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Book Title: Language and Symbolic Power|
The author of the book: Pierre Bourdieu
Edition: Harvard University Press
Date of issue: March 15th 1993
ISBN 13: 9780674510418
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.60 MB
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This volume brings together Pierre Bourdieu's highly original writings on language and on the relations among language, power, and politics. Bourdieu develops a forceful critique of traditional approaches to language, including the linguistic theories of Saussure and Chomsky and the theory of speech-acts elaborated by Austin and others. He argues that language should be viewed not only as a means of communication but also as a medium of power through which individuals pursue their own interests and display their practical competence.
Drawing on the concepts that are part of his distinctive theoretical approach, Bourdieu maintains that linguistic utterances or expressions can be understood as the product of the relation between a "linguistic market" and a "linguistic habitus." When individuals use language in particular ways, they deploy their accumulated linguistic resources and implicitly adapt their words to the demands of the social field or market that is their audience. Hence every linguistic interaction, however personal or insignificant it may seem, bears the traces of the social structure that it both expresses and helps to reproduce.
Bourdieu's account sheds fresh light on the ways in which linguistic usage varies according to considerations such as class and gender. It also opens up a new approach to the ways in which language is used in the domain of politics. For politics is, among other things, the arena in which words are deeds and the symbolic character of power is at stake.
This volume, by one of the leading social thinkers in the world today, represents a major contribution to the study of language and power. It will be of interest to students throughout the social sciences and humanities, especially in sociology, politics, anthropology, linguistics, and literature.
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Read information about the authorBourdieu pioneered investigative frameworks and terminologies such as cultural, social, and symbolic capital, and the concepts of habitus, field or location, and symbolic violence to reveal the dynamics of power relations in social life. His work emphasized the role of practice and embodiment or forms in social dynamics and worldview construction, often in opposition to universalized Western philosophical traditions. He built upon the theories of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Edmund Husserl, Georges Canguilhem, Karl Marx, Gaston Bachelard, Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, Erwin Panofsky, and Marcel Mauss. A notable influence on Bourdieu was Blaise Pascal, after whom Bourdieu titled his Pascalian Meditations.
Bourdieu rejected the idea of the intellectual "prophet", or the "total intellectual", as embodied by Sartre. His best known book is Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, in which he argues that judgments of taste are related to social position. His argument is put forward by an original combination of social theory and data from surveys, photographs and interviews, in an attempt to reconcile difficulties such as how to understand the subject within objective structures. In the process, he tried to reconcile the influences of both external social structures and subjective experience on the individual (see structure and agency).
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