The American sociologist C. Wright Mills encapsulated the sociological imagination as demanding recognition simultaneously of the complex, multiple interweaving of the personal/biographical, the social/structural and the historical/temporal—in a sense, individual biography in social structure through time. This is the recursive interplay of agency and structure over or though time, recognizing always, after Raymond Williams, the admixture of the residual evanescence of the past, dominant cultural forms of the present (hegemony in Gramsci’s terms) and the emergent or immanent. Pierre Bourdieu, the late French sociologist, in his own brief life narrative, states assertively “this is not an autobiography,” but rather a “socioanalysis.” In speaking of socioanalysis instead of autobiography, Bourdieu is objectifying or objectivating, to use a term he coined to refer to a necessary step in research, his own habitus and practices, and understanding them as temporal constructions derived from habitus as an effect of structure and history. Habitus, field, capitals and practices are Bourdieu’s thinking tools that he developed to attempt to reject both structuralism (objective structures capable of constraining practices) and constructivism (creation of schemes of thought, perception and practices and of the fields that make up social structure) as meta-accounts of human practices and to account for the reproduction of inequality, while not being economically deterministic. For Bourdieu and for my account here, “The socialized body (what is called the individual or the person) is not opposed to society: it is one of its forms of existence” (1993, p. 15).
Of course, habitus is gendered and framed by the overarching social field of power and cut across by the field of gender, or the “gender order” in Connell’s (1987) framework...