Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I think Pollitt gets a few things wrong here -- but yes, this was a great man.

Just saying.

... in comments Phila calls Bourdieu's writing "engagingly jaundiced and no-nonsense." That's exactly right.

This is an oversimplification, but one of PB's core ideas is that people are usually out to "profit" in some way in any social situation. Sometimes they do this in very strange ways, but that's what they're doing. When you start from this point of view -- and remember that this logic applies to yourself as well -- it keeps you focused as an observer not just on what people say, but what they are really doing by saying it. How are they profiting by saying that thing in that situation?

It sounds cynical, and it sort of is. But then, when Bourdieu starts talking about something like "the fundamental principles of intellectual freedom," as he does in Rules of Art, it has a genuinely bracing effect. You know you're getting it straight. A lot of theory, especially in literature, talks about concepts like "liberation," about throwing off the chains of repressive ideologies. Bourdieu rarely goes there, bit when he does, he is not talking abstractly. He's talking about the real world. That's powerful.

Also, his theory comes out of his research. His research doesn't come out of his theory. That is just goddamn refreshing.

Anyway, anyone interested in a down-to-earth, more or less "plain language" sample of his ideas might like ON Television, his polemic against TV talking head "journalism." It's meant for a wide audience (it's actually the text of a talk he gave for French TV).

Thers, just to repeat what I just put up at Mary's place:

I wasn't around for too much of the ugliness over the past few days, though I read through most of it, and boy do you ever not deserve this shit; and, no, I haven't met y'all in the real world, but ... well, what jezebel said. Y'all are clearly very good people, and there are a lot of folks that know that, and we have your back, so to speak ...

-- Stu

P.S. Like the new digs.

It is good to see you back. Don't let the bastards get you down.
Agreed. I initially picked up Science and Science of Reflexivity without knowing anything about the guy, simply on the basis of its tone, which was engagingly jaundiced and no-nonsense. It's still one of the best books I've read on phil of sci. (If we hadn't left the subject far, far behind, I'd have a few things to say about his sour remarks on "textism," and the "law of Zhdanovism").

You've taught me a lot (if not everything) about how the stuff in that book fits in with his theory as a whole (which means I really need to re-read it again, and pick up on the stuff I missed the first couple of times). You've made excellent use of these ideas, it seems to me, and are incredibly good at explaining them simply and unpretentiously...very inspiring and admirable, says I.

I'm very glad to see this blog up and running, BTW. It has a good atmosphere. I feel about a hundred pounds lighter than I did this morning.
Not that yr burning to know, but mostly to say congratulation on the new blog...I'll say that I haven't read Bourdieu. much to read. I am reading Malraux though and loving his free and quirky analysis of the development of artistic consciousness. Haven't read any criticism of Malraux, but Bourdieu sounds right on with his assertion that we humans are more compelled than free to foist our cultural precepts on all we view.

The French concept of gaining cultural capital is so refreshing, so French, compared with how it's done over here anymore. Feels like culture in America exists as a series of polarized positions -- not sure how many magnetic norths there can be, but there's more than 5 anyway-- each in its own vaccuum, most alive & active in reaction against each other.

What is taken as a "given" what is assumed to be bedrock unshakeable in American culture? Even the notion of "American goodness" is now being rightfully questioned. American culture has stumbled into an abyss it seems to me.
Reading Distinction helped my work click in so many scary ways. And that was just the start. In related matters, have you read James Flint's Habitus?
Soooo, you're saying Pierre Bourdieu was better than Ann Coulter? How did he look in a mini-skirt?
There was some stuff about Bourdieu in the TLS a while ago.
Congratulations on the new blog. I'm afraid I know shockingly little about the distillation process though.
You're just biased because you used Bourdieu as the framework for your alleged diss, which you still haven't posted in PDF form. I reject anything you say until you prove you're not an 3 gym classes shy of your PhD.

Probably better than Coulter does.

p in nc -- Flint's book is on my lengthening "beed to read" list...

phila -- "refreshingly jaundiced" excellent...
thanks for leaving a trail of crumbs to your new place. (your comment at bouphonia). and now i know what bourdieu is about. might have to actually, you know, read his work, before i comment. hope you grok my meaning. or my intended meaning.
You LIKE me! You really LIKE ME!

scurries back around corner and away before betrays oneself entirely....
I likes ya!
Have you seen a documentary on Bourdieu called Sociology is a Combat Sport? It's supposed to be good. (I gotta send away for it on net flicks.)

Anyways, after all this Bourdieu talk, i'm thinking he needs to be in my footnotes! Thanks!

How are you all doing?

Remember - if I say anything in any blog that I should shut up about, please, please just let me know. (
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