Habitus and cognitive praxis among environmentalists
Research on social movements has looked primarily at activists involved in campaigns. Since the environmental movement has
maintained that the everyday lifestyle of the citizen is part of the issue and part of the solution, we would do well to examine
also these practices and what generates them. Using tools from Bourdieu's reflexive sociology, this study employs a method
of analytic ethnography to consider how existing environmental "logic of practice" is informed by habitus. A logic
of practice is the 'feel' for living (sens pratique) generated by internalized dispositions (habitus) and the social field.
Another approach to explaining the operations of social movements, particularly for members, is that of "cognitive praxis."
In this formulation by Eyerman and Jamison, social movements create new knowledge systems.
This research assesses the environmental habitus of environmentally active persons in a region. It finds a number of
common dispositions, which are described as research themes. They tried to live environmentally-responsibly, but were aware
of contradictions. The marginality of environmental activity, being different than the dominant ways of being in contemporary
society, lead to self awareness. Thus, an environmental habitus could be said to include reflexivity, which appears to contradict
the "pre-logical" description of the habitus. The research generated a model that links the sens pratique and cognitive
praxis. Until the movement's core intentions, that of routinizing environmental sensitivity, is accomplished, reflexivity
will be a core part of environmentally active persons practical logic.
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