File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_1997/97-04-25.090, message 42

Date: Mon, 24 Feb 1997 21:51:16  +0000
Subject: Re: Bourdieu and structuralism

--On Mon, Feb 24, 1997 15:42 "George Free" <>

> On Thu, 20 Feb 1997, Barberi Alessandro wrote:
> [snip]
> > connection of those methods. For example: Bourdieu starts his wonderful
> > "Lecon sur la lecon" with a tribute to historical epistemology of
> > Canguilhem and Foucault and asserts 
> > "The epistemological criticism needs sociological criticism." (my
> > translation) It is the statement of a sociologist, and so there is no
> > problem for sociologists, but I would say - and it is ironic -: "The
> > sociological criticism of epistemology needs an archaelogical
> > criticism."
> 	Perhaps we could advance this discussion if you explained why
> sociological criticism of epistemology needs an archaeological criticism.

> (Sorry, I miss the irony in your statement.)
> > 
> > Foucault "positivity": The term means discursive appearance of an
> > in an archaeological order and has nothing to do with
> > nonconsciousness.(difference object-being!) Foucaults theory is
> > definitively no psychology (or sociology). His analysis refer
> > word-for-word to a "manifest" level, n e v e r to an latent subsoil.(In
> > the order of things you can not find the word "structur")
> > 
> 	Yes, Foucault polemicizes against the notion of unconscious (e.g,
> that discursive events should be explained by hidden causal factors, like
> psychological drives or economic motives). However, I think it is fair to
> say that the structures (systems of relations) he identifies are
> "nonconscious."  They are clearly not internal to the thinking subejct
> are thus not products of consciousness as such--hence, "nonconscious."
> Bourdieu argues that the recognition of nonconscious structures is the
> defining moment of sociology, i.e., it constitutes its (scientific) break
> with philosophies of consciousness and common sense explanations of
> life. 
> 	I wrote:
>  > 
> > Foucault rightly criticizes the
> > > transcendentalist tradition of western philosophy, but he turns them 
> [ie., the systems of knowledge] into
> > > autonomous structures that are wholly sui generis and
> > 
> Alessandro wrote:
> > False! He does not use the term structure, and the "episteme" is n o
> > structure like Saussures "systems", or Jakobsons linguistic
> > constructions, or Lacans unconsciousness. I think we should debate the
> > term "structure" and also "structuralism".  
> > 
> 	Yes, Foucault does something quite different than the linguistic 
> structuralists--his approach is based in a comparative history of ideas, 
> I think. However, it is in my view fair to say that he reduces events to 
> self-functioning systems--or at least this is the implication of his 
> analysis--for there is no explanation of change in his work. Foucault 
> contributes greatly to the understanding of the different systems of 
> thought, pointing out their main transformations, however, he does not 
> provide any explanation for these changes, nor does his method allow for 
> such an explanation. Thus, while he contributed greatly to the study of 
> the history of thought, there are some limitations to his method.
> 	Thanks for your other comments. I appreciate your attempt to 
> think through the differences between Foucault and Bourdieu and 
> archaeology and the sociology of knowledge. It raises a lot of difficult 
> issues.
> cheers,
> George

>>>>>>>>Very interested in these bits I've picked up - for both Bourdieu &
Foucault, it might be useful to go back to Durkheim - esp. his critique of
humanism in Evolution of the Education system in France and his discussion
of science and the externality of the social as the structuring principle
of consciousness (but not a 'subconscious unconscious') in Sociology and
Education. Surely for both B & F, Durkheim is the source???

Best wishes,

Rob Moore, Cambridge, Eng.
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