After Bourdieu: Influence, Critique, Elaboration by David L. Swartz, Vera L. Zolberg

By David L. Swartz, Vera L. Zolberg

The main major French sociologist in view that Durkheim, Pierre Bourdieu's impact on highbrow existence exhibits no signal of abating. He was once a prolific and consequential pupil whose impression should be measured via the Social technological know-how quotation Index and foreign surveys of lecturers. Conceptualizations, similar to habitus and box, his heuristic remedy of cultural, financial, political, social and symbolic capital to research the makes use of of strength, and his insistence upon melding the customarily separated micro and macro degrees of societal theorizing are actually embedded within the simple vocabulary of sociology and anthropology. even if in accord together with his outlook, critical students are obliged to check themselves opposed to his demanding situations. Bourdieu additionally performed a substantial function as a public highbrow, taking positions on questions important to France and to the realm extra typically. a lot of his contributions stem from his very important study initiatives: colonialism, academic inequality, the social foundations of style within the arts and lifestyles types, social copy of prestige relationships, and extra lately, the impression of unchecked globalism at the deprived. The articles during this publication symbolize a sampling of the newest and sturdy of the continued conversations, debates, and study orientations that Bourdieu introduced.

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Extra resources for After Bourdieu: Influence, Critique, Elaboration

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In the remainder of the article, I focus on Bourdieu’s attempt to grasp simultaneously dispositional and structural, symbolic and material, cultural and economic, in short, subjective and objective dimensions of class structure and class culture in contemporary France. Class Bourdieu’s studies of class structure, class cultures, and class reproduction in contemporary France draw heavily on his metatheory, especially on the notions of symbolic power, cultural capital, and the habitus. The distinctiveness of these studies – distinctiveness that owes much to their metatheoretical grounding – can perhaps best be elucidated by situating Bourdieu’s conception of class with reference to the Marxian and Weberian conceptions.

The opposition between the Lévi-Straussian and Sartrean models of intellectual vocation, Bourdieu writes, encouraged in those considering careers in social science “the ambition to reconcile theoretical and practical intentions, the scientific vocation and the ethical or political vocation, . . ). Bourdieu was indeed guided in his early studies of Algerian society during the Algerian war by an ambition to unite theoretical and practical aims (see the long preface to Le Sens Pratique), and he continues to regard his sociological work as one of demystification and deconsecration, as a work committed to revealing “hidden bases of domination” and thus to undermining the “misrecognition of the mechanisms on which it is founded” (Questions de Sociologie, 7, 13, 28).

60 This definition envisions the perfect coincidence of divisions established by differences in external conditions of existence and divisions established by differences in internalized dispositions; indeed on this view it is precisely the coincidence of these divisions, and not either one of them alone, that constitutes class divisions. Class thus defined is treated by Bourdieu as a universal explanatory principle. This sharply distinguishes Bourdieu’s conception of class from those of Marx and Weber, both of which had definite and limited explanatory aims – for Marx, to comprehend the dynamic consequences of the differential situation of groups with respect to the means of production in the modern capitalist economy; for Weber, to isolate and analyze one dimension of the distribution of power in any market society.

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