Pierre Bourdieu and non-habitual decisions

Robert Charles Templeton


Bourdieu’s theory of decision making is based on habitual and immediate decisions which are reflexive and reactive and which rely on dispositions and various forms of capital relative to a particular field. However, there are a number of decisions that are not reactive and immediate but are developed over time because of the enduring nature of the decision to the decision maker. Using empirical research data collected for a doctoral thesis, the factors of this habitual and immediate style of decision-making are explored relative to non-habitual decision-making. This poses the research question of whether the same factors as postulated by Bourdieu can be applied in decisions made over a period of time, specifically postgraduate student withdrawal from doctoral programs. The research is methodologically qualitative with empirical ethnographic data from a conversational style interview, in addition to autoethnographic data.


Pierre Bourdieu, decision-making, empirical research, self-determination theory, habitus, capital, field

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