AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 8, Number 1. February 2024 Pp.5-14

Habitus Entrapment: The Constrictive, Deterministic Habitus of Peter the Venerable

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies
The University of Leeds, Leeds, England, United Kingdom

School of Language, Culture, Music and Visual Culture
The University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom

Corresponding Author: m.t.sanchez@abdn.ac.uk


Habitus, as a concept, has been criticized for being constrictive and deterministic since Pierre Bourdieu first introduced it in 1967. Bourdieu transformed this term into a central concept in social theory, wherein the term refers to a collective entity in which predominant social and cultural conditions within a given society are entrenched and replicated. Habitus, consequently, guides agents/individuals in the way they respond, and it also informs their practices in their actual environments. Thus, Bourdieu’s notion of habitus interplays the agent who is bound to a collective social structure with the agent who is free to act. But when can habitus be constrictive and deterministic? This study aims to answer this question. The study shows that when there is a complete and harmonious correlation between habitus and field, habitus becomes constrictive and deterministic. Peter the Venerable’s translation project, The Toledo Collection, is a manifestation of such a conditioning relationship between habitus and field, under which habitus drove the reinforcement of the prevailing sentiments of the dominant institutions of the era, through the influence of translation choices


Cite as:

Elgindy, A. & Sanchez, M.T. (2024). Habitus Entrapment: The Constrictive, Deterministic Habitus of Peter the Venerable. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 8 (1): 14.


Ames, C. C. (2015). Medieval Heresies: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bishko, C. (1956). Peter the Venerable’s Journey to Spain. In: Studia Anselmiana vol. 40 (1956) p. 152-175.

Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice (R. Nice, Trans.). Cambridge: Cambridge

Bourdieu, P. (1990). The Logic of Practice (R. Nice, Trans.). Cambridge: Polity Press.

Bourdieu, P. (2000). Pascalian Meditations. Cambridge: Polity.

Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L.J. (1992). An invitation to reflexive sociology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Catholic Encyclopaedia (n.d.). Available at https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10525b.htm

Crossley, N. (2001). The Phenomenological Habitus and Its Construction. Theory and Society, 30(1), 81–120. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/658063.

Elgindy, A. (2013). Translation and the Construction of the Religious Other: A Sociological Approach to English Translations of Islamic Political Discourse, (Unpublished Doctoral dissertation). Salford University, Salford.

Fournet, P.A. (1911). Blessed Peter of Montboissier. In The Catholic Encyclopedia (pp. 525-526). New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Goddard, H. (2000). A history of Muslim-Christian relation. Chicago: New Amsterdam Books.

Haskins, C (1924). Studies In The History of Mediaeval Science. Cambridge: Cambridge Press.

Herbermann, C. (ed.). (1913). Religious Profession. Catholic Encyclopaedia. New York: Robert Appleton. Available at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12451b.htm.

Kesselman, C. (2008). Peter’s yellow brick road to veneration. Available at http://spot.colorado.edu

Kritzeck, J. (1964). Peter the Venerable and Islam. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Lewis, B. (1993). Islam and the West. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Negru, C. (2018). A History of the Apocalypse. NC. Available at Lulu.com.

Swartz, D. (2002). The sociology of habit: the perspective of Pierre Bourdieu. The Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 22(1), 61S-69S, DOI: 10.1177/15394492020220S108

Tolan, J. V. (2008). Sons of Ishmael: Muslims through European Eyes in the Middle Ages. Gainesville, FL. Florida University Press.

Wacquant, L. (2004). Following Pierre Bourdieu into the field. Ethnography5(4), 387–414. https://doi.org/10.1177/1466138104052259.

Wacquant, L. (2006). Body & soul: notebooks of an apprentice boxer. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wacquant, L. (2016). A concise genealogy and anatomy of habitus. The Sociological Review, 64(1), 64–72.

Wolfreys, J. (2000). In perspective: Pierre Bourdieu.URL: Jim Wolfreys: In perspective – Pierre Bourdieu (Summer 2000) (marxists.org).

Yang, Y. (2014) Bourdieu, Practice and Change: Beyond the criticism of determinism. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 46(14), 1522-1540,

DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2013.839375.


Dr. Ahmed Elgindy is a Lecturer of Arabic Language & Translation Studies at the Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies (AIMES) Department in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies at the University of Leeds. He holds a PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Salford, UK. His research interest relates to the application of Bourdieu’s sociological concepts in translation. He is also interested in the role/influence of translation and translation activity during different eras of Islamic history.https://orcid.org/0009-0001-5865-2592

Dr. Maria T Sanchez is a Senior Lecturer in Translation and Interpreting Studies in the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture (LLMVC) at the University of Aberdeen. She holds a PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Bradford, UK. Her research interests, and publications, fall in the areas of Translation Studies; Literary Translation; Interpreting Studies; Audio-visual Translation and Translator and Interpreter Training.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1751-1144