Pierre Bourdieu 1930-2002);French cultural anthropologist: Biography and famous works

Pierre Bourdieu 1930-2002) was a French cultural anthropologist, sociologist and public intellectual. He was born in Béarn in southwestern France. He studied alongside Gerard Genette and Jacques Derrida, two of the future greats, at the prestigious École Normale Supérieure, where he earned his agrégé de philosophie. After that, he taught for a year at a provincial lyceum before being called up to the military in 1956 and serving for two years. Like France’s other extraordinary social anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss, he dealt with a Doctorat d’état under Georges Canguilhem’s management, yet he never completed it.Algeria demonstrated a groundbreaking encounter for Bourdieu and as opposed to get back to France after his deployment was finished, he remained on for an additional two years, instructing at the College of Algiers. In 1960, he returned to France to work as a junior lecturer at the University of Lille and as a research assistant for Raymond Aron at the Sorbonne. He finally got a job at L’École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris in 1964, where he stayed for two decades before being promoted to the Collège de France.

Although professionally speaking Bourdieu turned his back on his philosophical training in order to pursue a career in anthropology and sociology, his work betrays a keen sense of the importance of well-founded concepts and it is precisely his conceptual inventions that brought international attention to his work. At the core of his work, there are three concepts that taken together comprise the basic methodological apparatus Bourdieu conceived for himself very early on in his career and applied with increasing sophistication throughout the rest of his life: ‘practice’, ‘habitus’, and ‘field’. His first attempt to sketch out his theoretical model in detail can be found in Esquisse d’une théorie de la pratique (1972), translated as Outline of a Theory of Practice (1977), which uses his fieldwork in Kabylia in Algeria as a springboard. An inveterate reviser (the English translations of his works are often dramatically different from their putative French originals), Bourdieu produced a second, more rigorous version of his method a decade later in Le Sens pratique (1980), translated as The Logic of Practice (1990). As is indicated in the French title of this work (and mysteriously lost in the translation), Bourdieu’s work focuses on identifying and articulating what he calls ‘practical sense’, or what he also calls the subjective understanding and manipulation of objective structures.

Also read; Richard Hoggart (1918-2014); Biography and his famous work ‘The Uses of Literacy’

Practical sense amounts to knowing how to ‘play the game’ (an analogy Bourdieu himself frequently uses). For example, Bourdieu’s analyses of the art and academic worlds, Les Règles de l’art (1992), which has been translated into The Rules of Art (1996), and Homo Academicus (1984), which has been translated into Homo Academicus (1988), show how important patronage is. According to Bourdieu, patronage is often more important than actual talent because it is perfectly possible for mediocre talents to rise to prominence in their respective fields by being adept at making use of its possibilities Therefore, Bourdieu uses the term ‘field’ to refer to the relatively closed system of a particular commercial, professional, or social milieu and its internal rules, such as the paradox that the most valuable works in both art and academia are those that were created without the intention of creating value. Value, as demonstrated by Bourdieu in his most well-known work, La Distinction: critique sociale du jugement (1979) translated as Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (1984), is never just ever a basic matter of relegating a cost, however should continuously be viewed as in its social and social aspect.

Bourdieu was a prolific author who published more than 30 monographs up until his untimely death. He made time in his final years to write more directly about social issues and take on a more public intellectual role. This is typical of the massive group project La misère du monde (1993), also known as The Weight of the World (1999). In this project, Bourdieu and a large group of collaborators set out to record the voices of the socially repressed and speak out against the economic system that puts them in such terrible circumstances.

Also read; John Rawls (1921-2002); American philosopher and his book A Theory of Justice