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Mind the Gap: Toward a Political History of Habit

Mind the Gap: Toward a Political History of Habit Tony BenneTT Mind the Gap Toward a Political History of Habit Habit has become a lively topic of debate across a range of contemporary fields of inquiry: in affect theory, sociological accounts of reflexivity, the neurosciences, cultural geography, actor network theory, aesthetics and philosophy. This has paralleled its increasing prominence as a matter of practical concern in debates focused on the need for new and/or transformed habits in relation to racism, waste management, climate change, the routes and routines of urban life, and so on. In this paper I bring these two concerns together by examining the ways in which authorities of various kinds (philosophical, sociological, psychological, neurological, biological, and aesthetic) have constituted habit as their points of entry into the management of conduct.1 I shall be particularly concerned with the ways in which varied strategies of intervention into the "conduct of conduct" developed since the mid-nineteenth century have posited a gap or interval in which the force of acquired or inherited habits is temporarily halted. It is this gap that opens up the possibility of re-shaping habits by providing scope for practices of freedom and self-determination that escape the constraints of habit, understood as a form of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Mind the Gap: Toward a Political History of Habit

The Comparatist , Volume 40 – Nov 11, 2016

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887
Publisher site
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Abstract

Tony BenneTT Mind the Gap Toward a Political History of Habit Habit has become a lively topic of debate across a range of contemporary fields of inquiry: in affect theory, sociological accounts of reflexivity, the neurosciences, cultural geography, actor network theory, aesthetics and philosophy. This has paralleled its increasing prominence as a matter of practical concern in debates focused on the need for new and/or transformed habits in relation to racism, waste management, climate change, the routes and routines of urban life, and so on. In this paper I bring these two concerns together by examining the ways in which authorities of various kinds (philosophical, sociological, psychological, neurological, biological, and aesthetic) have constituted habit as their points of entry into the management of conduct.1 I shall be particularly concerned with the ways in which varied strategies of intervention into the "conduct of conduct" developed since the mid-nineteenth century have posited a gap or interval in which the force of acquired or inherited habits is temporarily halted. It is this gap that opens up the possibility of re-shaping habits by providing scope for practices of freedom and self-determination that escape the constraints of habit, understood as a form of

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 11, 2016

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