You are on page 1of 3

"Proofreading" Author(s): Pierre Bourdieu, Gisele Sapiro, Brian McHale Source: Poetics Today, Vol. 12, No.

4, National Literatures/Social Spaces (Winter, 1991), pp. 625-626 Published by: Duke University Press Stable URL: Accessed: 04/11/2010 08:56
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

Duke University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Poetics Today.

Pierre Bourdieu
Sociology, College de Franceand Hautes Etudesen Science Sociales

I have written these lectures, especially the first two, in order to discourage the reading that my works most often encounter, especially abroad, but also in France: the reading that, privileging substantial realities to the detriment of the relations in which they are embedded, dwells upon certain phenomenal differences instead of seeking the structural equivalents of the traits that have been described. I also wanted to react against the inclination on the part of those who speak about Japan, particularly orientalists, to constitute this foreign society as an alien reality, radically exotic, thereby flattering the propensity of the most conservative among the Japanese to identify themselves with a national culture which was artificially established, in its most peculiar features, in the course of constructing the Japanese nation and Japanese nationalism. Refusing the exoticism which, as a complacent acceptance of exteriority, always expresses a form of indifference and even contempt, but not being able to propose a scientifically grounded vision of Japanese society, I have resigned myself to proposing, in a refined form, the model of advanced societies that I have constructed with regard to the particular case of French society. This amounts to offering my Japanese audience the means of corroborating, correcting, or refuting my analyses in the light of their practical or scientific knowledge of their own society. It goes without saying that I have taken this risk only after having read many historical and sociological works which have convinced me that my model's claim to universal validity is not totally groundless, on the condition, of course, that for each case
Poetics Today 12:4 (Winter 1991). Copyright ? 1991 by The Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics. CCC 0333-5372/91/$2.50.


Poetics Today 12:4

modifications are introduced into the model wherever necessary. This is why, after a subsequent experience of a similar type in East Berlin, I have been led to introduce, besides the kinds of capital that must be taken into consideration in the French case in order to account for the distribution of agents in social space, a new kind of capital, which I have called bureaucratic capital or party-apparatus capital; and two Swedish researchers have gone on to conceive a variant of this in order to explain the differences traceable to the social-democratic movement. This is why it seems to me that the "proofreading" to which I subjected myself in Japan has some chance of functioning equally well in other cases, provided that my readers are willing to undertake for themselves what I have undertaken in these Japanese lectures and to substitute for the Japanese or French examples relevant equivalents from their own societies. Translatedby GiseleSapiro; editedbyBrian McHale.