By Jeannine Verdes-Leroux
The writer paints a hugely charged portrait of this ubiquitous "savant", denouncing his militancy, hypocrisy, elitism and self-esteem. This arguable and impassioned assault via a fellow French pupil is greater than a gauntlet thrown, it really is David taking a shot at Goliath
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Extra resources for Deconstructing Pierre Bourdieu: Against Sociological Terrorism from the Left
In short, the sociologist knows what he is doing (at the College of France): “There is no sociologist who would take the risk of destroying the thin veil of faith (or bad faith) that is the charm of all insti- < 34 > Pierre Bourdieu or A Con-Artist’s Sociology tutional pieties, if he did not have faith in the possibility, and the need, to make universal the freedom that sociology provides with regard to the institution; if he did not believe in the liberating virtues of what is undoubtedly the least illegitimate of the symbolic powers, that of science, especially when it takes the form of a science of the symbolic powers that can restore to the social subjects control of the false transcendences that are continually created and recreated out of ignorance” (p.
Given that Bourdieu makes a passing reference to “the already immense achievements of the discipline” (p. 16), it is all the more peculiar not to see him quoting other sociologists. What are these achievements, and where did they come from? Bourdieu spends most of his time repeating that sociology is a science (he uses the words science and scientist more than 70 times in one hour) and that it is not well-liked, but rather dreaded, attacked, and wrongly criticized. It is hard to choose which phrases to quote, to single out just a few statements: “the status of Sociology as a science is always < 32 > Pierre Bourdieu or A Con-Artist’s Sociology under attack, and most of all, of course, by all those who need the shadows of ignorance to ply their trade in symbols” (p.
Pierre Bourdieu tranquilly, supremely publishes whatever he likes; there is no need to verify, to work patiently, discreetly, for real: whatever he publishes is inevitably scholarly. Moreover, do you think that he verifies his own assertions? 43 How would you establish, much less prove, such a proposition? It would be very difficult. Then he repeats this assertion at every opportunity, as if repetition would take the place of proof. 44 Re-reading Bourdieu and reading articles like the one on the Watteau exhibition, I have learned how to define Bourdieu’s sociology: a con-artist’s sociology.
Deconstructing Pierre Bourdieu: Against Sociological Terrorism from the Left by Jeannine Verdes-Leroux