File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2000/bourdieu.0009, message 8

Subject: SV: discourses and positions
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 2000 14:31:35 +0200

Trevor, Pat and Phil,

> >is Bourdieu making the suggestion that there is more to life
> >than,discourse/language whereas Laclau and Mouffe deny this? Is
> >Bourdieu,arguing that social relations between groups can be analysed in
> >themselves or alongside discursive statements etc, in this case the
> >relations between the producers of culture and the consumers of culture?
> >I'm confused. Is the aim to ground discourse in the individual by
> >joining it up with class? That sounds like a very familiar strategy.
> >Have i picked this up right?

While there must be uncountable definitions of discourse around, I'm unsure
exactly as to what Bourdieu might put into that concept, and I wonder what
their status are in relation to his concepts of the totality of structured
dispositions and fields organized under the field of power (and here, again,
power appears quite different from the one e.g. Foucault is articulating).
That's why I tend to disagree with that Bourdieu operates or 'would agree
with' a definition of discourse where all objects are discursive moments. Is
the totality of structured dispositions or the field of power just another
set of discourses to Bourdieu, or do these concepts exist prior to and
independent of their discursive articulation?

> Fourth, I don't think there is any conflict in what Boudieu and Laclau &
> Mouffe say in the quoted passages. I don't think, for example, that
> Bourdieu would have any problem with Laclau & Mouffe's rejection of "the
> distinction between discursive and non-discursive practices". He does,
> afterall, speak of "the space of works or discourses" which he theorises
> within the field of stances. I think his point is that these practices are
> related to fields of positions, that there is a relationship between
> stances and positions and to broader fields of power (Bourdieu & Wacquant,
> 1992: 104-5). It reminds me in some ways of C.W. Mills' sociological
> imagination and the relationship between private troubles and
> public issues.
> There are discourse analysts who would also have no problem with this,
> those who want to broaden out what is meant by discourse, Foucault, for
> example. I also think this is at the heart of James Gee's distinction
> between Discourse (first letter capitalised) and discourse; the former
> encompassing broad notions of what discourse involves and the latter more
> narrower linguistic versions. So, maybe Laclau & Mouffe's is of the former
> kind, broad and encompassing. I don't think Bourdieu would have problems
> with that. My only concern is that when we speak about discourse not
> everyone is speaking about the same thing. I guess that was also Gee's
> dilemma. I tend to 'resolve' it, in part, by also speaking of ideology.

I tend to believe that Bourdieu operates with a more narrow sense of
discourse, as you point out. In that case, the space of works or discourses
could be understood quite literally as a physical body of tangible texts
whose meaning is (relatively) dependent upon a prediscursive (?) totality of
structured dispositions. How do you see ideology intervening or resolving
the apparent contradiction?



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