Synthesizing forty years' work by France's leading sociologist, this book exemplifies Bourdieu's unique ability to link sociological theory, historical information, and philosophical thought. It makes explicit the presuppositions of a state of 'scholasticism', a certain leisure liberated from the urgencies of the world. Philosophers have brought these presuppositions into the order of discourse, more to legitimate than analyze them, and this is the primary systematic, epistemological, ethical, and aesthetic error that Bourdieu subjects to methodological critique. Pascalian because he, too, was (...) concerned with symbolic power, he refused the temptation of foundationalist thinking, attended to 'ordinary people', and was determined to seek the reason for seemingly illogical behavior rather than simply condemning it. Bourdieu charts a negative philosophy, whose intellectual debt to such other 'heretical' philosophers as Wittgenstein, Austin, Dewey, and Peirce, renews traditional questioning of concepts of violence, power, time, history, the universal, and the purpose and direction of existence. (shrink)
The present volume consists of diverse individual texts, produced between 1980 and 1986, which take two forms: interviews in which Bourdieu confronts a series of probing and intelligent interviewers, and conference papers that clarify and extend specific areas of his research. Now that Bourdieu's work has achieved wide diffusion and celebrity, this is an appropriate time for this volume, a pause for retrospection and resynthesis, for corrections of misreadings and extension of previous insights, and for projection of the next stages (...) of his work. For this English edition, Bourdieu's celebrated inaugural lecture at the Collège de France, Leçon sur la Leçon, has been added. -/- The texts fall into two fundamental areas. The first area provides an overview of Bourdieu's central concepts, never before clearly explained. The second area clarifies the philosophical presuppositions of Bourdieu's studies and gives an account of his relations with the series of thinkers who formulated the problems in social and cultural theory that still preoccupy us: Kant, Hegel, Marx, Durkheim, Wittgenstein, Weber, Parsons, and Lévi-Strauss. Bourdieu's visions of these figures is personal and penetrating, and in his vivacious, spontaneous responses one sees at work a mode of thought that can in itself be a liberating tool of social analysis. Bourdieu applies to himself the method of analyzing cultural works that he expounds, evoking the space of theoretical possibilities presented to him at different moments of his intellectual itinerary. (shrink)
Martin Heidegger's overt alliance with the Nazis and the specific relation between this alliance and his philosophical thought - the degree to which his concepts are linked to a thoroughly disreputable set of political beliefs - have been the topic of a storm of recent debate. Written ten years before this debate, this study by France's leading sociologist and cultural theorist is both a precursor of that debate and an analysis of the institutional mechanisms involved in the production of philosophical (...) discourse. Though Heidegger is aware of and acknowledges the legitimacy of purely philosophical issues (in his references to canonic authors, traditional problems, and respect for academic taboos), Bourdieu points out that the complexity and abstraction of Heidegger's philosophical discourse stems from its situation in the cultural field, where two social and intellentual dimensions - political thought and academic thought - intersect. Bourdieu concludes by suggesting that Heidegger should not be considered as a Nazi ideologist, that there is no place in Heidegger's philosophical ideas for a racist conception of the human being. Rather, he sees Heidegger's thought as a structural equivalent in the field of philosophy of the 'conservative revolution', of which nazism is but one manifestation. (shrink)
Over the past four decades, French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu produced one of the most imaginative and subtle bodies of social theory of the postwar era. When he died in 2002, he was considered to be the most influential sociologist in the world and a thinker on a par with Foucault and Le;vi-Strauss—a public intellectual as important to his generation as Sartre was to his. Sketch for a Self-Analysis is the ultimate outcome of Bourdieu’s lifelong preoccupation with reflexivity. Vehemently not an (...) autobiography, this unique book is instead an application of Bourdieu’s theories to his own life and intellectual trajectory; along the way it offers compelling and intimate insights into the most important French intellectuals of the time—including Foucault, Sartre, Aron, Althusser, and de Beauvoir—as well as Bourdieu’s own formative experiences at boarding school and his moral outrage at the colonial war in Algeria. (shrink)
This article poses the question of the social and intellectual conditions for genuine social scientific internationalism, through an analysis of the worldwide spread of a new global vulgate resulting from the false and uncontrolled universalization of the folk concepts and preoccupations of American society and academe. The terms, themes and tropes of this new planetary doxa - `multiculturalism', `globalization', `liberals versus communitarians', `underclass', racial `minority' and identity, etc. - tend to project and impose on all societies American concerns and viewpoints, (...) thereby transfigured into tools of analysis and yardsticks of policy fit to naturalize the peculiar historical experience of one peculiar society, tacitly instituted as a model for humanity. The article suggests how the logic of the international circulation of ideas, the transformations of the academic field, the strategies of foundations and publishers, and of local collaborators in global conceptual `import-export' converge to foster a particularly powerful and pernicious form of cultural imperialism of which academics are at once perpetrators and victims. (shrink)
The break necessary to establish a rigorous science of cultural works is something more and something else than a simple methodological reversal.1 It implies a true conversion of the ordinary way of thinking and living the intellectual enterprise. It is a matter of breaking the narcissistic relationship inscribed in the representation of intellectual work as a “creation” and which excludes as the expression par excellence of “reductionist sociology” the effort to subject the artist and the work of art to a (...) way of thinking that is doubly objectionable since it is both genetic and generic.It would be easy to show what the most different kinds of analysis of the work of art owe to the norms that require treating works in and for themselves, with no reference to the social conditions of their production. Thus in the now-classic Theory of Literature, René Wellek and Austin Warren seem to advocate “an explanation in terms of the personality and the life of the writer.” In fact, because they accept the ideology of the “man of genius” they are committed, in their own terms, to “one of the oldest and best-established methods of literary study”—which seeks the explanatory principle of a work in the author taken in isolation .2 In fact, this explanatory principle resides in the relationship between the “space” of works in which each particular work is taken and the “space” of authors in which each cultural enterprise is constituted. Similarly, when Sartre takes on the project of specifying the meditations through which society determined Flaubert, the individual, he attributes to those factors that can be perceived from that point of view—that is, to social class as refracted through a family structure—what are instead the effects of generic factors influencing every writer in an artistic field that is itself in a subordinate position in the field of power and also the effects specific to all writers who occupy the same position as Flaubert within the artistic field. 1. See Pierre Bourdieu, “Intellectual Field and Creative Project,” trans. Sian France, Social Science Information 8 : 89-119; originally published as “Champ intellectual et projet créateur,” Les Temps moderns no. 246 : 865-906. See also Bourdieu, “Champ du pouvoir, champ intellectual et habitus de classe,” Scolies 1 : 7-26, and Bourdieu, “The Genesis of the Concepts of Habitus and Field,” trans. Channa Newman, Sociocriticism no. 2 : 11-24.2. René Welleck and Austin Warren, Theory of Literature p. 69. Pierre Bourdieu holds the chair of sociology at the Collège de France and is director of the Centre de Sociologie européenne at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Among his most recent works are Distinction , Homo Academicus , and Choses Dites. (shrink)
Editor’s Introduction The following text was prepared by Pierre Bourdieu for delivery at a conference on his work held at Duke University, April 21–23, 1995. Entitled “Pierre Bourdieu: Fieldwork in Culture,” the conference was sponsored by the Duke Graduate Program in Literature and included such well‐known literary scholars as Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Jonathan Culler, and Fredric Jameson. Bourdieu, of course, was the invited guest of honor, but was uncertain as to whether he should make the effort of attending, particularly since (...) he was recovering from a short period of poor health. As I too had been invited , Bourdieu discussed the question with me in Paris.He was rather concerned about wrongheaded, trendy applications of his theories by American literary scholars, who often misunderstand his work because they simply do not know the intellectual landscape to which it relates. Reading such conference paper titles as “Cross‐Dressing for Success: The Scramble for Symbolic Power in Tabitha Sweeney’s Female Quixotism,” Bourdieu confessed his fear of being taken as simply the French intellectual flavor of the month, one whose theory is used simply as grist for the American academy’s industrious mills of literary interpretation.He ultimately decided to send the following text to be read at the conference in his absence. It treats, with polite frankness, his worries about being misinterpreted through importation into the American theoretical field with its peculiar conception of French philosophy; Bourdieu’s paper situates these particular worries within a more general account of “allodoxic”distortions caused by the international travel of theory; but it also tries to prevent further misunderstanding by offering a brief contextualization of his theory and a brief summary of his method of analysis through fields. The translation of Bourdieu’s text was prepared by Loïc Wacquant, and is presented here with only minor adjustments. (shrink)
PrésentationIssues des archives du Collège de France et restées inédites jusqu’à présent, ces notes ont été prises par Pierre Bourdieu lors des réunions organisées au cours de la mobilisation de décembre 1981 après le coup d’État survenu en Pologne. Observateur critique en même temps que protagoniste du mouvement, le sociologue y livre une vision particulièrement désenchantée des luttes symboliques menées par les universitaires, les intellectuels et les syndicalistes engagés dans l’action p..