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Episteme, My Arse

Christopher Tayler: Laurent Binet, 15 June 2017

The Seventh Function of Language 
by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor.
Harvill Secker, 390 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 910701 58 4
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... indicate that he does. Who? ‘The Stalinists! The fascists! Alain Badiou! Gilles Deleuze! Pierre Bourdieu! Cornelius Castoriadis! … Um, Hélène Cixous!’ Bayard writes these names down in his notebook, but they’re no more help than what he’s told by Foucault, to whom he pays a visit at the Collège de France. ‘The big baldy’, who ...

Porringers and Pitkins

Keith Thomas: The Early Modern Household, 5 July 2018

A Day at Home in Early Modern England: Material Culture and Domestic Life, 1500-1700 
by Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson.
Yale, 311 pp., £40, October 2017, 978 0 300 19501 9
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... encouraged by powerful influences from the Continent. In his study of the Kabyle of North Africa, Pierre Bourdieu showed how their values were shaped by daily interaction with the objects in their homes. His concept of habitus was founded on the belief that ways of thinking and behaving were closely related to domestic environments. In Germany advocates ...

Poland and the New France

Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, 4 March 1982

... CERES, the far left of the Party, we sometimes hear the hollow tones of crypto-Stalinism. Jean-Pierre Chevènement, head of CERES and currently Minister of Research, has twice made fairly questionable statements appeasing the USSR over Afghanistan and Poland. The important fact, however, is that there now exists an immense Socialist pool in which the ...

Peas in a Matchbox

Jonathan Rée: ‘Being and Nothingness’, 18 April 2019

Being and Nothingness: An Essay in Phenomenology and Ontology 
by Jean-Paul Sartre, translated by Sarah Richmond.
Routledge, 848 pp., £45, June 2019, 978 0 415 52911 2
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... too, provided it wasn’t Jewish. They ‘tried to seduce rather than impose their will’, as Pierre Boulez recalled, and on the whole they succeeded. They presided over a boom in sales of contemporary art and went out of their way to protect leading artists: Georges Braque showed 35 works in the Salon d’Automne in 1943, and was offered free coal to ...
On Historians 
by J.H. Hexter.
Collins, 310 pp., £6.95, September 1979, 0 00 216623 2
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... passed many men of account in the social sciences in France: Aron, Lévi-Strauss, Alain Touraine, Pierre Bourdieu, Serge Moscovici ... In French, what is more, we do not talk of the ‘social sciences’ so much as the ‘human sciences’, which, simply on the lexical plane, establishes a bridge between the young sociology (for example) and the old, but ...

Patrons

Peter Burke, 15 October 1987

Patronage, Art and Society in Renaissance Italy 
edited by F.W. Kent and Patricia Simons.
Oxford/Humanities Research Centre, 331 pp., £35, June 1987, 0 19 821978 4
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Pienza: The Creation of a Renaissance City 
by Charles Mack.
Cornell, 250 pp., $43.95, June 1987, 9780801416996
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Piety and Patronage in Renaissance Venice: Bellini, Titian and the Franciscans 
by Rona Goffen.
Yale, 285 pp., £30, July 1986, 0 300 03455 5
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Venetian Humanism in an Age of Patrician Dominance 
by Margaret King.
Princeton, 524 pp., £42.90, April 1986, 0 691 05465 7
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The Venetian Patriciate: Reality versus Myth 
by Donald Queller.
Illinois, 386 pp., $29.95, September 1986, 0 252 01144 9
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Tradesman and Traders: The World of the Guilds in Venice and Europe, c.1250-c.1650 
by Richard MacKenney.
Croom Helm, 289 pp., £35, January 1987, 0 7099 1763 5
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Florence, Rome and the Origins of the Renaissance 
by George Holmes.
Oxford, 273 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 19 822576 8
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From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Liberal Arts in 15th and 6th-Century Europe 
by Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine.
Duckworth, 224 pp., £29.95, January 1987, 0 7156 2100 9
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Renaissance and Revolt: Essays in the Intellectual and Social History of Early Modern France 
by J.H.M. Salmon.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £30, June 1987, 0 521 32769 5
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... goes so far on one occasion as to describe Humanist education (in terms apparently derived from Pierre Bourdieu) as ‘the agent of inherited power, the vehicle by which patrician culture can reproduce itself’. It would have been interesting to see this view worked out in detail, but the author lets the opportunity slip and elsewhere in the book she ...

Oppressors

V.G. Kiernan, 18 September 1986

What’s happening to India: Punjab, Ethnic Conflict, Mrs Gandhi’s Death and the Test for Federalism 
by Robin Jeffrey.
Macmillan, 249 pp., £25, June 1986, 0 333 40440 8
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Lions of the Punjab: Culture in the Making 
by Richard Fox.
California, 259 pp., £25.50, January 1986, 0 520 05491 1
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... His ambition is to get beyond both, taking as his guides E.P. Thompson, Raymond Williams, Pierre Bourdieu and Alain Touraine. There is a strong dash of Marxism in his fountain of inspiration. In his scrutiny of the Sikh community, he stresses its diversity, as between urban and rural, higher and lower social or caste strata, and, very ...

On holiday with Leonardo

Nicholas Penny, 21 December 1989

The New Museology 
edited by Peter Vergo.
Reaktion, 230 pp., £23, September 1989, 0 948462 04 3
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The Romantic Interior: The British Collector at Home 1750-1850 
by Clive Wainwright.
Yale, 314 pp., £35, November 1989, 0 300 04225 6
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Journal of the History of Collections, No 1 
edited by Oliver Impey and Arthur MacGregor.
Oxford, 230 pp., £23, June 1989, 0 00 954665 0
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... interiors were created’ but briskly defers in his concluding pages to such modern authorities as Pierre Bourdieu who, like his followers among the contributors to the New Museology, smugly explains away the complex relationship with the past which the great collections and the museums of the last century ...

Scholarship and its Affiliations

Wendy Steiner, 30 March 1989

... identity, the self as a seamless web. Already the richly humanistic efforts of Geoffrey Hartman, Pierre Bourdieu and Christopher Norris are rescuing the work of Heidegger and de Man without endangering the principle that ideology and text are invariably (if complexly) related. But what do we do with Anthony Blunt? Here was no mere polemicist but an ...

Kettles boil, classes struggle

Terry Eagleton: Lukács recants, 20 February 2003

A Defence of ‘History and Class Consciousness’: Tailism and the Dialectic 
by Georg Lukács, translated by Esther Leslie.
Verso, 182 pp., £10, June 2002, 1 85984 370 0
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... celebrate the anarchic force of madness while voting Liberal Democrat. You can back Tony Blair and Pierre Bourdieu with equal enthusiasm. In the era of Bolshevism, by contrast, theory had at times to hobble hard to keep abreast of what was happening on the streets. The Petersburg Soviet tore up and rewrote Marxist theories of political power, while the ...

Makeshiftness

Barry Schwabsky: Who is Menzel?, 17 April 2003

Menzel’s Realism: Art and Embodiment in 19th-Century Berlin 
by Michael Fried.
Yale, 313 pp., £35, September 2002, 0 300 09219 9
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... of Rear Courtyard and House are indifferent to the academic notion of finish – which, as Pierre Bourdieu once put it, aims at ‘transforming the painting into a literary work’ by effacing all reference to the painting’s pictorial and material specificity. But the painting is equally distant from the rising aesthetic of the unfinished, which ...

Hyenas, Institutions and God

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 20 July 1995

The Construction of Social Reality 
by John Searle.
Allen Lane, 241 pp., £20, May 1995, 0 7139 9112 7
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... This, he says, is what the later Wittgenstein was talking about, what the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu has tried to capture in his notion of the ‘habitus’. It’s the taken-for-granted world. Some have thought of it as unconscious. That won’t do. Conscious mental states minus the consciousness is an empty riddle. The behaviourist account ...

Always On

Stephanie Burt: Facebook, 10 June 2010

The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook 
by Ben Mezrich.
Heinemann, 260 pp., £11.99, July 2009, 978 0 434 01955 7
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The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future 
by Craig Watkins.
Beacon, 249 pp., £17.50, October 2009, 978 0 8070 6193 0
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Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America 
by Julia Angwin.
Random House, 371 pp., £17.50, March 2009, 978 1 4000 6694 0
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The Tyranny of Email: The Four Thousand Year Journey to your Inbox 
by John Freeman.
Scribner, 244 pp., £17.99, October 2009, 978 1 4165 7673 0
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The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbours 
by Hal Niedzviecki.
City Lights, 256 pp., £12, May 2009, 978 0 87286 499 3
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... income or – especially – location). Tastes correlate with all those other variables – as Pierre Bourdieu never tired of showing – but their correlation is less than perfect: otherwise critics could never convince us of anything we don’t already believe. Social networks can be one more means of convincing. They are thus part of the larger ...

Maaaeeestro!

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: Gabriel García Márquez, 27 August 2009

Gabriel García Márquez: A Life 
by Gerald Martin.
Bloomsbury, 668 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 7475 9476 5
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... of celebrity, García Márquez, like Hemingway, has fallen victim to a twisted version of what Pierre Bourdieu once called the ‘biographical illusion’. Perhaps it takes a biography like this one for us to understand that, and in any event it does not diminish him as one of the great novelists of the last half-century. But it leaves one ...

Is there hope for U?

Christopher Tayler: Tom McCarthy, 21 May 2015

Satin Island 
by Tom McCarthy.
Cape, 192 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 224 09019 3
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... epistème’ into an art review – on instances of ‘pretentious bollocks’. After discovering Pierre Bourdieu, I even began to wonder if a taste for difficult, academically consecrated writers was as big a leap away from the status-prizing values of an expensive education and South-Eastern English background as I’d supposed. Over the years that ...

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