important habitus really is. While the terminator doesn’t have to worry about things like embarrassment and pain the rest of us do. Without learning how to interact with different groups the terminator did not know what to do. I doubt there are many people that would walk in to a biker bar naked and start demanding things from the bikers. We know that the people in that group would probably not like that and end up hurting us. We also know that swearing and carrying large guns in public makes people more cautious about you. It is just not the way that people want to interact with someone. As time went on the terminator eventually learned how to better interact with people to get what he wanted, and that further proves how habitus helps you get what you want.