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Martial Art

Bruce Robbins: Pierre Bourdieu, 20 April 2006

Science of Science and Reflexivity 
by Pierre Bourdieu, translated by Richard Nice.
Polity, 168 pp., £14.99, September 2004, 9780745630601
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... A recent French documentary about Pierre Bourdieu is entitled, after one of his own pronouncements: La Sociologie est un sport de combat. When he died in January 2002, Bourdieu was widely considered France’s leading sociologist, its most influential intellectual – and one of its angriest men ...

Sartre

Pierre Bourdieu, 20 November 1980

... Sartre has undoubtedly dominated his generation and had no successor.’ This is the verdict on his work in a school text-book, a critical study of post-war French literature, published in the 1970s. It is not for the sociologist to agree or disagree with this verdict; he has to take it for what it is, i.e. an indisputable social fact, and to endeavour to account for it, to make it intelligible ...

Snobs

Jon Elster, 5 November 1981

La Distinction: Critique Sociale du Jugement 
by Pierre Bourdieu.
Editions de Minuit, 670 pp., £9.05, August 1979, 2 7073 0275 9
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... In his inaugural lecture at the Collège de France – in the very chair occupied today by Pierre Bourdieu – Raymond Aron coined the word ‘sociodicy’: an apt term for the apologetic tendency of much contemporary social science, a tendency which has a long ancestry, going back to the theodicies of the 17th century ...

Top of the Class

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 8 May 1997

The State Nobility 
by Pierre Bourdieu, translated by Lauretta Clough.
Polity, 475 pp., £45, November 1996, 0 7456 0824 8
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... of the local ‘field of power’, as he would describe it, that is Parisian intellectual life. Pierre Bourdieu’s first book, his 1958 ethnography of the Kabyle of Algeria, was, it’s true, social anthropology done in the British manner: it talked of the social functions of ‘solidarity’. But even as he finished it, ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Who’s Afraid of the Library of America?, 19 June 2008

... them. The books are so gorgeous, so marmoreal, that I find them unreadable. Not unreadable in the Pierre Bourdieu/Edward Bulwer-Lytton sense, and not unreadable in theory – I want to read them, I really do. It’s just that in practice, I don’t. I once got about a quarter of the way through Parkman’s Oregon Trail and have made two or three failed ...
Adventures on the Freedom Road: The French Intellectuals in the 20th Century 
by Bernard-Henri Lévy, translated by Richard Veasey.
Harvill, 434 pp., £20, December 1995, 1 86046 035 6
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The Imaginary Jew 
by Alain Finkielkraut, translated by Kevin O’Neill and David Suchoff.
Nebraska, 230 pp., £23.95, August 1994, 0 8032 1987 3
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The Defeat of the Mind 
by Alain Finkielkraut, translated by Judith Friedlander.
Columbia, 165 pp., $15, May 1996, 0 231 08023 9
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... a figure first (and last) embodied as an absolute by Sartre, the ‘total intellectual’, in Bourdieu’s memorable words. Finkielkraut’s The Imaginary Jew, published in 1980, the year of Sartre’s death, was a deliberate update of the latter’s Reflections on the Jewish Question, while Lévy has systematically explored the various genres in which ...

Flattery

Peter Burke, 16 September 1982

Le Roi-Machine: Spectacle et Politique au Temps de Louis XIV 
by Jean-Marie Apostolidès.
Les Editions de Minuit, 164 pp., £4.50
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Le Portrait du Roi 
by Louis Marin.
Les Editions de Minuit, 300 pp., £5.60
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... interesting approaches in contemporary French sociology, the cultural analysis associated with Pierre Bourdieu, Marin’s colleague at the Hautes Etudes and editor of the series in which his book appears. These studies of Louis XIV, one in the style of Althusser, the other in the style of Bourdieu, raise two serious ...

Mother’s back

Lorna Sage: Feminists with Tenure, 18 May 2000

What is a Woman? And Other Essays 
by Toril Moi.
Oxford, 517 pp., £25, October 1999, 9780198122425
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... and that you can see it in relations between male thinkers – for example, in the relations of Bourdieu and Derrida to Sartre, and of René Girard to Freud. So perhaps there’s nothing specifically female or feminist about the bind that theory has got itself into. Battling her way out of the forest of quotation-marks, Moi turns to Freud himself and one of ...

Hungry Ghosts

Paul Connerton, 19 April 1990

Fragments for a History of the Human Body, Parts I-III 
edited by Michel Feher, Ramona Naddaff and Nadia Tazi.
Zone, 480 pp., £35.95, May 1989, 0 942299 25 6
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... constructed he has been followed more recently by, among others, Norbert Elias, Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu and Mary Douglas. To these we must now add Fragments for a History of the Human Body, a collection edited by Michel Feher, with Ramona Naddaff and Nadia Tazi. The book is in three volumes, containing in all 48 essays, many of a remarkably ...

When in Bed

David Blackbourn, 19 October 1995

Reflections on a Life 
by Norbert Elias.
Polity, 166 pp., £35, October 1994, 0 7456 1383 7
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The Civilising Process 
by Norbert Elias.
Blackwell, 558 pp., £50, March 1994, 0 631 19222 0
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... bed before invited (‘for that is no curtasy’), lie straight, and say goodnight after talking. Pierre Broe’s Des bonnes moeurs et honnestes contenances offered similar precepts in 1555. By then, however, there were signs of change. Erasmus’s ‘On the Bedchamber’ was still concerned mainly with consideration for others, but a new note was starting to ...

In praise of Geoffrey Lloyd

Helen King, 8 October 1992

Methods and Problems in Greek Science: Selected Papers 
by G.E.R. Lloyd.
Cambridge, 457 pp., £45, May 1991, 0 521 37419 7
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... and even to be criticised, actors becoming observers of themselves. To employ the terms of Pierre Bourdieu (Outline of a Theory of Practice, published in this country in 1977), right/left moved out of the doxa, the universe of the undiscussed and undisputed, into the field of opinion, the universe of discourse and argument. How was this ...

Yearning for the ‘Utile’

Frank Kermode: Snobbery and John Carey, 23 June 2005

What Good Are the Arts? 
by John Carey.
Faber, 286 pp., £12.99, June 2005, 0 571 22602 7
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... we condone this state of affairs, art seems to be making us worse, not better. Carey agrees with Pierre Bourdieu that having a taste for art is more a mark of class than anything else, although one has to remember that working-class people have been known to enjoy The Well-Tempered Clavier, and that some middle-class folk admire La Traviata. But for ...

Men’s Honour, Women’s Lives

Peter Burke, 6 March 1986

Trial by Impotence: Virility and Marriage in Pre-Revolutionary France 
by Pierre Darmon, translated by Paul Keegan.
Chatto, 234 pp., £10.95, March 1985, 9780701129149
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The Boundaries of Eros: Sex, Crime and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice 
by Guido Ruggiero.
Oxford, 223 pp., £25, March 1985, 0 19 503465 1
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The Tuscans and their Families: A Study of the Florentine Catasto of 1427 
by David Herlihy and Christiane Klapisch-Zuber.
Yale, 404 pp., £32, March 1985, 0 300 03056 8
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Women, Family and Ritual in Renaissance Italy 
by Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, translated by Lydia Cochrane.
Chicago, 338 pp., £25.50, September 1985, 0 226 43925 9
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French Women in the Age of Enlightenment 
edited by Samia Spencer.
Indiana, 429 pp., $35, November 1984, 0 253 32481 5
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... such reasons, including force, error, insanity, homosexuality, and also impotence, the subject of Pierre Darmon’s study, published in French in 1979 and now available in English translation. Darmon’s book, written with passion in a rather heavy Gallic rhetoric somewhat difficult to turn into fluent English, is at once a history of an institution of the ...

Union Sucrée

Perry Anderson: The Normalising of France, 23 September 2004

Le Rappel à l’ordre: Enquête sur les nouveaux réactionnaires 
by Daniel Lindenberg.
Seuil, 94 pp., €10.50, November 2002, 2 02 055816 5
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Esquisse pour une auto-analyse 
by Pierre Bourdieu.
Raisons d'Agir, 142 pp., €12, February 2004, 2 912107 19 9
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La République mondiale des lettres 
by Pascale Casanova.
Seuil, 492 pp., €27.50, March 1999, 2 02 035853 0
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... of the past had yet to be thoroughly purged of its ambiguities: the Nation. This task fell to Pierre Nora. In his editorial on the tenth anniversary of Le Débat in 1990, Nora had hailed the ‘new cultural landscape’ of the country, and within another couple of years, he completed his own monumental contribution to it. Originating in a seminar at the ...

Down, don, down

John Sutherland, 6 August 1992

Decline of Donnish Dominion 
by A.H. Halsey.
Oxford, 344 pp., £40, March 1992, 0 19 827376 2
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Millikan’s School: A History of the California Institute of Technology 
by Judith Goodstein.
Norton, 317 pp., £17.95, October 1991, 0 393 03017 2
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... press tended to see it). At the end of the day, Derrida was honoured in the British university. As Pierre Bourdieu points out in Homo Academicus (a work which, oddly, Halsey does not cite), there is less honour for the prophet of Deconstruction in his own country. Bourdieu recalls ‘the astonishment of a certain young ...

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