(Un)Fixing habitus: affective transactions and the becoming body

Jonathan G. Heaney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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How might emotional life be best explained and accounted for in sociological theory? How is it that phenomena that seem so subjectively fleeting, and fundamentally individual nevertheless display remarkable relationality and regularity? Recent work in sociology and the social sciences attempts to address such questions from a variety of conflicting perspectives, some of which foregrounds the ‘affective’ and ‘cultural’, over and against the ‘emotional’, ‘interactive’ and ‘structural’, while others still aim more towards synthesis and integration. This paper attempts to theoretically account for the constitution of emotional life from a primarily dispositional perspective, via a reframed conceptualization of the habitus, refracted through the sociology of affect and emotion, and grounded on a dynamic, process ontology. This process-relational approach is related to some recent work from the ‘process world view’ and here we specifically focus on the work of A.N. Whitehead. The key notion of ‘affective transactions’, derived from the late work of Bourdieu, is reframed within this processual perspective, and related to the dynamics of emotion and power. The paper suggests that the individual body, engaged in a process of relational becoming, is constituted and re-constituted via ongoing and iterative transactions with the environment, giving rise to patterns in emotional practice.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Early online date06 Jul 2023
Publication statusEarly online date - 06 Jul 2023


  • Affect
  • emotion
  • habitus
  • power
  • process ontology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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