Constellations Volume 13, Number 4, 2006
biologicalreductionism,completelyignoringFreud’sshiftfromthetheoryofchildhoodabuse in the early
Studies in Hysteria
to the theory of sexual fantasy that he developedin the course of his self-analysis.
But his treatment of Freudian psychoanalysis moreoften takes the form of admitting Freudian terminology and even some psychoanalyticarguments into his texts while surrounding these passages with rhetorical devices thatseem to condemn psychoanalysis.
One of the most paradoxical aspects of this is thatBourdieu himself introduces the Freudian concept of
What indeed is this discourse which speaks of the social or psychological world
asif it did not speak of it
of this world except on condition that itonly speak of this world as if it did not speak of it, that is, in a
which performs,for the author and the reader, a
(in the Freudian sense of
) of what it expresses?
As one commentator has observed, Bourdieu “does not seem to be able to refrainfrom borrowing certain of its concepts while repudiating the discipline altogether.”
Bourdieu often appears to be trying to domesticate psychoanalysis, accepting its vo-cabulary while subtly redefining it in a more sociological direction, or else deployingits language in an almost decorative way while avoiding its substantive implications.As a first example of the more complex strategy of denegation, consider first thefollowing passage from
The Weight of the World
, which could easily have been writtenby a psychoanalyst:
Such limitation of aspirations shows up in cases where the father has been verysuccessful
. . .
. But it assumes all its force when the father occupies a dominatedposition
. . .
and is therefore inclined to be ambivalent about his son’s success as wellas about himself
. . .
. At one and the same time he says: be like me, act like me, butbe different, go away
. . .
. He cannot want his son to identify with his own positionand its dispositions, and yet all his behavior works continuously to produce thatidentification
. . .
,comple-mentary approaches to the
object, thereby warding off the possibility of seeingthe latter as intrinsic or internal to the former.
This is not the place to question the relation between the mode of exploring subjec-tivity proposed here and that practiced by psychoanalysis. But, at the very least, it isnecessarytoguardagainstthinkingoftheserelationshipsasalternativestoeachother.
Sociology does not claim to substitute its mode of explanation for that of psychoanal- ysis
; it is concerned only to construct differently certain givens that psychoanalysisalso takes as its object....
While expressing a desire for differentiation from psychoanalysis, this passage doesnotactuallyexplainwhatthedifferencewouldbe.Similarly,in
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