Habit and Affect: Revitalizing a Forgotten History

Blackman, Lisa. 2013. Habit and Affect: Revitalizing a Forgotten History. Body & Society, 19(2&3), pp. 186-216. ISSN 1357-034X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Habit is an integral concept for body studies, a hybrid concept and one that has
provided the bedrock across the humanities for considering the interrelationships
between movement and stasis, being and becoming, and process and fixity. Habits
are seen to provide relay points between what is taken to be inside and outside,
disrupting any clear and distinct boundary between nature and culture, self and
other, the psychological and social, and even mind and matter. Habit thus discloses
a paradox. It takes up a unique position in affect modulation, which encompasses
both regulation (in the form of discipline) and also extends the body’s potential for
engaging the new, change and creativity. In order to understand the basis of the
ambivalent duality governing understandings of habit it is argued that a genealogical
approach to this question is necessary. This will be located within the recent ‘turn
to affect’ and histories of conation within the psychological sciences, particularly
taking the writings of William McDougall as a focus.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


June 2013Published

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Date Deposited:

17 Apr 2015 06:49

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:10

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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