Aesthetics of Violece: Chapter 2: Ideologically Articulated Aesthetics of Violence

Chapter 2: Ideologically Articulated Aesthetics of Violence

Although one possible interpretation of Bourdieu’s concept of habitus might be taken to imply that these ‘structuring structures’ which give rise to the principles of their own generation as well as to objective social structures and practices, reproduce exactly the previously existing social structures and practices of a society, in fact this is not the case. If it were so, then no society would ever change, yet it is quite apparent that they do – over greater or lesser periods of time, and more or less dramatically. In short, if the habitus were immutable, then so would be the structures and practices they generate, yet this is clearly not the case. This potential misinterpretation of Bourdieu is the result of too static a view of the societies involved. One needs to consider not only the habitus and their corresponding social structures and practices within a given society, but also the relationships between the various habitus and how these affect each other; as well as how they may be affected by the introduction of new or alien habitus into the already existing network of habitus, which will inevitably modify, and itself be modified by that existing network – at least to some extent. The network of habitus which govern the principle of the generation of social practices is therefore dynamic rather than static.

In this chapter, I shall attempt to demonstrate how violence is aestheticised and how the resulting habitus, which I call ‘aesthetics of violence’ are articulated in the Iroquois, Aztec and Yanomamo societies. In the following chapters I shall describe how the habitus which are the result of these processes may be transformed over a period of time, depending on various historical factors, eg. in situations of the interaction of two or more cultures, the effect of the introduction of new ideologies, techniques or inventions, and how these effect transformations in cosmological images which in turn produce further transformations in the material conditions of existence.

First, however, we need to discover in what sense it can be said that violent experiences or practices can be said to be aesthetic experiences; in other words, just exactly how is violence aestheticised? The criteria with which this may be determined can be extrapolated from the previous chapter, in which the phenomenology of the aesthetic experience was analysed: For an object, action or experience to be regarded as aesthetic it must be a conscious, critically-controlled attempt at objective self-expression and the object of contemplative attention. To see whether these criteria can apply to violent experiences, we shall first examine Iroquoian ritual torture and cannibalism, then Aztec human sacrifice, and finally the central importance of (milder forms) of violence to the Yanomamo from the upper reaches of the Amazon.

Iroquoian Torture Rituals in the 17th Century:

Peggy Reeves-Sanday provides us with several descriptions of Iroquoian torture rituals, one of which, due to its completeness, is best suited to our purpose (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 139-143). That the victim in this case was Iroquoian and the torturers Huron need not concern us, as they were in any case culturally similar and traditional enemies.

For want of space, I cannot describe the ritual as completely as does Reeves-Sanday, but a description of some of the more salient details will suffice (see Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 139-143).

When escorted into the village, the prisoner was beautifully dressed in a beaver robe with wampum beads draped around his neck and his head to form a crown, but he was in very poor condition. Both hands had been badly damaged and one arm had a deep cut while both arms were badly burned. After he had commanded him to sing, the chief addressed him, saying:

“My nephew, you have good reason to sing, for no-one is doing you any harm; behold yourself now among your kindred and friends.”

Several days later, after more feasting, and having travelled to another village, the chief again spoke to him, suggesting that at first he had intended that the prisoner should live and take the place of the chief’s lost relative in the tribe, but that due to the prisoner’s extremely poor physical condition he had changed his mind and that it would be a greater kindness that he should die. He encouraged the prisoner not to allow himself to be cast down by fear of the tortures. The captive asked how he was to die, and the chief answered,

“By fire…”

In preparation for his death the captive made his farewell feast, similar to the feast given by any man who thought he was about to die. Before the feast he addressed his captors, saying:

“My brothers, I am going to die; amuse yourselves boldly around me; I fear neither tortures nor death.” Then he and several of his captors sang and danced while food was given to those who had plates and the rest watched.

The torture began that evening in the house of the war chief, where the war councils were held, after the captain, reminding them of the importance of this act, which was viewed by both the Sun and the War God, encouraged them to do their duty. Torture was the work of the young men alone. The older men were seated on a platform which ran the length of the cabin on both sides. About eleven fires had been lit along the length of the cabin, around which the young men were seated. They were so crowded that there was hardly a passage along the fires where the victim was made to walk. The captain had ordered the young men to only burn his legs at first, so that he might hold out until daybreak, and as he marched up and down the length of the hut, this they did, imitating their victim’s shrieks.

From time to time they allowed him to rest and he was given food and water to revive him. As well as being burned, the bones in his body were broken, his ears were pierced with sticks and his wrists were bound with cords. During all this, the captive bore the pain with patience, whilst for their part, instead of anger or rage on the faces of his tormentors, there seemed to be only gentleness and humanity, and their words expressed only raillery or tokens of goodwill.

Just before dawn the victim was taken outside and made to mount a scaffold six or seven feet high and tied to a tree so that he was free to turn around. Three or four torturers mounted the scaffold with him and, displaying the excess of their cruelty to the sight of the Sun, the torture was intensified until, fearing that he would die otherwise than by the knife, one cut off a foot, another one a hand while a third torturer severed his head from his shoulders. The various body parts were distributed among those to whom they had previously been allotted, while the head was given to one of the captains for whom it had been reserved to make a feast with later, and the trunk was feasted upon the same day.

Throughout the proceedings the captive was referred to by his torturers in kinship terms, and he replied to them similarly. This emphasises, as Reeves-Sanday states, that whether a captive was allowed to live and replace a dead warrior, or whether he was to be tortured and eaten, he was incorporated into his captors’ kinship structures at the level of the person he was replacing.

In order to understand this ritual, it is necessary to understand something of the Iroquoian ontology, and in particular, their attitude towards death. Normally, if someone died the bereaved relatives would be given gifts to console them and they did not feel consoled if given nothing. Also, although the body would be buried, this was only a temporary burial. The body would later be disinterred and the remaining flesh cleaned from its bones, which would then be transported to a tribal burial ground for final reinterment during the Feast of the Dead, which took place every eight to ten years or so. The feast of the dead represented the greatest ritual in the Iroquoian calendar, and symbolised the re-introduction of the souls of the deceased into social communication with the souls of the tribal ancestors.

However, the attitude towards those who died a violent death was quite different, as Reeves-Sanday explains:

“A Huron who died a violent death did not receive the normal burial. If the body was brought back at all, his bones were not removed from the grave and reburied at the Feast of the Dead, as the people believed that those who died in war had no communication in the afterlife with other souls. Thus a kinsman killed in war was lost in more ways than one. The normal procedure for handling grief was unavailable and the social being grafted onto the physical individual was permanently lost, with no gifts to compensate for the loss. The solution to this dilemma seems to have been to find someone who could fill the social and emotional gap, as well as the gap in the afterlife occasioned by the death of a warrior.” (1986: 145).

For these reasons, if a notable person had lost a relative in war, it was customary that he be given an enemy captive to “dry his tears” and to assuage his grief. Sometimes the captive would be allowed to live and take the place of the bereaved person’s dead relative, fulfilling all his social duties and obligations as well as the social role formerly occupied by the person he was replacing. Otherwise he would be tortured and eaten. Either way he would be incorporated, physically or socially, into the dead warrior’s tribe at the level of the deceased. Thus, whether or not the captive was allowed to live, the socio-emotional aspects of grief were worked out:

“The torture ritual emulated the social processes of death and burial. The victim gave a farewell feast as was normal for a man about to die. The chief announced a burial feast to which all would be invited, including members of other villages. There is in all this a gruesome twist for it was the victim’s body that provided the feast and the focus for expending the sadistic fury associated with melancholia.” (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 145-146)

The torture victim dies by fire, whilst being referred to, and referring to his tormentors, in kinship terms. He is thus simultaneously “cooked” and socialised before being physically incorporated into his captors’ group upon his subsequent dismemberment and consumption.

But perhaps the most striking feature of this ritual is the victim’s stoic endurance and acceptance of his fate, which is underlined by his refusal to allow any angry or impatient words to escape his lips, even addressing his captors as ‘brothers’ and encouraging them to ‘amuse themselves boldy’. This is reminiscent of Foucault’s description of the execution of the regicide Damiens, who, though a great swearer all his whole life, refused to utter one swear word or curse during his whole torment, enjoining his executioners to do likewise (Foucault, 1977: 3-15). For Damiens this was obviously a symbolic statement of his true repentance in the sight of the God before whom he was about to stand for judgement, and perhaps there is also something of this in the Iroquoian context.

However, the Iroquoian victim’s stoicism also contains different and culturally specific meanings. As Reeves-Sanday quite rightly points out:

“The ferocity of the torture rituals cannot be separated from the severity of conditions during the 17th century, where death from hunger, disease and warfare became a way of life.” (1986: 149).

Under such harsh conditions it is easy to see that the ability to bear great pain, hardship and suffering stoically and without complaint would have been immensely valuable to a people faced with these possibilities as part of their everyday experience. That such a high value was placed on these qualities is further evidenced by the role of the Evil Twin in the Iroquoian Creation Myth, who, after losing a competition to the Good Twin, was persuaded to help people cope with adversity by endowing them with just such qualities (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 131-133).

The ritual was also watched over by the Sun and the War God, hence its importance to both victim and torturers and hence also the necessity for it to be consciously and critically controlled, so the victim could last until daybreak and die ‘by the knife’, rather than being simply an explosion of destructive rage. Only thus could the victim’s death, after proving his courage and endurance, become meaningful in the sight of himself, his enemies and his gods. And it is only after having proven his courage and endurance that he becomes worthy to be physically incorporated into the group of his captors by being eaten by them, in the act of which the captors also incorporated these highly desired masculine traits (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 146).

Through an understanding of these values and how they structure the ritual, we can see how this ritual becomes a vehicle for modes of objective self-expression on the parts of both the victim and his tormentors and that although the meanings expressed in the ritual are different for the respective participants they are nonetheless expressed within the same a-priori affective categories. Moreover, although the meanings expressed in this ritual are different to the respective participants, they are quite readily appreciable and comprehensible to participants on both sides of this ritual, because in a different context, any participant may potentially play the role of either the torturer or the victim.

That such an event has a wealth of meanings (barely touched upon here) which have their origin in a mythologically chartered system of values clearly shows that such rituals, however violent, are nonetheless the aesthetic expression of a congruent social ideology with which they are articulated.

Aztec Human Sacrifice and Cosmology:

The relationships between aestheticised violence, cosmological and mythological (i.e. ideological) representations and social constructions of reality are even more clearly visible in Reeves-Sanday’s analysis of Aztec human sacrifice. Following Carrasco, Reeves-Sanday calls this nexus of relationships ‘cosmo-magical thinking’, and although she does not describe this in terms of habitus, it is nonetheless clear from her analysis that it does function as such. She describes cosmo-magical thinking as:

“…a mode of thinking that projects models for being onto the cosmos and derives from these models guidelines for ritual action and daily living. The perception of the divine programs human behaviour because only the sacred is real; the purely secular is trivial. Cosmo-magical thinking dramatises the cosmogony by constructing on earth a reduced version of the cosmos, usually in the form of a state capital.” (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 174).

Thus cosmological or mythological ideologies were refracted throughout all of the social and political structures of the Aztec and entailed ramifications which manifested themselves even in the structure of the Aztec city and theory of the body, the effects of which served to reinforce both the socio-political structures and the original ideologies.

The Aztec theory of the body was principally concerned with three major ‘life-centres’, or forces, namely tonalli, teyolia, and ihiyotl, which corresponded to the head, the heart, and the liver respectively:

Tonalli is defined in terms of irradiation, solar heat, astrological destiny, soul and spirit, and established a link between man and the divine will. It was infused into the foetus by the creation gods and was maintained during life, principally in the top of the head and forelock, by exposure to the sun; a principal god.

Teyolia, located in the heart, was defined as the giver of life. It was also the entity which “goes beyond” to the world after death, and could be made divine by receiving divine fire. This infusion of divine fire was experienced by rulers and those who excelled in the fields of divination, art and the imagination, but could be damaged by immoral conduct, ailments due to other sources, or sorcerers.

Ihiyotl (breath) was located in the liver and identified as “night air”. Sinners inadvertently emitted harmful ihiyotl but some sorcerers could emit it voluntarily Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 174-175).

Health was maintained by keeping these three forces in balance, as a disturbance in one could affect the other two and they could also be affected by environmental factors. Through these three forces the body was intimately associated with the spirit world: the head was associated with heaven, the heart with the sun, and the liver with the earth. Thus the supernatural was implicated in the Aztec theory of disease, which was seen as a form of attack by supernatural forces (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 175-176).

Because attendance at the temple schools was compulsory and enforced by both law and the fear of supernatural sanctions, and also because tonalli and teyolia were stronger in some individuals than others, (eg. nobles and priests) this ideology of the body functioned as an instrument of social control. This was also implicit in the belief in the capacity of a man to be infused with divine tonalli and teyolia, becoming thereby an hombre-dios or man-god the most exemplary model of which was Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl who was imitated by later Aztec priests.

It was, of course, the priests who communicated the wishes of the gods to the people and regulated the frequency and the manner of human sacrifices, offering life-force to the gods in the form of ‘precious eagle-cactus fruit’ (i.e. the heart of a human sacrificial victim, torn still beating from the living body of the victim), or else in the form of drowned, burned or beheaded victims. The manner of sacrifice was evidently determined by the calendar and the nature of the god to whom it was offered. For example, because the second month’s rites emphasised the two major life-centres associated with the heart and the top of the head,

“The victims were brought to the sacrificial stone ‘by the hair of the top of their heads’ where their hearts were torn out to ‘nourish the sun’. This act kept the sun on its daily course, increased the stature of the captor, and conferred godhood on the captive, assuring him of a place in the house of the sun and the joy of accompanying the morning sun on the first part of its daily journey for a period of four years. There was no feeling of hate or cruelty in sacrificial slaughter and the victim willingly accepted death on the sacrificial stone.” (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 176-177).

Thus bodily symbolism was part of an elaborate schema uniting the divine and the human, which were also united in the symbolism of the city, which represented the divine in spatial terms and dramatised the cosmogony. However, apart from nourishing the gods on life-forces this sacrificial ritual also reiterated in symbolic form the legendary image and charter upon which the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) was founded. (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 177).

When the Aztecs, originally tribes of hunters, gatherers and horticulturalists known as the Chichimecas, first entered the Valley of Mexico, they encountered an already-flourishing culture of warring city-states dominated by the Toltec paradigm, upon which the Aztec grafted their own sacred traditions to found the Aztec empire. The migration had been commanded by their once-human leader Huitzilopochtli, who was deified after his death. He had told his people:

“Verily I shall lead you where you must go. I shall appear in the shape of a white eagle and wherever you go you shall go singing. You shall go only where you see me, and when you come to a place where it shall seem good to me that you stay, there I shall alight (come down) and you shall see me there. Therefore in that place you shall build my temple, my house…. Your first task shall be to beautify the quality of the eagle.” (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 177).

On the shores of the present site of Mexico City they came upon the prophesied tableau: an eagle with a snake in its beak was perched upon a cactus in a pool of white water – the colour of sacrifice – and there they built the first shrine to Huitzilopochtli and founded their capital city, Tenochtitlan.

Because of the need to pacify the warring states and because the ‘quality of the eagle’ which it was their first task to beautify, was warfare (the eagle was associated with the sun – the god of war, and the highest military order of the Aztec was known as the ‘Eagle Knights’), the city of Tenochtitlan was founded on the principle of warfare.

But warfare was intimately associated with human sacrifice, because the captives of war provided the victims for these rituals. The principles of sacrifice were also depicted in the Aztec creation myth, wherein order was created – as indeed was mankind – through the auto-sacrifice of the gods, which alone ensured the continued motion of the sun, and which therefore set an example to be followed by men in their human sacrifices (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 179-181). Moreover:

“Because gods must die in behalf of cosmic motion, the human victims were first made into gods; a destiny that many warriors felt was their just reward for living. The primary purpose of warfare was to acquire victims, whose sacrifice invigorated the cosmos by nourishing the insatiable craving of the sun and the earth for blood and hearts.” (1986: 181).

But if the acquisition of sacrificial victims was the primary purpose of warfare, yet warfare had another, equally important, though secondary effect: the establishment of political boundaries by the designation of certain areas as sources for sacrificial victims (Reeves-Sanday, 1986: 190). It is perhaps for this reason that Topiltzin Quetzalcoatl was deposed and banished when he attempted to impose an anti-sacrificial policy, although later priests attempted to emulate him in every thing but this. (1986: 189).

Thus it can be seen that the Aztec universe was both founded and maintained by the dual principals of warfare and human sacrifice, which principles, due to their function as the principle of the generation of social structures and practices through their articulation of cosmological meanings as well as the manner in which they structure social and ritual relations, function as an habitus, or ‘aesthetic’ of violence, perpetuating both themselves and the social system to which they give rise.

Yanomamo Violence and Social Relations:

Napoleon Chagnon describes the Yanomamo as the “Fierce People” because:

“That is the most accurate single phrase that describes them. That is how they conceive themselves to be, and that is how they would like others to think of them.” (1977:1).

Ferocity and a willingness to use violence and intimidation to achieve their ends are seen by this society as desirable traits. Indeed it would not be overstating the case to say that this willingness to use violence is the single most important value in the Yanomamo value-system, and that it structures every aspect of Yanomamo social practices and relationships. That the Yanomamo themselves see violence as the fundamental principle of their being is also demonstrated in their creation myth, in which men (but not women) are formed from the blood of one of the ‘first beings’, Periboriwa (Spirit of the Moon). Chagnon says:

Because they have their origin in blood, they are fierce and are continuously making war on each other.” (1977: 47-48, original emphasis).

Although Yanomamo warfare proper is the raid, this is only one form of violence in a graded series of aggressive activities, some of which, as Chagnon explains may even be considered the antithesis of war, as they provide opportunities for more or less regulated expressions of hostilities at both the inter-personal and the inter-village levels and represent an alternative to killing (1977: 118). Because the three most innocuous forms of fighting are controlled by strict rules as to how to strike and receive a blow, the contestants can continue to remain on relatively peaceful terns once the contest is settled. A fight may start with a chest-pounding duel for example, and depending on how high tempers are running, may or may not escalate to side-slapping and then to club-fights. If the fight is serious it may escalate to the use of machetes and then axes, but rarely achieves the level of a shooting battle with bows and arrows – the most serious form of Yanomamo aggression other than the nomohoni.

The nomohoni, or ‘treacherous feast’, is the ultimate form of Yanomamo violence, in which either the guests suddenly and without warning set upon their unsuspecting hosts, or vice-versa, although this form of violence is rare. It is largely fear of the possibility of the nomohoni, combined with fear of failure on the part of one’s allies to reciprocate help in warfare, or food, or women, that prevents one group from ever being able to fully trust its allies, and this therefore explains the constantly-shifting nature of Yanomamo alliance patterns.

Village population sizes vary from 40 to 250 inhabitants, with about 75 to 80 being the most usual number. That the size of the village populations is maintained within these limits is itself a function of the state of chronic warfare under which the Yanomamo live. A group of around forty people is the minimum viable size for a village due to the necessity of having at least about fifteen able-bodied men for the purposes of raiding and defence. The upper limit is largely determined by a combination of the intensity of warfare in the area and the level of internal feuding within the village, which after a village reaches a population of about 150 becomes so frequent that peace within the village is only maintained with great difficulty, and unless the intensity of warfare in the area prevents it, fissioning becomes increasingly likely as the only means to keep the peace (Chagnon, 1977: 40).

Because small villages are less viable militarily than larger ones, it is very important to develop alliances with other villages, and these alliances are facilitated by an uneasy process of trading and feasting, with the exchange of women being seen as the final step in the process. Often a strong village will use its own strength and the obvious necessity of a weaker village to form an alliance as an excuse to extort women from the weaker village.

Because of a strong preference to have male children, who will grow up to be hunters and warriors, the Yanomamo practice a significantly larger proportion of female infanticide than male infanticide, with the demographic result that there is a shortage of females; and this shortage is intensified by the practice of polygyny because the available women are unequally distributed. This shortage of women leads to high levels of internal violence within the village, as most fighting is the result of adultery, especially in larger villages where men feel there is a greater chance of getting away with it. However most cases of adultery are discovered and this is the ultimate cause of village fissioning (Chagnon, 1977: 75).

Warfare between villages usually takes the form of raiding and whatever the ostensible reason for the raid, the abduction of women is always seen as a desirable, if secondary goal. While Chagnon says that few raids are initiated solely with the intention of capturing women, and that the usual causes of new hostilities are sorcery, murders, club-fights over women in which someone is badly hurt or killed, or occasionally food theft involving related villages, he also says that the Yanomamo themselves regard fights over women as the primary cause of their wars (1977: 123).

Chagnon says that when he tried to explain to certain Yanomamo his ongoing disagreement with Marvin Harris over the relevance of protein abundance in the genesis of warfare, they laughed and said:

“Even though we like meat, we like women a whole lot more!” (1977: 145-146).

It is ironic indeed that the Yanomamo’s masculinist ideology (which bears a remarkable resemblance to that prevalent in Ancient Greece and indeed, the Ancient World in general), with its preference for male children, leads to the shortage of women which in turn leads to much, if not most Yanomamo violence, both internal and external, and that it is this high level of violence which makes such a masculinist ideology so necessary to survival. Children are socialised into violent or aggressive behaviour very early in their lives. They are encouraged to be “fierce” and are rarely punished for displays of aggression. In fact, they are often rewarded by the laughter and assent of their parents when, in response to a flash of anger, they strike someone with a hand or an object.

It is essential for Yanomamo males to develop a reputation for ferocity, both individually and as villages, for it is strength and ferocity which gives them bargaining power in the formation of alliances and which alone prevents them from being taken advantage of, as the weak are quite consciously and deliberately coerced and manipulated by the strong. Acquiring a reputation for ferocity, then, is the only way in which Yanomamo males may ever achieve a measure of peace, however small. There are strong pressures on both individuals and groups to avenge themselves for any wrongs done either to themselves or to close kinsmen, due to the necessity of maintaining a reputation for ferocity. Anyone suspected of cowardice is liable to be treated with contempt even by their own kin, and is likely to lose their support as well as that of their allies, thereby placing them in a very vulnerable position. Thus the necessity for maintaining one’s reputation for ferocity is perpetuated at the same time as is the violence which demands such a reputation.

Many men habitually beat their wives in order to demonstrate their ferocity and their willingness to use violence in a relatively easy and safe manner, though unless this wife-beating becomes extreme, it is often seen by the women as a sign of a husband’s concern. This wife-beating may also have some impact on marriage strategies, although the disposition of women is ultimately in the hands of local male kinship groups. This is because women rely on their brothers for protection if their husbands become too violent towards them. They therefore do not relish the prospect of being married into a distant village where they would have no-one to protect them.

Chronic warfare and the consequent necessity for inter-village alliances also affect marriage patterns. Because the Yanomamo have a ‘prescriptive’ marriage system which enjoins a man to marry a woman from a certain, specified kinship group (i.e. cross-cousin marriage), this means that the exchange of females between two hitherto unrelated villages in order to stabilise an alliance involves a technical breach of the prescriptive marriage rules. This ‘problem’, however, is overcome by the practice of the headmen of the villages entering into an alliance for the first time calling each other by the kinship term shoriwa (brother-in-law). Initial exchanges of women between the two villages usually involve the children of these men. They therefore stand in a marriageable relationship to each other because the children of brothers-in-law can, by the prescriptive definitions, marry (Chagnon, 1977: 81, footnote 18). Thus this potential problem is overcome by the creation of a fictive kinship between headmen, which inevitably structures subsequent, actual kinship relationships between the villages involved.

We have seen that for the Yanomamo, violence affects every aspect of their lives and social relationships, at both inter-personal and inter-group levels, from marital behaviour and child-rearing practices through demographic patterns to political structures and alliances. Even feasting and trading have their basis in the formation and maintenance of alliances, without which no group could long survive in such an atmosphere, or better, a habitus or an ‘aesthetic’ of violence.


Although each of the ethnographies examined in this chapter contains much more data than I have been able to present here, I hope to have shown how violence is aestheticised, ultimately through its articulation with meaningful systems of values which have their charter in cosmologies and mythologies (surely themselves aesthetic objects!) which represent therefore, the ideological articulation of sensual or emotional (a-prior) pre-dispositions which ultimately emerge from a society’s – or an individual’s relationship with the perceptual reality which surrounds them.

From this it should be evident that changes in the external environment of any given society will inevitably effect corresponding changes in the attitudes (or dispositions) of that society towards its perceptual reality. In other words, changes in the external or objective environment will inevitably cause corresponding changes in the habitus which form the principle of the generation of social structures and practices of that society, and consequently cause changes in the nature of that society itself. We shall examine exactly how this happens in the next chapter.


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