File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_1997/97-04-25.090, message 54

Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 19:39:52  +0000
Subject: Re: Bourdieu and structuralism

--On Fri, Feb 28, 1997 12:15 "Carsten Sestoft" <>

> On the 26th, Rob Moore wrote, as a comment to my post of the same date:
>  Durkheim provided a rigerous
> >anti-humanism that surely provides the source for Althussser,
> >Foucault & others. I am not qualified to comment on the specificities of
> >routes of influence & transmission (Georges Dumezil etc), but 'simply
> >reinvented some of it' is rather difficult, I think.
> I see that my comment was so short and elliptic as to be
> what I wanted was to point to the ambiguity of the word "source" (the
> goes for "inspiration" and "influence"), which can be understood in a
> number of ways.
> Having studied the matter, I remain convinced that Durkheim was not a
> source for Foucault in the sense that Foucault developed his project in
> explicit relation to the works of Durkheim (like he did in relation to
> Dumezil, to Levi-Strauss, to Kant, whom he read and discussed); his
> contempt for sociology--called "doxologie" in "Les Mots et les
> much too great for that.
> But Durkheim may have been a source for Foucault in the sense of the
> by Basil Bernstein quoted by you, namely that Durkheim has had a sort of
> general influence, which has been filtered through for instance the
> school, Dumezil and Levi-Strauss and many others, so that some of the
> epistemological foundations reached Foucault but without the name
> "Durkheim" attached to them. Having furthermore had much the same sort of
> philosophical schooling as Durkheim--the agregation de philosophie from
> Ecole Normale Superieure--Foucault may very well have been capable of
> reinventing some of the ideas of Durkheim, without knowing that he was
> doing it, since he probably thought he was combatting the philosophy of
> subject of Sartre who in his time had combatted the philosophy witout a
> subject of Durkheim. Anna Boschetti mentions such a possibility in her
> "Sartre et Les Temps Modernes" (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1985, pp.
> 249-250), in which she finds that Sartre in his "Qu'est-ce que la
> litterature?" reinvented some of the ideas of Lukacs, but apparently
> without knowing the works of Lukacs.
> An interesting book in this context is Didier Eribon: Foucault et ses
> contemporains. Paris: Fayard, 1994. The "Dialogue a propos de l'histoire
> culturelle" between Pierre Bourdieu, Robert Darnton, and Roger Chartier,
> Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, # 59, September 1985, may
> be of interest.
> Best wishes,
> Carsten Sestoft
> University of Copenhagen
>>>>Thanks for this. I am particularly interested in the implications of
these observations for ideas about the formation of theoretical matrices
within intellectual fields and especially how 'originality' comes to be
constructed through the interplay between implicit or tacit knowledge of
intellectual lineages and that which is explicitly acknowledged (I
addressed aspects of this in British Journal of Sociology of Education vol
17: 4 Dec 1996). I am working from Bernstein's ideas on
'recontextualisation' and am especially impressed by the manner in which
Durkheim has been recontextualised within Anglo-American social theory in
such a way that intellectual connections with contemporary French social
theory are completely unacknowledged. Hence: what is the role of French
thinking within the recontextualising processes of Anglo-American social
> **********************************************************************
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