At this early stage, I am very interested in the habitus [Pierre Bourdieu] and how family/education/friends/media, play a substantial part in forging the way an individual acts, communicates, comprehends, and perceives, as well as influencing his/her tastes. As such it works in a doxic way (implicit and overlooked) to grant and maintain concomitant power within different communities within society, resulting in the stratification (or oppression?) of actors (individuals and/or groups). This penetrates and permeates through all levels of societies/communities. At this point my interest lies in an idea that this leads us (actors) to behave in a passive manner, obeying the implicit (and explicit) laws that have been passed on to us as if in a veritable game. The habitus is a construct, and as such controls our behaviour. Could it be something completely other? But what would that lead us to? Other, more progressive modes of living?  Or the opposite; anarchy? I feel this is particularly relevant and interesting in that this already appears to be happening in Hackney Wick. It seems to be the no-man’s land, or ‘edgeland’ (Ian Sinclair) that London (and capitalism/commercialism) forgot.

Secondly, I am interested in how the habitus directly influences how we understand the environment in relation to the three ecologies and ecosophy [Guattari]. This is to say that if you take the habitus at its word, it directly controls what we expect/want/need from life (mind). For example, it directly influences an individual’s need to have a detached sub-urban house, with two cars, a min/max temperature to feel comfortable in, a certain number of lights, a TV in every room etc. It also affects our social relations with others. Looked at another way, it could be said to be the root of reluctance to change our behaviour despite the need to revolutionise the way we live in order to protect the environment we live in? Guattari stated that we are being led by the media to become a homogenous (of sorts) society and decried our belief that technology will solve our environmental problem without any need to change our way of living. The habitus goes some way to explaining why we believe this to be the case, but also suggests that the problem is much deeper than simply the advances in media.

The third code I am interested in is the notion of success. Through the habitus, we are each aware (to varying degrees) of the need for success. This may or may not correlate with class (more reading required). I believe that this is through accumulation of capital. Contrary to popular belief though, I believe that accumulation of symbolic capital is as fundamental if not more important than economic capital. This symbolic capital can be through things as superficial as clothes, looks, or even what car somebody drives; but can be job title, knowledge, sense of humour, skill etc. The function of the struggle for economic and social capital (essentially a form of status [Max Weber]) is twofold; it stratifies society and implicitly promotes competition. This may be a basic human need (more reading needed), but it sets up an x versus y scenario, and relies on growth. The environment (earth) consists of finite resources and cannot compete for itself. As thus the endeavour for capital will always leave the environment on the losing side. Can the habitus be utilised to manipulate a new way of living that is sustainable; one that sees an ecosophical way of living, or is any form of manipulation an oppressive act? This way of thinking exposes any form of architecture to be deeply political; concerned with how we can/should live on this earth.

These are the three codes I am most interested in, and are very broad. I need to be more specific about how these codes are applied in everyday life and subsequently how they might be addressed. Other codes I am interested in are happiness/joy and fear/apprehension; in how they manifest and they’re repercussions.

What a ramble. To be more re-defined and improved later…


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