Remembering B


New term, clean slate. Starting it off right, with a Bourdieu vs Goldthorpe showdown.

Timely, to remember the French sociologist who was a big influence on the decision to pursue what I currently pursue. Next week, 23 January 2012, marks the 10th year since his passing.

I remember the day when I was watching the VHS of the Sociology is a Martial Art and scribbling down translations from the subtitles.

“A committed intellectual is involved in politics? No. A committed individual is involved in the public arena: we cannot lose touch, forget, ordinary demands; lest you enter politics and spout nonsense”

(At a forum, when audience cheered after a question was asked) “Please do not clap. Trust isn’t left to clap-o-metres”

“Don’t let your righteous indignation blind you and deprive you of the tools of understanding”

“Intellectualism isn’t a disease”

“Deadlines are a way of controlling yourself – so you do not end up with a 150-page introduction”

“Generalisation is intolerable to sociologists. Be specific.”

“Always ask: ‘What are his social reasons for saying these?'”

Wacquant’s tribute to Bourdieu in 2006 concluded with this:

In his many interventions before fellow scientists, unionists, social activists of various stripes and in editorial pieces published in the major dailies and weeklies of France, Germany, Argentina or Greece, as well as in his ostensibly scientific works, Bourdieu doggedly pursued a single aim: to forestall or prevent abuses of power in the name of reason and to disseminate weapons for resistance to symbolic domination. If social science cannot stipulate the political goals and moral standards we should pursue, as Emile Durkheim had hoped, it can and must contribute to the elaboration of “realistic utopias” suited to guiding collective action and to promoting the institutionalization of justice and freedom. The ultimate purpose of Bourdieu’s sociology, then, is nothing other than to foster the blossoming of a new, self-critical, Aufklärung fit for the coming millenium. By directing us to probe the foundations of knowledge, the structures of social being, and the hidden possibilities of history, it offers us instruments of individual and collective self-appropriation and thus of wisdom –it helps us pursue, as it were, the originary mission of philosophy.


2 thoughts on “Remembering B

  1. I love Bordieu’s interviews on Youtube, he’s so eloquent yet with simple language. You can’t help but love him

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