Valence and Habit

John Levi Martin

in The Explanation of Social Action

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199773312
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199897223 | DOI:
Valence and Habit

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This chapter follows the derivation of field theory in the social sciences from two starting points, first, the Gestalt psychology discussed in Chapter 5, and second, analyses of coordinated striving. These two approaches reached towards each other as each formulated some sort of orienting characteristic of the environment (whether called “valence” or “value”) that was available for actors and led to the global patterning of actions. This implied an attention to habit as the processes whereby actors equip themselves to make use of these features of the environment—just as our exploration of vision reminded us that we learn to see, so our exploration of habit reminds us that we need to learn to sense the appropriatenesses that allow for skilful action.

Keywords: value; habit; habitus; field theory; Lewin; affordance

Chapter.  14453 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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