Re: foucault and bourdieu

On Sun, Feb 18, 1996 1:01:50 AM at Spoon Collective wrote:

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Date: Sat, 17 Feb 1996 09:13:54 -0500 (EST)
>From: ANTOINE GOULEM <goua@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>To: Chris Mitchell <chrismi@xxxxxxxxxx>
>Cc: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: foucault in english and en francais
>On the Bourdieu l*st, someone recently posted to ask for some help on
>theirdissertation. Our colleague was looking into the diffrent
>receptionthat Bourdieu's sociological work enjoyed (sort of ironic) in
>anglo-speaking academic communities as compared to its reception in
>France. Does anyone on this l*st know of any such comparative work on
>Foucault. I'd also be interested to compare the reception of Foucault's
>work across disciplinary lines. I'm a philosophy student, and the
>impression I get is that there is a certain similarity in the manner of
>the dismissal of Foucault's work in philosophy, and the response to that
>work that I've witnessed over the last week or so, on another l*st I
>subscribe to, this one devoted to 18th century literature and history.
>The response seems to be divided along the lines thatwe witness on our
>l*st: is foucault 'just' a cultural relativist or is there a humanist
>content recoverable from his work. These two positions are taken up from
>both the pro and the con perspective. That is, there are thosewho attack

>Fpoucault for being a cultural relativist, and others who defend him on
>that basis, and some who attack him for falling back into a latent or
>hidden humanist agenda, while others who insist that this is the point of

>his work.
>Antoine Goulem

This is an interesting question that I have been toying with lately, though
I'm not sure I have anything really concrete to offer. I mean, it would be
possible to write up an inventory of all those features which they share
and which distinguish them from eachother, which would probably be an
immense task. On a general level, bourdieu's writings on the body in Logic
of Practice and again in Distinction sometimes looks like Foucault's late
writings on ethics, and I think in Invitation to Reflexive sociology he
actually addressess the question of this contrast directly. Otherwise, I
think that bourdieu permits a sort of limited degree of subjective agency
in playing the game of cultural consumption that Foucault would find
frighteningly humanist. Foucault's insistence on the normative apparatus
of institutional discourses as inscribing subjectivity would remind
bourdieu too much of levi strauss's structuralism, one of his favourite
betes noire.

Perhaps this contrast would gain some real coherence if it were brought to
a specific question. I know that Axel Honneth has written on Bourdieu in
relation to assorted habermassian concerns about normativity, discourse
ethics etcetera. In fact, his recent book on social pathology or something
has a chapter on Bourdieu's game theory, which is trashed for not
permitting communicative consensus between players. Since this critiuqe is
often made of Foucault by various habermassians, looking at Honneths
treatment of bourdieu (and I think foucault gets a chapter) might help to
draw out and contrast some of their defining features.



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