Th.e Role of· ntellectuals Tod.

ay'

Pierre Bourdieu

In 'my 'book, J1",~' Rille's oj~Art,2 1 demonstrated that the intellectual world is an autonomous world 'within the social world, a microcosm 'which constituted itself progressively through a series of struggles, In the history of the Westi the first to acquire their autonomy with regard to pow'er were the jt rists, who in twelfth century Bologna succeeded in, asserting their collective independence in relation to the Prince, and, simultaneously, their rivalry amongst themselves .. As soon as a. field is constituted and asserts its existence, it asserts itself into the internal struggle, It is one .of the properties of "fields" fila t the que s'lion, 0 f be long ingness to thi s universe is ,at stake in the ve ry rn 'i dst of these universes, Suppose that, like I, French historian by the name of Viala, one makes a study of the French writers of the seventeenth century: one uncovers 1 fats of writers, one compiles these lists, and one undertakes to describe the social characteristics of the writers, In terms of a good positivist method, it is, 'beyond reproach; in fact, ] believe that it is a. serious error, On c must fi rst question the very exi srenee of these lists, the conditions of their establishment. There i,s, a dictionary of intellectuals which has just been published in, France" with much fuss, When, nne thinks in terms of the principles I am now conveying, one suspects immediately' th,at it is a, matter of a coup de

force aimed at defining a population at demarcating boundaries such that here one is an intellectual and there one ceases to 'he an intellectual, and to include people one would not expect to be inc lude d, (such, as ed itors of influential news-pap ers) , and 'to exc tude seemingly indispensable others, In. other words, in any definition of intellectuals, a;ny socially authorized definition, there ~8 a coup de force aiming' at imposing inclusions and exclusions. Historians whit} are 'working on the sevemeenth century are confronted with lists which can, only function as instruments for scientific analysis provided they' are treated in advance as obj eels for analysis One must ask: where, in the space they are in the process of describing, are' those' who make U,P these lists and at the same time what interest they have in demarestins. this space in this or another fashion,

'Thus the intellectual world presents itself as a microcosm which has conquered its autonomy progressively; 'What do we understand 'by

Theoria, June .la02

autonomy? ,A, universe is aU'[OnOlnO'U$, when i.t is, subject to the princi-

1 f · 'I L • b l hi h i 11 ib d

,P ,e [J' its own. ,aw:, nomos, wnenn 0.' ey's a aw W.',JCi• lL nas p:res,cTLe: ,

for itself. This law sets. itself forth in the form, of thi s tautology: "Art is Art" ~ or" ;Art, that is truly artist ic, is Art: that has :DO' other purpo se but Art", Such definition has been a very slow ~ln.d difficult conquest:

~ h [- "~.' e: Ulc: ~:-, th .. --"_ .... ". '., ,c: ····f'·· to .. ,' c' ati . '.' . f- ... n stic fi 1~1 w __ en one Jl.(lIlJlOWS , e procless 0 a.u,onomlZ3.lon 0 an a. ·lS . .lC ,le UJ"

one :may observe how difficult it was for artists in quattrocento Italy to 3S sert their autonomy vis-a-vis thei r patrons, the diffieulti e s they exp erienc ed in order to obtain the right to sign 'their ()WI" works, to appropriate their own. works in dliffcTC'nt waY8, and. to choose the use of colours (contrary to their patrons who wanted their' money's worth: having paid for imported blue which was very expensive, they wanted imported blue to be used; having paid for gold, they wanted gold. to' be used, and used to highlight that 'which was important in their eyes). The arti sts struggled for control over the form and the style of the manifa'lturu'. All these, vc'ry lengthy, historical struggles are struggles

£ ~ d d 0 kn h h " h -. h ,.

or tnl" epen!' ence, •••. ne must I, ,ow tt at the artists, t te writers, t ne sci-

entists have I ed, struggles for independence in relati on to re 1 i gious

II 11· ,.. 1 d 1 .'. h f h

JlOWCTi In relation to po mea :power~ anr J.D, re atmn to t- e powl~r or the

academies, which - very dubious in the views of the writers - were and still 8(Te the Trojan. HOI'se of the state in the intellectual field,

Th ld .. 'k t · t roO b t h '. t 11 tr 1- ." ld

_ .,:,e' powers WOLl. __ , ,_1 xe '.0 In e rrere out, W lien an m e ieetua ~ ie u

has been well constituted it resists these intrusions, Even. if a govern-

· rfere i leoti h A' d" 'fro' , d 'h-'

. . I" .~. :' . j'. t.. . .' i '.' '! ~. - I .. I ..' I .. , I' ..... '. E :' '." • • " • • • • ....~, .' .' • • • • '. [' • • •••• -'.' ..' 't' ". '. I

rnent can mte . ere man, e ection to t e . ca~, emie ..... nra~se" an, 1.._,15

C an· 'h-' "'1lpp"etl' it ha Cl 11· tt' 'I e ch ~lnrC e, o· f Id· O'l"'M '8 S', o· I in re- lat 1~ 0' n 'tIO' m 'N,:' ob -p'l ,~, .. "

'_ ' . ' .. u, '. /. .,'.' g.~ '.. _. "",",.Ii,., ....• .: ~.~. "." .,11. .'.' Ill, 'iii ·.·wiL prIze,

and llj'ortitJr.i in. relation, '~O the ,an.on,ym,ou8 gllnry" 'without subject, if one

d b . h -1 .. d . '.

.' _ . -' " .... . ' . I .. ' . -'. ~., .' ~ ." '.' . . _.. '. .' .. ' '. 1 ... 1.' •••• ", .' I . t . - . I' - ,. . .. . .. I . !." . • . . .' .

can say~ generate .~y t re counttess convergmg jucgemenrs stemming

from that group of free subjects 'who are; the other 'writers]. These universes wlbd,ch may seem idyllic are in fact very harsh, ruthless universe's, in which each is at the mercy of others ,; and the more

1M- ,- - , *h - , th - h 1.. • t h ··'h 'm • ':1- bei the uni f

autonomous 11j,' iey ar,c,,- e . ,ars,~rI,er'li wu - me nmu .. 'elng' . e universes 0

pure poetry or pure mathematics, where one deals with, producers whose only clients are their- most competent rivals This is a very' strict de fin i ti on, of autonomy, Alas! Sociology is very far from that stage, Sociologists remaln dependent upon, external verdicts, It: is, indeed a

. f 1- .1 ' 'I '. • ..'~ .'

SIgn 0 .. esser autonomy that anyo.ne ,nlay give, 11S views on SOClOI:OgU,ts.

The internal struggles are subjected to very strict rules, which ensue from the pn inciple of autonomy . ~'O' say ~1;,1r110" '0' me shall enter here - ... 1-...0. ",.

'u ,- .... ,_'" ,,' .,. .'!i,. ., ~ ..1', '. ,L,Ii,. ,.,.;l'!l,.! 0;;1. '-' "'"'_ ,_ ..""""",.'!Ip WJ!l' J.S

. ,,," '} , • 4f L. .' 'I" t, thci · '1

not a .s eometer ,1 S, to say t lELI no one ID. tneir Slru.,S8J.CS 'W I b]. I C ir rt ViI, s,

should use 'weapons that are not recognized. in, that universe: 'tOI settle a 'Score with a, mathematician Lean use onJy mathematical weapons"

J

r come now to the intellectual. In order for the intellectual to exist,

heremust exi .. hi hi h ., Z I

- '-', ' "" , ",' - -.- ,. '.- .' .. - ' . '. I ' - --' , . I;; , ' - --' . " ... :, I" ,- - . _ '. .

t ere must exist an autonomous universe W1t , In w, ic a wnter, .. ' oia,

a sociologist, or a philosopher, has accumulated, capital specific to' the historian, the philosopher, etc., and, that person. must choose 'to 'COD1e out of his universe, enter into the political arena and perform a

heti . d -.' ~ J h· b ble wi th ·

',"':", '~-lC" ict ··'un·,,· u ,: .... --:·ID' -- ',_.'. ,",'., 1~ ,.,,". I':, .'-,., .... ," .".- .•

,", "" . . .' •• f'.' ' •• ", JI . , .. ' '... . IILJ I .. ' .. r . I. I.. .

prop __ et _. ac. a e. a. impost _g va _,ues w __ .. ' _'_' are accepta ,f; WI,t .ln,

his un iverse, Very plain ly, the in tc 1 'I ectual is a writer, an arti st, a scientiat, what strengthened by the' competence and the authority acquired. in his field, intervenes in the political arena,

The intellectual is a bi-dimensional individual" Imagine Cartesian co-ordinate's, with one dimension li sting degrees of internal conse-

.' d th h di · tho d finvol · li ·

.,.- e,".· ,- , .... ,. ~--. -- '-', .. ', ,". -',",~ -'., - - ,. 3,,- - ,--, ,- ',I

cration ann t . e at ier aimensron -.' e .- egIl~c 0" mvo .vcment 1U politics

(measured 'by the number of interventions, within the political arena),

0, . tl· l ,_', w: ' " ,- '. - 1"-' '[ -::<.. -"I~I~I f'" ,d' . ' - 'I:, wh ,. ;11,c, I": .' "f" t· ~" " al ,~" , '.'"

n ie a.,gona,,~ you wiu , m ,peop~,e wr ose lILeg~cc: 0_ tntema lame

is equivalent to the ir degree of exteme] iavolvemenr and, at the top of the diagonal, you, 'will have pe ople like Sartre and Zo la, who, having H,

l· '~ d f .' 'I f:' . ib h ldl f' '] '. ·

very' nign .' egree 0', internal .. '8LlnC1 contribute to t re wor. .. C,._ 0 po JtlCS.

In parentheses: intel ectua 1s itie an historic al invention; they might. not' have existed, For. them to exist, several condnions had to 'be fulfilled, I think that i.t is, an historical model that deserves to be preserved, because it is perhaps O'TU: of the means of introducing some universality, some transcendence, into the world of politics. I believe 'that it is important that within a society there is a reserve of ideal, of '1 de ali sm. 'Without doubt the ex i stence of an historical model of the intellectu al m,-II akes possible the benefits of st a, I nding ~,~ 'ali) in tellectu '1:1111

. __ I,ll! . _..g_, .... ~_. iO;I! .::. . LJloJi',_ - """ ---,_'!ii.' .·.·!I;,,'W .,!L~ . '.' '. ,.II"" . ,- ,u,iJ -II .... , III. JlJIl"",,,,"1 . uJl,

universal benefjts. But it is perhaps through these perversions that History progress es, If there is a chance that there may 'be a little more of 'I he universal :it 'i s bee ause thcre arc pro fi ts 'j n 'be i n,g urn versal,

One or-the dlfficulties in conveying that which I 'wish to, convey, is, that we all have in mind the opposition between the pure intellectual and. the engaged intellectual. And this opposition makes it difficult to und erstand the paradoxica I real i ty that is the in tellectua 1,. as it': s an "autonomous' individual, a "purist" who commits himself As long: as one keeps in 'mind this, alternative, one cannot understand what an, intellectual is" one' cannot understand that for intellectuals to c:n.,gagc: even more e,fficienl~y~ and even more' seriously, they must, at the same

~ 'b d' .

tnne, be even more autonomous ana even more committed.

Having said that there are two dimensions 'to the intellectual, I should simply' like to say' that all the' political recommendations that ,I coul d. articulate for a, 'J) 0 litic 5 of inte Jlectuals, b 0 i 1.8 down to the sta tement that 'the two dimensions must 'be' re inforced, One must reinforce,

that is to s~y elevate, the FigJlt of entry into the intellectual, scientific , artistic etc un iverse iIlI~..;i reinfo rce OIl'·S 'W,'· ell the dutv '·0"" sorti ~ from .' the

, . "' ,1i;Ii .,11. il' :. _ _ ., ". .'.... O'I!;.!'!! I~nu, , . .11, .11 ,ll,...... CJl. . ,': ,1Illl _ _ ,'"' _ ,.:c..'J" I" :.. I,!J,. I""" It,· .. '.'_'. ""

intellectual universe; one 'must act in such ,s way' that the great intel-

] 1 fi ]. h r' ld f h ] '. b 1 ·

., I . -" '.' " "', ,'.- f . "" ,,'. ,,'.' ," ... "i;'-. 'i' . - . ~ , .

.ectua S, or eX.3.mp .. If: ~ 1 n f" e rieic O. the natura" SCI cncc s~'u.t a. so 1 n

the' social sciences, feel perhaps more compelled to give back to all that which they have accumulated in, their Ivory Tower, (For very 'understandable reasons, tbe cleverest in.te,Uectua,ls have a tendency' to withdraw into their Ivory' Tower, because they have been burned in their confrontation 'with the cultural intermediaries with the' 'media, in general, and having retired, into the Ivory Tower, they deprive ordinary mortals of their know ledge, their competence, and their values.)

One would have 'to define collective strategies to defend autonomy;

'bi ' b ...J! hi 1L.. " h d b

notab y against the merna, w :1]C,n, It seems to me, ave tn_:_ay aecorne

the: main, danger for these historical conquests of'the struggle for mdependence which, I evoked at the beginning, Today. the autonernous fields, 'be they scientific, arti stic, H terary Of' philosophical, are w ith-

DU' t do' ubt the f irst 'Ito' su ffer and' are thre eaten e d b .. ,.Y the intt ,- .e , c.:,€" ·t'h.' 'IL

. . ." ,U,.I . ,""' ,JI,J.,.::Jj ";:]1' ,1.J"'-' .~ i I· if.U.... .. ,'-,g,Il. .... I",·'" .' .•... .H· I, _ ,1.TUSIOn 01 . J C

media and the effects of their pow:er of heteronomous consecration

Th d b' l' t . '.. 1 f 'II.. t ; '11-.,

.' e me na are ame 1'0 import prmcrp es 0', nereronomy mto tne

RulO,1l0.1l10US fields. Philosopher-joumalists import references and values, and in particular 'the value of the plebiscite" the value of the sue-

fh b · 'I d ," L h ,-

cess, 0 tl e greatest numoer, into croseu umverses wnere t e 8.0 e

criterion of evaluation is :n01: recognition by everyone, 'but recognition

b ." . . hi Irt fi Id Th hnri . ~ d h h

. " . -'.' ,......' '.' .', . . .:" " '. . I" "., .' , '",' ' .... " - . ' "'.~ " " '. , .. '

. y competmons WIt.. .HI t. e rre .. " .. ,e autr ority C,UIl, .. erre c"j tne

media permits shoddy philosophers or philosophers of parody to intervene dangerously in philosophical. life",

T .. t': b ']'11' '}' • ..

,J.O remtorce autonomy '~'Y a ,~ m,cans~ 18 'not necessan y to remain m

the Ivory Tower, among peers, among comrades, It is desirable, I think, that OIl. the basis of this collectively guaranteed and collectively defended autonomy, artists" 'writers and scientists should sortie from their Tower with sword in hand, 'the symbolic sword in hand, the theorctical sword in hand, not at an in order to take political positions, but to affirm their own va lues and 'their own authority over important i ss ues, For exampl e whe n a government takes measures tha t iLT'C racist, ] think that it is important that, like Zola, the intellectuals, with the means. at their disposal, should intervene so as, 'to rem in d. us of the values of 'universality which constitute their profession .. S'imila'r~y., when national i 81 movcm ents apI'u~~.a r in the SOC:I 811 world, or in the literary, artistic or politic al microcosms it is es sell ti al that the' writers, the artists, and the scientists come out of their universe to affirm the values of universality whi ph' constin ite t'b~,,;ir profes si _.- H" ~ ., id . _' _ '0 t '1;,.'_ . _'_.'. ':'. h,' :.' Ii..!.v 6~ <'~"I;,..! - .. ~~, ... , DS -lon.a:vrog sat.

that, one encounters again heteronomy, If Zola wanted today to write J'accuse, he would m all probability. have to pay 10 have his paper published in Le Monde Today we, have to reckon with the possession of the monopoly of the means of broadcasting, that lSI the journalists! and 1 think 'that. amon,g the' collective actions I urge intellectuals to lake, there should b,e aD, effort to re ... appropriate their own instruments

of dissemination. ] believe that the creation of j ournals, international journals, (and, her,t! r reveal a, little of the reasoning which prompted

me '[0 Jauach the rather 0 dd venture which, i s Liber~)~ where' the intel-

I ' '1 f 11 '. 1 ,- h ~ " d' th ,

.. I . . . ., ::' '. I I : I ',. . _ :.:. '.', " " t .' ' - "' . I I . I ':"1 .' I' - : _ ." '-.' .' _ . . I _". ',J .'.' ,... • • ._. ~-

e ctua ,S ot a .. ·. C ountrie s can, a CCUJ.lJlll, ate t. err ex,p ertenc e anc .... e 1 r

'0£.-" ke suzaesti .' . ~. ..

", '1'1'-'· . -.,,:. '1-- , .- , '_ .. ,. -. , -."" .-', _., -. " "l ".' , ~" - ._' -,_.' '-', 1-'" ,_ .. -.' ., ..

l .ormanon to rna .. -·e suggestions or express criticism, is very nnpor-

tant, 1 also believe" 'to give £1,11 idea of the innumerable concrete actions that we: would have tn take, that through the 'rapid and extraordinary

" . · '. b b ~ .. h-· + ct- - rh f' ~.

. ,,', ., .... ·.··.1 ,.1" ',J' .. " .. ', '. " .. 'I'j 'I" -:--.l. -. J I'. -:----.'. >.- -'J .:-., :>-"j-' -.'" r, .. ' . : ", \.

concentranon 111 t e pu us lng mcustry, t . e autonomy oi writers,

, d sci ~. 'II h o~1 ... 1 If": 11 if h

artist S'" anu scientists 1S extremely t, reatened ann, tor ex, amprc " T· tl _ c

well known writers arc able to publish without difficulty, the youn ,g' writers are' subjected, 'to tremendous censorship,

At the' en d of this analysis I there is a utopia that I have already mentioned, several times the' utopia, of the collective intellectual (as opposed, to the total jntellcctual pcrsotrified by Sartre), that is to say the idea 0 f some 'I '. ind rOf international inte rdiseiplinary organization of

- . " d m ~ 'b.. ... ild L h · d

artists, wnters ana sc tennsts W'JUO would snare their ico'mpe:tc'ncc anu

the ir authority; The virtue of rbe existence of such a. "c ollective" would be no" onl.y to concentrate symbolic capita] 'but also to concentrate 'the' interlinked contmls between the speci fie intellectuals thus associated,

j- f h d Arab' h 1 - . li - f 1 W

... ': . '.', ., :... .'. , .. ,_ .. :·1··'· .. ' .... ·'-·1' ,:_ ··'1 .' , .. - - - '-., ,-_ _ ...... -. _.". - _. - ,,':,'

one a." an A ' .IC SC ,0 ar next to 3, specialist rrom m a etc., one

could .. 'lake clear stands, instead of'protesting rather mcehanically each time one receives a press di spatch referring to an artist who has been imprisoned, This is fine but: it could lead to mi sunderstandings ..

The last characteristic of this collective intellectual is virtue, or at least the disappearance of the profits of visibility which, 'undermine' our "intellectuals" of'parody. 'The: intellectual should be reflexive, that is to SalY critica I of himself and, in. particular criti cal of behaviour determined by the search for the profits of visibility,

1I'f 'I 'L' '. d · d f' di hc j OJ. e h

Jl . am entnusiastrc to ,ay m ctcnc .rng tl C 1 nsn tut 1 ons ror t e

defence of the universal, it' is prima rily because ] be I ieve that the uni _, versa] is seriously threatened and that 'the conquest of autonomous fields is really at the: 'm,er'c), of economic 'powe:rs~ relayed in particular by he media. .. And it is also ·beC3.11Sle I think that the collapse ofescbatological illusions, if it bias a lot to its credit, leaves a huge void, for llt,any people, 'yOWlg people" men and women, and 1 believe that it is

better to plfopOSe, even with great uncertainty, a utopia rather than

., ~" f ab d

leaving everyone m a state 0." a. iandonment,

NOTE,S

1. This text resumes the main, ] i nes of a lecture given !.(t the french [nstitu;te 'in Athens in 1996.

2. ,P,.:O ourdieu Les re,gles de t 'art, Gel1:ese et structure du "haltl,p,s nUemire"1 P aris, Ed. Ide: S eui 1 ~ 1992. (,English translation, The Rules of Art, 'Cam.brid"ge: Po~jty' Press, 199(",)

3. The internatiena l rev iew of b {Job, Liber (c fie ated in [98'9 as a. supplement to five ~n;rge Eurepean jcurnals: Le Mr-;n'de!, 1~. EtlZ~ ,E'I' .Rtffs, le TLS ,Ind l~l"tiice) was published until 199,8 as supplement ~o Acles tie Ia recherche en sciences sociales and in cultural 'IDIlpzin,es, II] several European countries .. Through a se lection 0 f boots published on matters u f art, li terature, philuMlphy and SOC] a~ science, .LUJer· has endeavoured to proenote and recognize authors 'who deserve to be recognized (and who are not necessarily the most well-knowa), through the-wt :pubUcat1nn in their od,g~nlll language.

~ "avi,d A' ".1' ,I,' dis, Reader in Moral Phila ,Qi'phy' at the U jver ,ity of St An' rews and Director of the Centre for Ethics, Philosophy and. Pub~ilC Afli irs .. The most recent of his several books is Sexual Lion, ent (1998,)" and he is, currently working on 'the law on, rape, the relations between children, par ents and the st tel and the probh m of political

.

disaareement,

Pi, ,ollrdli,e'u. 'held the Chair of Sociolos Y' at IDle College de Frai ce from I 982 until his death in January 0 f th L, ycar~ and. Wd'S also Direc ~ tor of •. tudies at 1 ;EcJ, _ des autes :·tudes en, Sciene s Social s. In his ]on'_ career spannin . half a cen -, ry be made an enormous and enduring cr ntribu ion to odern thougl t, through works ranging from Reproduction rl Education. Soci ty and Culture I ... ' 'ith J-.' " Pass eron) an llO,''II~'O Academicus thrO.I- ,: It. I'~ invitation to Reflexive S -ciology and Distin. ttion tn .' he Ru'_e~v ofArt,

Chantal Mouflf is Professor of Political Theory, and Senior

.. - ;~e' . eI 'l".C . I F;iEII 11 ow' ,0.' th -~, I -. entre fo r th ~ S···, d '_y~ 10' f' Democ ... 61' y" . , - iv .. ersi tyl"

.' ... " irI. !~Ir.l. I • It.ii II. '.' Cf,.1 _ v " ~. , 'I I 11, ' LJ 1 1_ ~ , ' • • .' .' It IU _. ''; '_ v ~ _ ~

of Westmin.st,er~ She is the editor of Gramsci and Marxist Theorv

,",

( 1979 EU}I .. '" t ' . ' .. If H gemony and Socialist Strategy (with

Laclau :n918:5 '1" The Retit.f~l' of It he Pilit"cal (' 99-':") and TJII· Democratic Paradox' (.2,000)"

Paul N'u'rsey ... Bray is Associate Professor in Po' itical Science at the

'U ,. . "A 1 'd H· ,. I: ....... · III d D I ~ I

. niversity 0_ · ... e ill ~ e,. :: lS, 'mos I recen worlU!i, In.C,J.lU _e .ro, tC(};·OTUQ, .. -

ism': Cult. re and Identit inr {rica and Til Post-Colonial Condition:

Contemporary Politics in ,A~f"i,ca (both edited with , ~ Ahluwalia, , 'g ~11·· and Left . ,irectinH'.~~~· 1.'5' There Third WO)J? .'. e litcd w'wth C.

Bacc h :" forthcomine

~"' .. ,"~ - ,e'

Thom POI:,_e is Assc ciatc Professor in Philosophy at '., Iumhia University His most recent pu lications are "What We ':. 'an Reasonab y Reject' " ,NO os: 200 I·' "Erar ieati '. g ,Iy te iio Poverty' ~ Jo urnal '0.1· Huma» Development, 2,00 I · n." ehievin , Den oeraey", Ethic- and

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