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The Explanation of Social Action$
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John Levi Martin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199773312

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199773312.001.0001

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Valence and Habit

Valence and Habit

(p.239) Chapter 7 Valence and Habit
The Explanation of Social Action

John Levi Martin

Oxford University Press

This chapter follows the derivation of field theory in the social sciences from two starting points, first, the Gestalt psychology discussed in Chapter 5, and second, analyses of coordinated striving. These two approaches reached towards each other as each formulated some sort of orienting characteristic of the environment (whether called “valence” or “value”) that was available for actors and led to the global patterning of actions. This implied an attention to habit as the processes whereby actors equip themselves to make use of these features of the environment—just as our exploration of vision reminded us that we learn to see, so our exploration of habit reminds us that we need to learn to sense the appropriatenesses that allow for skilful action.

Keywords:   value, habit, habitus, field theory, Lewin, affordance

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