Health lifestyles and the search for a concept of a gender-specific habitus

Academic Article


  • © 2017 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. The purpose of this paper is to clarify what is meant by a gender-specific habitus which is a useful theoretical concept for analyzing health-related dispositions on the part of women and men. However, there is very little information on the notion of a generic female or male habitus. Bourdieu, who advanced the concept of habitus more than any other theorist in sociology, mentions a female and male habitus, but provides no definition, details, or descriptions. Consequently, in studies of health dispositions primarily applicable to women or men, there is no clear concept of a habitus specific to either gender available to researchers. In this paper, an ideal-type approach was used to construct male and female models of a gender-specific habitus for comparative purposes. While pure forms of either may not exist in reality nor apply to all men or women, they nevertheless serve as an ideal type to judge variance in the health-related dispositions generated by a gender-specific habitus. They provide a baseline reference for a gendered habitus in the absence to date of any other existing models.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cockerham WC
  • Start Page

  • 142
  • End Page

  • 155
  • Volume

  • 16
  • Issue

  • 2