Conscientisation and Radical Habitus: Expanding Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice in Youth Activism Studies

Alexander, Nita, Petray, Theresa, and McDowall, Ailie (2022) Conscientisation and Radical Habitus: Expanding Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice in Youth Activism Studies. Youth, 2 (3). pp. 295-308.

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Bourdieu’s theory of practice is a useful tool to understand people’s everyday behaviours, dispositions and habits. However, this theory struggles to explain how some people diverge from the social norms that structure their habitus. This article proposes an extension of Bourdieu’s theory of practice by incorporating Freire’s conscientisation, that is, a theory of how individuals develop a critically conscious awareness through engagement with the world around them. Here, we use young people’s engagement in activism as a case study to show how these two theories can work together. We analysed previous youth activism research articles to explore how the theory of practice and conscientisation can explain the representations made of young people’s activism. Combining the two theories allows an explanation of how and why the young people in the studies that we reviewed took pathways of alternative actions from within their habitus. We argue that by adding Freire’s conscientisation to Bourdieu’s theory of practice, young people’s activism can be understood as the development of a generational radical habitus.

Item ID: 76949
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2673-995X
Copyright Information: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2022 00:13
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441004 Social change @ 60%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441005 Social theory @ 30%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441015 Sociology of the life course @ 10%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280123 Expanding knowledge in human society @ 100%
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