from 28 March 2013

Who has written about hysteresis and sociology? Certainly path dependence is a part of the sociological tool kit and maybe this subsumes hysteresis. But worth
an investigation?

Jon Elster has a review of Georgescu-Roegen's The Entropy Law and the Economic Process that talks about this. Starts with Leibniz' idea that past cannot have any more influence on present/future than what it leaves as traces in state variables. At issue, action at a spatial distance as over against action at a temporal distance. Useful discussion of logics of hysteresis looking at physics, biology, Marxism, functionalism, economics. Think about hysteresis as memory of past states.

In "The Hysteresis Effect as Creative Adaptation of the Habitus: Dissent and Transition to the ‘Corporate’ in Post-Soviet Ukraine" Kerr and Robinson use Bourdieu's concept of hysteresis — when habitus gets out of step with the environment:

However, there are periods of crisis or transition when the old habitus does not ‘fit’ the field, is not (yet) adapted to the new Doxa and here Bourdieu introduces the concept of ‘the hysteresis effect’ (Bourdieu, 1977, 1980, 2000; see also Mesny, 2002; Grenfell, 2006; Sapiro, 2004). Bourdieu likens this effect to an effect of dissonance, a counter-adaptive ‘lag’ in the habitus that retards adaptation to a changed social context (2000: 262; see also Sapiro, 2004). The hysteresis effect thus means that in the changed circumstances we maintain our already-acquired habitus/dispositions even when they are no longer adapted (what Bourdieu, following Marx, terms ‘the Don Quichotte effect’). Bourdieu (1980: 104–105) refers to ‘the presence of the past’, where the durable practices are not adapted to the changed context and function à contre-temps (Bourdieu, 1980:105). However, Bourdieu (1980) claims that change in the habitus in a period of transition is not a refl exive process, is not done by consciously adapting the sens pratique (see discussion in Mesny, 2002 and also Burawoy, 2008: this is a claim that we return to in our conclusions). (doi: 10.1177/1350508409337581 Organization November 2009 vol. 16 no. 6 829-853)

Other References

Cross, et al. "Hysteresis and Economics: Taking the economic past into account"