Author Information: Bridget Fowler, University of Glasgow, Bridget.Fowler@glasgow.ac.uk
Fowler, Bridget. “Jeremy Lane’s Comments on the Bourdieu and Language Debate: A Brief Reply.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 1 (2013): 1-4.
The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1b3
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Lane’s basic argument might be best summed up as the claim that Bourdieu reserves for sociology a monopoly of critical reason and hence the potential for any resistance. The corollary of this, for Lane, is that Bourdieu believes that ordinary men and women are trapped by both embodied complicity and a logic of improvisational practice that together consign them to a fatalistic adjustment to the world. More pertinently, he charges Bourdieu with having such a low opinion of practical reason as to be aligned dangerously with those sociologists who have become entangled with conservative thinkers: he is perhaps alluding to Parsons’ structural-functionalism or to Nisbet’s disputable claims that Durkheim is the bearer of anti-revolutionary conservative thought: that of de Maistre and de Bonald in France, or Burke in Britain. In brief, Lane is effectively arguing that there is a profound homology between Bourdieu and Burke’s denigration of the “swinish multitude”. This is an extraordinary claim given that Bourdieu consistently upbraided those “present-day structuralist readers of Marx” who believed that dominated agents were merely the bearers of social structures (1990, 41), given, too, that he spoke, as the winner of the Ernst Bloch Prize, about coupling social realism with “civic utopianism” (Bourdieu, 1998a), and given that his last major book (2000) ends by invoking the margin of liberty which allows a break with the mechanisms of social reproduction. Continue Reading…