File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_1998/bourdieu.9806, message 32

Subject: Re: actor, agent
Date: Sun, 28 Jun 98 09:51:08 +0200

Why is it that actors has to obey the rules of the game more than agents? 
To me it seems like the contrary is just as plausible.
On what do you base the notion that actors acts more rational and 
predicable than agents (or anyone else)? Is it the fact that s/he has 
written lines, defined scenes, and a rehearsed end to carry out?  
Or do you use "actor" as a sociological term, which does not correspond 
with what the word actor describes outside of the sociological field?

Acting in a professional sense is not a mechanical thing, on the contrary 
: an actor has as many possibilities as he can think of, or create, when 
playing a carracter.  It isn't the end of the play that makes the acting 
work, neither is it the text in itself. It is the logic that occurs 
within the frame of the play and everything with which it is related 
(such as audience, tradition, critics, collegues a.s.o). An actor does 
not overlook or controle the content of his acting, or the play, or the 
scenes - even if he knows the lines and the action. 
The relations and the elements of acting seems to me to be very paralell 
to those of the social world.  We all know our end, we do not choose our 
language or our social status, many of the situations we live are 
predictable and in a certain sense rehearsed by our experience and 
education. Yet we are not rational or predictable like puppets. Neither 
is an actor in a role.
I do not see that the word agent gives more sense to Bourdieus concept of 
habitus, at least not when he speaks of social games and stakes. An agent 
is a representative, an officially chosen delegate (according to the 
dictionary). It lacks the possibility of individualistic variations and 
the sense of complete presence in the game that the word actor contains.  

Lene Berg

Erik Hoogcarspel wrote:
>I think the concept of actor better fits in with sociology that's inspired 
>by Wittgensteins language-game theory. An actor acts rationally or 
>predictably because s/he cannot ignore the rules of the game. It might be 
>more clear to reserve the word 'agent' for Bourdieu's more historical 
>approach, where habitus is not just a rule, but a structuring structured 


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