Notes on Bourdieu

Bourdieu (2004)
The Science of Science and Reflexivity

“One’s social past is particularly burdensome when it comes to doing social science – whatever that past and that identity may be, working-class or bourgeois, male or female,” writes Bourdieu (p. 109).

What does he have in mind in making this comment? How does a “socioanalysis” work and why is it important (see p. 113)? Is Bourdieu commenting on method, the presuppositions of doing science, issues related to gender and class, or something else?

Bourdieu’s point: The Science of Science—“one way of scientific inquiry”—Reflexivity in /of /within /between habitus is Knowledge.

Implications for Political Science: External objectification of ideology, culture, new institutions as exogenous structures that are structuring; holding and taking positions in space—pure forms utilized in human behavior; reality, to construct all things political by civil society. For example, research about liberalism, republicanism, or authoritarianism—as structures (e.g., measuring public opinion against legislation and behavior); empirically, may be accounted for via habitus and reflexivity.

In doing social science
• “pure” science
– perfectly autonomous
• and developing according to own internal logic
– “scientific community” arises (45).
• The FACT of reality:
– Sometimes ferocious struggles
– Competition within structure of domination
– “Monopoly” to handle “scientific goods”
• Correct method, correct finding, methods, etc (45).

Bourdieu commenting on method
• A discipline is defined by a possession of collective capital of specialized methods and concepts (65):
– Produces the disciplinary habitus (the scientist)
– Historical transcendental (up-to-date habitus)
– System of schemes of perception (habitus identified)
– System self censors (fighting habitus denies entry)
• Scientific imagination (30) (Imagine your habitus)
• Functioning habitus, scholastic illusion (37)

presuppositions of doing science
• Competence: (51) (The successful scientist)
– mastery of existing knowledge in your field
– incorporate all theoretical-experimental resources from previous research
– Transform above points into practical sense of the game
– Convert them into reflexes (ready for Kuhn’s revolutionary break).
– You have habitus.

Get the picture, Oh Downsians!

particularly burdensome
• Objectivation of subject
– Position of subject in social space (reflexivity)
– His or her position and trajectory
– Membership to social-religious groups (distortion).
• Objectivate their position in their field
– Differentiate traditions and particularities
– Habits of thought, rituals, censorship
• Objectivate everything in scholastic universe
– Illusion or absence of illusion
– Pure, absolute, disinterested point of view (94).

…in making this comment
• Social Scientist’s “…perception, this vision [of subject], varies according to the agents dispositions” (59).
• Social scientist “may rule out some sectors, disdaining them as uninteresting or unimportant” (59).
• “community… which enable everyone to attune himself to everyone else” (74).
• Social scientist has special ambition “to utter the truth, or worse, to define the conditions in which one can utter the truth” (87).
• Sociologist must avoid being “narcissistic”—a “complacent looking-back by the researcher on his own experience” (89).
• Narcissism leads to no practical effect (89).

How does a “socioanalysis” work
• Experience to one’s past must be mobilized (113)
– Personally ponder: “hello habitus?”
• The relation to the past that remains must be socioanalysed.
• Socioanalysis makes it possible to:
– Rationalize scientific strategies, without cynicism.
– Understand the game instead of suffering the game.
– To a point you may “learn lessons”
– Self-interested lucidity of competitors
– Bringing to consciousness the social foundations of intellectual affinities.

why is socioanalysis important?
• Analysis of the scientific mind (113)
– Benefits from lucidity
– Lucidity constantly feeds upon itself
– Explore more profoundly the social unconscious (of the sociologist)
– Intuition
– Social experience (crisis, conversions, reconversions) may be converted from handicap to capital.
– Reflexivity may free participants from biases linked to his or her positions or dispositions (114).

Points of Clarification
• Scientist’s relationship between a habitus and a field
– Because of social trajectory (social past)
• Bourdieu was not model for philosophy
– Educational trajectory
• Bourdieu was not a model for sociology
}} In publishing research—be sure to tell your story—connections, in the first footnote.
– Personal views distorted his reflexivity.
– His childhood experiences…he’s a human.

Habitus
• Reflexivity, aimed at objectivating the transcendental unconscious… his habitus as a historical transcendential.
Reflexivity

Bourdieu’s point: The Science of Science—“one way of scientific inquiry”—Reflexivity in /of /within /between habitus is Knowledge.

One Implication for Political Science: External objectification of ideology, culture, new institutions as exogenous structures that are structuring; holding and taking positions in space—pure forms utilized in human behavior; reality, to construct all things political by civil society. For example, research about liberalism, republicanism, or authoritarianism—as structures (e.g., measuring public opinion against legislation and behavior); empirically, may be accounted for via habitus and reflexivity.

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One thought on “Notes on Bourdieu

  1. Pingback: More Research, Less “Closure” | Political Pipeline

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