File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_1999/bourdieu.9905, message 70

Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 19:04:56 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: Empathy as a logic of practice

A brief comment on Kent's comments.  

> previous posts about your work and it sounds fascinating. 

Yes, it does.  

> wrote below, I am no expert, and don't want to be one. I think the problem 
> of the use of B. is the tension between not taking what he has given us as 
> dogma, but tools and those who do only take one concept and refuse to do the 
> hardwork of having empathy for his text and the relationality of the 
> thinking and concepts.

I couldn't agree more.  The relational nature of Bourdieu's theory and
methodology is fundamental and crucial for understanding any specific
aspect of the framework.  It thus sounds, from what you wrote, that your
approach was very much within a relational mode of thinking and so you
(original poster) are on the right track as far as using PB's approach.  

This latter group tends to want simple language which 
> B. railed against incessantly, not only in the spirit of Nietzsche, but as a 
> political tool. 

This is to elide two positions.  Although I disagree with both, one can
distinguish between those who take one aspect of Bourdieu's work,
decontextualise it and reify it, and those who demand simplicity and
transparency and rail against anything which isn't everyday language.  The
two groups of actors, the two positions, are not the same. 

Those who have fetishized simplicity, employing some moral 
> position, I think miss the big picture of his work. Not that one has to 
> agree with it, but respecting the reasoning of his arguement about the 
> practice of logic in writing academic discourse. Or raising the flag of 
> Adorno who occupied a totally different historical social position of the 
> academic.  

This, if it is a reference to my email, is simply wrong-headed.  If you
reread my email you'll see that I mentioned Adorno as also arguing that
the demand for transparency was a form of reactionary anti
-intellectualism.  (Or are we to confine our discussion to Bourdieu

You have obviously grasped the "project" in my opinion and used 
> them effectively and made them very understandable, but perhaps the 
> profundity of it will be underappreciated by those who praise clarity, but 
> haven't READ B.  

again, I may be taking this wrongly and I apologise if I am, but if this
refers to what I said I simply think you're targeting your anger at
entirely the wrong person.  I did not 'praise clarity'.  And the strategic
nature of proclaiming others to be non-readers of Bourdieu is obvious.  It
is certainly less helpful to the person who asked for advice than it is a
'talking loudly so others may hear' manouevre. Perhaps we should continue
this discussion off-list.  Certainly, if my opinions were allowed to be
voiced, rather than having all sorts of things read into what was a
passing comment, then Kent would find that we agree on a lot.  I feel that
I'm getting the brunt of fire which should and would be more usefully
directed elsewhere.  

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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