File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2000/bourdieu.0002, message 47

Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2000 12:28:07 +1000
Subject: Re: Intellectual violence

Hi all,
I know that I interrupt halfway through a conversation, so please forgive
my indiscretion.

As someone currently interrested in the genealogy of concepts that have
some social epistemology in the french history of science -- especially
those of Bachelard and Canguilhem -- it constantly strikes me as being an
odd assumption that the distinctive contributions of Bourdieu, Foucault,
Deleuze, etc.. do not have a sense of continuity in their underlying doxic

By this I simply mean that a fetish, if you like, revolving about the
formations of societal normalisation, appear to have a continued influence
in their works.  Tracing a rather obvious path from the comments of
Canguilhem in the Normal and the Pathological, I see a distinctive
theoretical substratum in his continued repititions on the logical and
societal use of normalization (and standardisation) in conceptual
understandings within science. ... And the warning about the uncritical
acceptance of common sense binaries in the works of Bachelard appears
another link with Bourdieu (he states as much in the introduction to
Practical Reason), Foucault and Deleuze.

Maybe I push this too far, but as a theoretical and rhetorical manoeuvre in
building these bridges between theoretical series, why should we swallow
the distinctive and autonomizing academic strategies of B, D and F as
anything other than strategies aimed to carve a niche in French academic

At 13:52 07/02/00 -0000, you wrote:
>>I'm personally all for using Foucault and Bourdieu as you say. But I'm
>>puzzled by the final claim "You can't mix and match in these matters." Of
>>course this means "you shouldn't" -- because there is no doubt that one can
>>(if one _could_ not, there would be no reason to forbid it like this). I
>>see two reasons one shouldn't: (1) It will lead to poor results (2) It will
>>lead to unfaithful interpretations of the figures involved (i.e. Kuhn,
>>Foucault, and Bourdieu). As for (1), I don't think you can just claim this
>>at the outset. I would argue on the contrary that interesting views almost
>>always combine resources from multiple thinkers. And as for (2), I'm not
>>even sure that that's right -- sometimes understanding some figure is best
>>furthered by intensive comparison with another.
>My argument instead would be this:
>(3) In so far as theories (sociological, philosophical) must have a degree
>of internal consistency and furthermore define themselves in opposition to
>other theories in the same area, it is inconsistent to bolt together
>conceptions from different (and inevitably mutually excluding) theories.
>Bourdieu, in particular, is very careful to distinguish his own position
>from others', even when as in the case with Foucault there appear to be a
>number of points in common.
>(4) If you take X, Y, and Z concepts from A, B, and C theories and then put
>them together, you thereby make a new theory.
>(5) Theoretical concepts are defined/take on meaning partly in relation to
>each other. Although I
>don't think we necessarily need to treat a sociological theory as a
>monolithic block, this consideration does mean that mixing and matching
>generally tends to produce not a casserole but a dog's dinner (or a dog's
>breakfast or however you like your mixed metaphors cooked).
>- Simon

Shaun Rawolle
Doctoral Candidate

Graduate School of Education
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
The University of Queensland

Phone:   07 3365 6234



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