Bourdieu's work was primarily concerned with the dynamics of power in society, especially the diverse and subtle ways in which power is transferred and social order is maintained within and across generations. In conscious opposition to the idealist tradition of much of Western philosophy, his work often emphasized the corporeal nature of social life and stressed the role of practice and embodiment in social dynamics. Bourdieu was a prolific author, producing hundreds of articles and three dozen books, nearly all of which are now available in English. His best known book is Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste , in which he argues that judgments of taste are related to social position, or more precisely, are themselves acts of social positioning. The argument is put forward by an original combination of social theory and data from quantitative surveys, photographs and interviews, in an attempt to reconcile difficulties such as how to understand the subject within objective structures.

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Jane E. Goodman and Paul A. Silverstein , eds. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, ISBN Bourdieu In Algeria , edited by Jane E. Their accounts read more as intellectual history than empirical or theoretical critique. He argues that although root metaphors were popular within French right-wing discourse, Bourdieu and his co-author, Abdelmayek Sayad, reappropriated this language for the purposes of advancing anti-colonial critique and depicting the consequences of colonial rule.

While I would recommend this book without reservation to anyone working within a Bourdieuian tradition or interested in social scientific and intellectual history, I nevertheless do not think that the book lives up to its full potential.

Paul A. Silverstein and Jane E. This does not, however, mean that his theory cannot account for change. What remains to be well understood are the conditions under which such a disjuncture leads to: 1 hysteresis attachment to anachronistic ideas and values, reflective of a temporal lag in the process of eventual habituation , 2 chaos or capitulation disorganization of behavior and thought linked to the disappearance of any coherent vision of the future , or 3 struggle and unrest generated by a break in the doxic acceptance of the social order.

Gretchen Purser , University of California-Davis. This article was first published in H-France Review Nuclear Iran and Nuclear Israel.


Reading Bourdieu in Algeria



Pierre Bourdieu


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