Archives For Pierre Bourdieu

Author Information: Kyung-Man Kim, Sogang University, kmkim@sogang.ac.kr

Kim, Kyung-Man. “Why is Epistemology Still Relevant to the Sociology of Science? Comments on Kale-Lostuvali’s ‘Two Sociologies of Science in Search of Truth’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 4, no. 12 (2015): 29-33.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-2vB

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scientia_2012

Image credit: Babouch’, via flickr

Elif Kale-Lostuvali’s paper, “Two Sociologies of Science in Search of Truth: Bourdieu Versus Latour” reads like a chapter in the sociology of science textbook for graduate students. Although she summarizes and contrasts—well, not always in a satisfactory manner—Bourdieu’s and Latour’s view on the relationship among scientific objectivity, autonomy of the scientific field and scientific truth, she fails to provide us with a persuasive critique of Bourdieu and Latour, to say nothing of a promising alternative to their views.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Jeremy F. Lane, University of Nottingham, Jeremy.Lane@nottingham.ac.uk

Lane, Jeremy F. “Bourdieu, Science and Democracy: A Reply to Bridget Fowler and David Inglis.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 3, no. 2 (2014): 12-16.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1dv

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I should like first all of to thank both the editors of this website for affording me the opportunity to respond to my critics and those critics themselves, David Inglis and Bridget Fowler, for having taken the time to read and respond to my brief remarks on Bourdieu’s theories of language and social scientific reason. In what follows, the majority of my comments will be addressed to Bridget Fowler’s piece since, and I hope he’ll forgive me for saying this, David Inglis’s remarks seem heavier on rhetoric than on actual substance.  Continue Reading…

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…

Author Information: David Inglis, University of Exeter, D.Inglis@exeter.ac.uk

Inglis, David. “Twisting the Stick: A Reply to Jeremy Lane.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2, no. 12 (2-13): 66-68.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1as

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Jeremy Lane has been one of the most careful, balanced and fair assessors of Bourdieu’s life and intellectual career. His book (Pierre Bourdieu: A Critical Introduction, 2000) on this topic is in my view a very considerable piece of work.

Yet I think he has misinterpreted my brief comments on Susen’s paper (2013) and thus by extension on Bourdieu. He says I have wagged a “sententious” finger at the academic liberal-left. I have carefully examined my finger, using the most advanced methods of self-objectification, and find it to be not sententious but certainly a little bit naughty. The aim of my comments was in fact a Bourdieusian one — “to twist the stick in the other direction”, pour epater le bourgeois (academic field sub-type). I wanted to irritate (in both the common-sense understanding of that term, and the Luhmannian one) people of all political persuasions. But as most social theorists are placed somewhere to the left of Nick Clegg (admittedly one of life’s easier tasks), it was towards liberals and left-liberals that most of the criticism de facto was aimed. (Right-wing intellectuals have more than their fair share of unexamined assumptions (here meaning delusions) too, which I left alone on this occasion — but these today are generally more socially efficacious than those of their left-liberal counterparts: witness their recent crashing of the world economy.) Continue Reading…

Author Information: Jeremy F. Lane, University of Nottingham, Jeremy.Lane@nottingham.ac.uk

Lane, Jeremy F. “Bourdieu’s Theory of Linguistic Exchange: Realistic Description or Exclusionary Prescription?” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2, no. 12 (2013): 60-65.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-1a1

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Simon Susen’s founding assumption is that there is a fundamental opposition between Bourdieu’s theory of linguistic exchange and Habermas’s notion of an ‘ideal speech situation’. This is a perfectly reasonable assumption from which to work. As Susen himself demonstrates, it reflects Bourdieu’s own comments regarding the allegedly idealistic nature of Habermas’s theory of communicative action. Moreover, with the possible exception of William Outhwaite, Susen’s interlocutors accept the validity of this assumption, before then going on to take issue with his analyses in different ways and to varying degrees. Inasmuch as I have anything useful to add to these debates, I thought it might be worthwhile reminding Susen and his interlocutors of a moment in Bourdieu’s work where he qualifies his criticisms of Habermas’s ‘ideal speech situation’ to the point of acknowledging the potential validity of the Habermasian approach, albeit in very particular circumstances. Continue Reading…

Author Information: Philip R. Egert, Virginia Tech, pregert@vt.edu

Egert, Philip R. 2013. “A Conversation with David Hess about ‘Neoliberalism and the History of STS Theory’.” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (11): 7-12.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-12g

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Introduction

I begin this conversation with a rather extended caveat as it has some bearing on my reactions to David Hess’ “Neoliberalism and the History of STS Theory: Toward a Reflexive Sociology.”  I am a Ph.D. student in Virginia Tech’s Science and Technology in Society (STS) program in the Washington DC metro area, or as we like to say, the National Capital Region.  I purposefully chose STS as my personal foundation for a new knowledge and understanding about the world based not on the “S&T” component of STS, but for the “and Society” component.  As such, I am also what is known as a non-traditional student: a working professional who had not seen the inside of a classroom in more decades than I care to admit.

When I did find my way back to the classroom though I brought with me over 30 years of experience imposing science and technology on society both as that entrepreneur Hess writes about as well as a senior executive in a Fortune 50 corporation.   In these roles, I was both the victim and beneficiary of the social liberal and neoliberal constructions that are at the heart of Hess’ article.  Therefore, I have a unique perspective in having been an actor in both the subordinate and dominant networks, and have been both invisible and visible to the “implicit assumptions” Hess refers to.  Continue Reading…

Author Information: Libby Schweber, University of Reading, l.schweber@reading.ac.uk

Schweber, Libby. 2013. “Critical Reply to David Hess’ ‘Neoliberalism and the History of STS Theory: Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 2 (10): 7-11.

The PDF of the article gives specific page numbers. Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1Bfg0-Z2

Please refer to: Hess, David J. 2013. “Neoliberalism and the history of STS theory: Toward a reflexive sociology.” Social Epistemology 27 (2): 177-193.

Introduction

Hess’ article “Neoliberalism and the History of STS Theory: Toward a Reflexive Sociology” makes a strong bid “for a more integrated approach to the structure-agency-meaning triangle in STS via the use of field sociology.”  The paper uses the conceptual development of STS as a case study to exemplify this approach. As such, its aim is twofold, first to exemplify the application of field sociology and secondly to address a historical problem, namely, how did more structural and institutional approaches to the sociology of science come to be so marginal within STS. Continue Reading…