Bourdieu blog

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Bourdieu, Marx, Feminism

Posted by dnetz on June 3, 2008

Over at The Great Refusal, there’s two posts reflecting Bourdieu’s rejection of certain notions from Marx, obviously a propos reading Masculine Domination. Read the rest of this entry »

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Doing organizational studies with Bourdieu

Posted by dnetz on May 16, 2008

In an important paper published recently in Theory and Society, Mustafa Emirbayer and Victoria Johnson argue for a more comprehensive usage of Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, capital and field in organizational analysis. So far, most authors have been using them selectively and one at a time, whereas Bourdieu’s mode of thought really only rises to its full strength when all three of these key concepts are combined, they argue.

There’s a post on this at orgtheory.net, in which brayden states:

Emirbayer and Johnson provide a good overview of how Bourdieuian concepts might be more fully utilized in organizational research. The paper is well worth reading.

and provides some highlights.

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Political Interventions: Social Science and Political Action

Posted by dnetz on May 16, 2008

“Political Interventions” is another one of those books that have been around in French and German for years and are just now being published in English. Actually, it’s not a monograph but a collection of short texts, documenting the range of Bourdieu’s political engagements – from opposing the war in Algeria to his restless critique of global ultra-liberalism in the late 1990s – and portraying him as a thoroughly political thinker who kept trying to connect his scientific work to social movements. It’s worth the read!

Times Higher Ed has a pretty good review by Nick Prior:

Readers familiar with Bourdieu’s work will find the short theoretical summaries less interesting than the scraps of polemic designed to inform and energise various political publics. These are the letters, statements, declarations of intent and interviews, some sourced from the archives of the Collège de France and published for the first time. Like the Communist Manifesto, these fragments cut to the chase with little modesty. They exhort the reader, often impatiently, to fight for a “realpolitik of reason” in which a restless critique of the “imperialism of universality” is married with a staunch defence of the intellectual instruments of reason. They also show Bourdieu wrestling with a striking paradox in which a compulsion to open his mouth and promote the political effectiveness of intellectuals is all the more effective if the autonomy of the intellectual from political and economic fields is optimum. […]

If sociology is indeed a way of doing politics by other means, maybe our biggest loss will be the absence of a champion who did most to convince the world that a rigorous but committed sociopolitics was possible. Certainly, we are impoverished by his passing at a time when it is more necessary than ever to renew the strength of intellectual criticism.

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Daniel Bensaïd on Bourdieu

Posted by dnetz on May 9, 2008

ESSF has re-published a 2002 Interview from Le Figaro with Daniel Bensaïd, marxist intellectual and leader of the french trotskyist movement. The title, “La tentation mandarinale”, kind of leads the way for its contents: although acknowledging Bourdieu as “an important companion in the struggle against planetary ultra-liberalism”, he raises the popular critical claim against him of having been a detached intellectual with no connection to the people’s everyday struggles. Ironically, this detached intellectualism is exactly what Bourdieu himself had accused most of the french leftist intelligentsija of his time of – and written “Homo Academicus” for proof. Coming from Bensaïd, it amounts to accusing Bourdieu of not having been properly marxist in his later political position-takings and not having joined a party. Oh well… Read the rest of this entry »

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Negri on Bourdieu

Posted by dnetz on May 9, 2008

Telepolis has an interview with Antonio Negri, in which – amaong lots of other things, he talks about Bourdieu as an example for the changing role of intellectuals. Read the rest of this entry »

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New books appearing in English

Posted by dnetz on May 9, 2008

Seven years after Bourdieu’s death, two original works of his are finally about to appear in English.

The first one ist Sketch for a Self-Analysis, which has been around in German* and French for a while:

‘This is not an autobiography.’ – Pierre Bourdieu. Pierre Bourdieu’s commitment to a reflexive sociology led him ineluctably to take on the final challenge of a self socio-analysis in which he recounts and analyses, more fully and intimately than ever before, his understanding of the trajectory that led him from the peasant world of Barn, through sometimes painful years as a lyce boarder, as a student in 1950s Paris and as a conscript in the Algerian War, to the pinnacle of the French intellectual and academic world. ‘This is not an autobiography’, he said of this work but it reveals much of the hitherto implicit experience of his formative years, and gives precious insights into his relationships with Jean-Paul Sartre, Raymond Aron, Michel Foucault and many others, which deepen our understanding of his unique contribution to sociology and anthropology.

And the other is The Bachelor’s Ball. This one hasn’t appeared in any other language than French yet, and Bourdieu himself didn’t really approve of it being translated (look for the reason in Sketch for a Self-Analysis)

Continuing the theme of self-reflection, Bourdieu’s final book, “The Bachelors’ Ball”, sees him return to Bearn, the village where he grew up, to examine the gender dynamics of rural France. This personal connection adds poignancy to Bourdieu’s ethnographic account of the way the influence of urban values has precipitated a crisis for male peasants. Tied to the land through inheritance, these bachelors find themselves with little to offer the women of Bearn who, like the young Bourdieu himself, abandon the country for the city in droves.

This one has also just appeared in German, by the way.

*Interestingly, this book was first published in German by Suhrkamp in 2002, shortly after his death. It only appeared in French two years later. This was Bourdieu’s own choice: He hoped that the german public would be less emotional than the french scientific and cultural scene and that, the scientific content of the book would get more attention than its purely personal aspects. The book consists of a greatly enlarged version of his last lecture at the Collège de France, which was published as the last chapter of Science of Science and Reflexivity.

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New book in French: Pourquoi Bourdieu?

Posted by dnetz on March 12, 2008

There’s a new book by Nathalie Heinich, research director at CNRS an former disciple of Bourdieu (well, OK, it’s not sooo new, it appeared with Gallimard in september 2007), in which she seems to criticize him sharply.

The editors say:

Le renom de Pierre Bourdieu s’étend aujourd’hui bien au-delà de la sociologie, au-delà de l’Université, au-delà du public cultivé, au-delà de la France. Que s’est-il donc passé pour qu’un universitaire, fils de petits employés béarnais “monté” à Paris pour faire l’École normale supérieure, devienne, le temps d’une génération, ce phénomène international ; “Bourdieu”?
Ni hagiographie à l’usage des bourdieusiens, ni pamphlet à l’usage des anti-bourdieusiens, ni analyse épistémologique à l’usage des spécialistes, ni essai de vulgarisation à l’usage de profanes, ce portrait intellectuel brossé par une ex-disciple qui a pris, depuis, ses distances, est une tentative pour comprendre, avec les outils de la sociologie et à travers le témoignage en première personne, les raisons d’un tel succès.

My translation (excuse the occasional mistake): Read the rest of this entry »

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Why start a Bourdieu blog?

Posted by dnetz on March 9, 2008

The short version is: There weren’t any around yet.

Read the rest of this entry »

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