File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_1999/bourdieu.9905, message 68

Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 17:57:39 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: Language

> torturing the reader? Post-structuralism says nothing?Not that one has
> to be a disciple of Bourdieu to be in this newsgroup, but that is a
> rather broad and anti-bourieuian statement...or at least an ignorance of
> his writings

Responding to each point:  

- I said that *some* post-structuralist (which I picked on as an example,
along with post-modernist) *writing* seems to be an example of saying
nothing in a complex way.  This does not suggest that post-structuralism
(or post-modernism) says nothing.  In context, it was a reply to what
seemed to me to be encouragements to unnecessary complexity of language. 
As I said, I agree with many of the points raised, but such exhortations
may, if not checked, lead us down the path towards the sort of writing
ridiculed by people like Sokal.  

It is part of the logic of the intellectual field that when one says
something even slightly critical in tone against any position, however
much that position is at one extreme, that one is positioned by its
holders as being at the other extreme.  Intellectual debate thrives on
false dichotomies.  Clear language OR complex jargon.  In posting the
email I was in no way, as my stating that I agreed with many of the points
made should have made clear, arguing the opposite position.  

- Re it being rather broad.  Taking into account the above (re it
referring to *some* and *writing* rather than 'post-structuralism as a
whole'), it isn't that broad

- Re it being anti-Bourdieu.  Not in the slightest, Kent.  There was I
thinking that Bourdieu was one of the few sociologists who, even when he
writes on more 'theoretical' issues, is actually saying something of great
interest and import which (mostly) would be difficult to say in anything
other than a complex fashion.  Perhaps I was wrong.  He also, it seems to
me, is rather careful in defining his terms and doesn't just pick up the
latest tropes like a fashion accessory.  If, however, you or anyone else
sees Bourdieu in this way, then I guess it could be seen as

I'm not convinced that Bourdieu could be assimilated to the position I
suggested was not the most fruitful, and so cannot see how what I said was
anti-bourdieuan.  He is certainly in no way an exemplar of the sort of
literary-cultural metaphorical discourse I was referring to.  As for it
being 'an ignorance of his writings' ...  hmmmm.  Perhaps someone else
could comment on the strategic value of such a suggestion.  

With best wishes,


Karl Maton
School of Education, University of Cambridge
17 Trumpington Street, Cambridge, England  CB2 1QA
 Tel. + 44 (0) 1223 336288
 Fax: + 44 (0) 1223 332894
'Sick down to my heart ... but that's just the way it goes'



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