File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2001/bourdieu.0107, message 33

Subject: Re: Bourdieu and North American literacy education:good question
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 06:46:40 

North American literacy,

Well it is somewhat, tho not much to blame the grad committees. The 
secondary schools resist any type of questioning given its affection for 
standardized testing concerning boring american history etc. My remarks will 
be reserved for junior and senior faculty at research universities 
responsible for "training" grad students.  I have been attending a large big 
ten research university to set the ground work.  I had to learn/read 
Bourdieu completely by myself in addition to teaching and taking classes. To 
raise the vulgar Marxist point this university as most others hired way to 
many grad students to teach classes so that they didn't have to hire profs.  
The question we all ask ourselves is what we do afterward.

    I have to say after reading some innane requests for citations and 
posing your question is refreshing.  My initial reaction is the split 
between French/continental pedagogy and ango-american.  There are two 
points, in my experience in American academia, that bear on this question. 
While B. makes a strong argument against the intellectualism of philosophy, 
he does not in anyway tie it to rigor thought or writing. The Anglo-American 
tradition is far too utilitarian and pragmatic and wants a method or a 
theory which explains social phenomenon in path of the sciences. This is not 
to to say B. is no just more  in the continental and 
Nietzschian sense of the word.
     My experience, as an American Studies major who works between various 
disciplines lead to two observations both as a researcher and teacher. The 
"social scientist" doen't want to mess with his language, which looks 
philosophical in its rigorousness, but is not philosophical
in the traditional disciplinary sense. So you have American social 
scientists who ignore the "theoretical" aspect of his work and pick out 
certain concepts for empirical verification, without recognizing his 
nondistinction between theory and methodololgy, because they have not been 
exposed to the philosophical tradition. B. makes this point over and can not understand his work without understanding the 
philosophical or rather the theoretical tradition from which he comes.  
Being between disciplines I see all the cracks in the contemporary 
sociological curriculum which focuses solely on empirical facts and gives a 
facile nod to theory as outdated...even Marx, Durkheim, Polanyi
etc.  Its too much bother to read them other than quick citation so that one 
can fill their vita.
   The reading of B. in comparison is a question of filling one's vita is of 
vital interest in understanding the reading of B.  He takes time. Time and 
urgency and doxa is of most import to Bourdieu.  One this point we can 
introduce his point of self-reflexivity, which most ignore, but is of 
supreme consequence in regard to social action. Those who use his concepts 
in a cookie cutter fashion disregard the importance he places in the 
relationally of his concepts and reify them as pure intellectualism or 
empiricism.  why does this happen?   North American Literacy.
   To get thru grad school you pick a little niche.....if you hope to 
impress the committee which might hire you.  Forget the fact that things 
like phenomonology exist, or various readings of Marx or Baudrillard...this 
stuff is a distraction to those who evaluate one to advance and receive 
FUNDING. It is not brain science. why has not someone undertaken a study 
similar to Bourdieu's of American Academia?  I don't see them published and 
not to sound self-severing when I tried to undertake a project for 
prelims....pure disavowal reared its ugly head from two Ivy league profs and 
I see it here way too often in people not taking B. concept of refexivity 
seriously enough, mostly interpreting it as a Marxian Critique and thinking 
that good is good

kent strock
Purdue university

>From: "Albright, James" <>
>To: "''" 
>Subject: Bourdieu and North American literacy education
>Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 18:07:27 -0400
>Wacquant and Bourdieu together and separately discuss factors that
>contribute to the possible misreading of Bourdieu's work and project in
>North American academic circles. Others (eg. Swartz)also have commented on
>this issue.
>I am interested in this question. Specifically, I am currently studying how
>Bourdieu's work has been received in North American education, in 
>within critical pedagogy and literacy education . Too frequently, I believe
>his methodology and analysis has been read as overly reproductive and
>pessemistic (See Giroux). I would perfer to read any gaps or silences in
>Bourdieu's work as opportunities for further inquiry, given the utility of
>his theoretical tool chest and mid-range theorizing rather than reasons for
>I was wondering if others, again especially in literacy and education, 
>or contest the readings. Grenfell, et al in in Britain and Luke and 
>and Carrington and Luke in Australia have productively argued for
>Bourdieuian perspectives in their respective fields. Does anyone see such
>work possible in North America and/or do you know of such work being done 
>North America?
>Thank you,
>Prof. Jim Albright
>New York

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