The Greek term hexis was translated into the Latin word habitus. Hexis, habitus or disposition is a general term for a person’s readiness to act in a certain way. It finds expression in acts of particular virtues or vices like honesty, generosity, cheerfulness, jealousy or cruelty.

The concept of habitus was introduced into anthropology by Marcel Mauss (1973) in his study, dating from 1934, of techniques of the body, to refer to the repertoire of culturally patterned postures and gestures to be found in any particular society. Habitus in Bourdieu’s theory of practice could be described as a pattern of thought-feeling. However, for Bourdieu, habitus exists only as it is instantiated in the activity itself. In other words, the habitus is not expressed in practice, it subsists in it. The purpose of Bourdieu’s placing of habitus at the centre of his theoretical project is to demolish the oppositions between mind and world and between knowledge and practice (Ingold, 2000).


Ingold, T. (2000) The Perception of the environment: essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill. London, UK: Routledge.

Malikail, J. (2003) ‘Moral character: hexis, habitus and “habit”’, Minerva: An Internet Journal of Philosophy, 7. Available at: (Accessed: 24 February 2015).

Mauss, M. (1973) Techniques of the body, Economy and Society, 2(1), pp. 70–88. doi: 10.1080/03085147300000003.