THEORY OF SOCIAL SPACE Pierre Bourdieu, Epistemology...


The most outstanding figure in world sociology for the last several decades is Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002). He made a creative evolution from philosophy to anthropology, and then to sociology. The central ideas of his theoretical concept are social space, field, cultural and social capital, habitus. Of great importance is the ethical side of the doctrine and the desire to build a just society based on republican values.

P. Bourdieu in the creative arsenal of 26 monographs and dozens of articles on the methodology of social cognition, the stratification of society, the sociology of power and politics, education, art and mass culture, ethnology. His works are translated into all European languages. On the strength of the impact on his era P. Bourdieu is compared with J.-P. Sartre and considered the greatest sociologist of modern times.

Bourdieu Pierre (Bourdicu) (1930-2002) - French sociologist, philosopher, culturologist. He was born in a village on the border with Spain, in the family of a postal official. Having graduated from the Higher Pedagogical School in 1955, he taught philosophy at the Lyceum of Moulin, in 1958 he left for Algeria, where he continued his teaching work and began sociological research. From Algeria, he moved to Lille, and then to Paris, where in 1964 he became a research director at the Higher Practical Research School. In 1975, he founded and headed the Center for European Sociology, as well as the magazine "Scholars in Social Sciences", which, along with the "French Sociological Journal" is considered the leading sociological journal of France. In 1981 he was elected a full member of the French Academy and became the head of the department of sociology at the College de France. Buried at the Pere Lachaise cemetery.

Epistemology of the knowing subject

In his methodology, two principal approaches are used: 1) structuralism - there are objective structures in the social system that do not depend on the consciousness and will of people, but can stimulate one or another of their actions and aspirations; 2) constructivism - actions of people, conditioned by life experience, socialization process, forming the "social agent as a truly practical operator of constructing objects". In this case, the first approach tends to macro, and the second - to microanalysis. The macro approach is expressed by the socio-economic formation of Marx, and the micro-approach by understanding sociology and Weber's theory of social action.

Bourdieu sought a certain compromise, wishing to overcome the contradiction between macro and microanalysis, between structure and the individual, the dualism of objectivism and subjectivism. Therefore, his methodology is called integral (integralist) sociology, which combines approaches and techniques from the field of anthropology, history, linguistics, political science, philosophy and culturology. In the subject field of his studies fall into the peasantry, journalism, unemployment, university, law, science, family, classes, religion, politics, sport, housing, etc.

Social knowledge, according to P. Bourdieu, occupies a boundary position between two worlds - sacral and profane, professional and ordinary. Building on common sense second floor & quot ;, sociological cognition is nothing more than the construction of constructions or, in other words, a second-order construction based on first-order constructions created by actors on the social scene every day. Representations of common sense penetrate into science and become categories of sociological thinking. That's why a sociologist looks at the world clouded - through the prism of those and other units of knowledge.

Social science, the French thinker believes, must take into account not only the reality itself, but also the one who perceives it, describes it, studies it. And he who studies reality, participates in its construction, change, ie, takes an active life position. Often it was sociologists and philosophers who led the demonstrations of protest and raised people to revolution.

Sociological Workshop

Representatives of humanitarian disciplines - sociologists, historians, politicians, journalists - P. Bourdieu calls the "professionals of explanation and public speaking". Surely he had good reason. What do you think, which ones?

But only sociologists use categories of common sense, stereotypes and concepts, imposed by the media, as a scientific apparatus. These concepts reflect the political struggle of all kinds of forces and groups, competition of interests. In the sociologist, they are the result of active participation in public life, including his education at the university. As a result, the language of the sociological description can not be neutral. The researcher is obliged to realize the arbitrary character of sociological categories and not to accept them as evidence.

It often seems to the sociologist, P. Bourdieu warns that, having obtained empirical data, obtained honestly with application of all the rules of the scientific method, he created an objective picture of the world. In fact, he only recorded his own attitude towards him. It should not be forgotten that a sociologist, like any other representative of a political or cultural field, is just a "player". This leads to a fundamentally important conclusion - not to identify the observer's point of view and the player's point of view.

For self-purification, the sociologist has several intellectual procedures that he must apply when he builds a program of his research. First of all, the sociologist is obliged to reflect on the nature of the concepts used, to objectify the conditions for their emergence and the social context of application. Only by carrying out a similar methodological objectification , i.e. having got rid of the subjective impressions and estimations, the sociologist has the right to hope that his scientific apparatus is minimized from political or ordinary influence. Social sciences, according to P. Bourdieu, have the exclusive "privilege of using their own intellectual tools as reflective tools" objectification, i.e. purification of its conceptual language from alien elements - terms of everyday language and categories of other sciences.

Sociological Workshop

The procedure for objectifying the sociological knowledge of Pierre Bourdieu in some ways, and perhaps in many ways, resembles the requirement of Max Weber to refrain from subjective assessments in the organization of sociological research and the interpretation of its results.

You need to conduct a thorough investigation of this issue, writing a written work of 5-7 pages.

P. Bourdieu describes the technology of objectification as follows. At the first level, it is necessary to objectify the reciprocal positions of the interviewer and the respondent in the social space i.e. to establish differences between them in social, cultural and linguistic terms, since the divergence of the language of the questionnaire and the language of answers to it can lead to obvious or hidden distortions. At the second level, it is necessary to analyze the social compulsions that affect the author of the questionnaire because of his own position in the space of his discipline, in particular the sociologist's adherence to a particular methodological tradition, school, direction, the availability of a social research order, and so on. At the third level, it is necessary to realize the discrepancy between program questions and formulations of questionnaire questions. Such a question as "Is there any social classes and how many of them?", Ns should be given to a person from the street, because it is programmatic and must be solved by the scientist himself. In the Bourdieu language, he "is a paradigmatic example of the scholastic inclination ; he imposes the questioner's question on the user. "

Sociological Workshop

Find in the literature examples of sociological surveys with formulations of questionnaire questions and conduct their analysis on the scheme proposed by P. Bourdieu.

Beyond the theoretical schemes used by science, lies "sociological common sense", P. Bourdieu believes. He admitted that he did not believe in the virtues of common sense and clarity; common sense, which broadcasts the simple and clear language of the obvious, creates the illusion of simplicity and accessibility, inciting politicians to manipulate public opinion. Games with social reality and common sense, sociologist can lose, completely trusting them and forgetting the rules of the scientific method. If a sociologist does not see the objective nature of things, can not purge them of human opinions and assessments, he turns into a producer "opinions about opinions" (account of the accounts ), as it closes itself in the framework of polling sociology.

Of course, a sociologist can not spend his entire life in an ivory tower, trying to keep his hands in sterile purity. He can and should be politically engaged, defending high moral values ​​and universal ideals, states P. Bourdieu. Engagement was used by P. Bourdieu to refer to any participation of a sociologist in political activity. It does not matter if it was positional or oppositional. In the work "Male dominance" P. Bourdieu, using the example of gender studies, shows how good knowledge and political engagement lead to weak results that reproduce politicized common sense.

If biologists have discovered a new substance that is life-threatening, they are obliged to warn the public about it. Sometimes it is not a crime to speak in the press, not to resent or to declare your position, organizing protest movements against or in defense of something. Everyone knows the Pugwash movement of scientists who are for peace, disarmament and international security, for the prevention of a world thermonuclear war and scientific cooperation.

The mission of the sociologist, despite his political predilections and social commitment, is not to prescribe, but to describe the structure of the social world. His knowledge and skills should be directed at exposing the forms and mechanisms of social domination. The most important function of the sociologist is exposing: sociological knowledge tears the cover from the social in form, but always historically arbitrarily established mechanisms of domination. The empirical results of his research become arguments and another kind of weapon against injustice. Of course, in carrying out their research, the sociologist must comply with all the requirements of the scientific method.

A sociologist can not stand outside a certain system of values. From his moral position depends on what scientific success he will achieve and what impact on society will be able to provide.

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