Simon Susen’s “Bourdieusian Reflections on Language: Unavoidable Conditions of the Real Speech Situation”—A Rejoinder

Fowler, B. (2013) Simon Susen’s “Bourdieusian Reflections on Language: Unavoidable Conditions of the Real Speech Situation”—A Rejoinder. Social Epistemology, 27(3-4), pp. 250-260. (doi:10.1080/02691728.2013.818735)

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This short article is a response to Simon Susen’s “Bourdieusian reflections on language: Unavoidable conditions of the real speech situation”, a rigorous analysis of Bourdieu’s theory of language. Susen succeeds in drawing out from Bourdieu’s works a consistent and persuasive account of the role of language as cultural capital, thus elucidating the various means by which language can serve as a vehicle for domination. In this respect, he greatly adds to our knowledge of Bourdieu as a theorist of reproduction. Susen also clarifies our understanding of the other roles for language, including the importance of linguistic resources for social communication in building a better society; he argues that, in these respects, Bourdieu’s conception of language is too limited. The present rejoinder to Susen takes issue with some of his contentions. It claims that in Bourdieu’s entire oeuvre, the following two concerns can be highlighted: (a) Bourdieu as a theorist of the reproduction of capitals; and (b) Bourdieu as a theorist of historical transformation. It is proposed that in respect of transformation, language also plays an important role for Bourdieu in enhancing agents’ margins of liberty. It thus opens up opportunities for reflexive decisions about social practices.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Fowler, Professor Bridget
Authors: Fowler, B.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Social Epistemology
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1464-5297

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