Autonomy, Reciprocity and Science in the Thought of Pierre Bourdieu

Fowler, B. (2006) Autonomy, Reciprocity and Science in the Thought of Pierre Bourdieu. Theory, Culture and Society, 23(6), pp. 99-117.

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This article addresses the increasingly widespread view that Bourdieu's sociological analysis is flawed by excessive determinism & thus is anti-rationalist in its socio-political implications. Against this contention, it argues that works such as Distinction should be viewed as critiques of an absolutist universalism rather than of universalism as such. Moreover, Bourdieu's logic of practice, it is claimed, caters not only for a degree of autonomy at the level of the individual, but also identifies two key intellectual fields as pivotal cultural accumulators of autonomous or critical thought: the artistic field & the scientific field. In this context, it is particularly important that one of his very late works, Science of Science and Reflexivity, gives such a vital role to the free 'corporation' of scientists as judges of scientific reputations. His concept of artistic autonomy is further explored by illustrations from case studies in historical sociology, by writers who have been decisively influenced by his sociology of literature. The article ends with an application of his ideas to contemporary newspaper obituaries of cultural producers. This illuminates in particular an underlying issue in his sociology: current dangers to artistic autonomy.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Autonomy, Bourdieu, Pierre, Determinism, Habitus, Universalism
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:Theory, Culture and Society

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