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DOI: 10.1177/053901847301200103
1973 12: 53 Social Science Information
Pierre Bourdieu
The three forms of theoretical knowledge
 
 
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53
Theory
and methods
Théorie et méthodes
PIERRE BOURDIEU
The three forms of theoretical
knowledge
The social world
may
be
subjected
to three modes of theoretical
knowledge,
each of which
implies
a set of
(usually tacit) anthropological
theses. The
only
thing
these modes of
knowledge
have in common is that
they
all stand in
opposition
to
practical knowledge.
The mode of
knowledge
we shall term
phenomenological (or,
if one
prefers
to
speak
in terms of
currently
active
schools,
&dquo;interactionist&dquo; or
&dquo;ethnomethodological&dquo;)
makes
explicit primary expe-
rience of the social world:
perception
of the social world as natural and self-
evident is not self-reflective
by
definition and excludes all
interrogation
about
its own conditions of
possibility.
At a second
level,
objectivist knowledge
(of
which the structuralist hermeneutic constitutes a
particular
case)
constructs
the
objective
relations
(e.g.
economic or
linguistic) structuring
not
only prac-
tices but
representations
of
practices
and in
particular primary knowledge,
practical
and
tacit,
of the familiar
world,
by
means of a break with this
primary
knowledge and, hence,
with those
tacitly
assumed
presuppositions
which confer
upon
the social world its self-evident and natural character.
Objectivist
knowledge
can
only grasp
the
objective
structures of the social
world,
and the
objective
truth of
primary experience (from
which
explicit knowledge
of
these structures is
absent), provided
it
poses
the
very problem
doxic
experience
of the social world excludes
by
definition,
namely
the
problem
of the
(specific)
conditions under which this
experience
is
possible. Thirdly,
what we
might
refer to as
praxeological knowledge
is concerned not
only
with the
system
of
objective
relations constructed
by
the
objectivist
form of
knowledge,
but
also with the dialectical
relationships
between these
objective
structures
and the
structured
dispositions
which
they produce
and which tend to
reproduce
them,
i.e. the dual
process
of the internalization of
externality
and the exter-
nalization of
internality.
This
knowledge presupposes
a break with the
objec-
tivist form of
knowledge,
that
is,
it
presupposes investigation
into the condi-
tions of
possibility
and, consequently,
into the limits of the
objectivistic
view-
point
which
grasps practices
from the
outside,
as a
fait accompli,
rather than at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
54
construct their
generative principle by placing
itself inside the
process
of their
accomplishment.
The
praxeological
form of
knowledge may appear
to be a
regression
to the
phenomenological
mode of
knowledge,
while the
implied critique
of
objecti-
vism is liable to be confused with the
critique
of scientific
objectification
for-
mulated
by
naive humanism in the name of lived
experience
and the
rights
of
subjectivity.
This is so because it is the
product
of a double theoretical
movement
of
translation : in
effect,
it carries out a second reversal of the
pro-
blematic that
objective
science of the social
world,
seen as a
system
of
objec-
tive
relationships,
constituted
by posing
those
problems
which
practical expe-
rience and the
phenomenological analysis
of that
experience
exclude. Just
as
objectivist knowledge poses
the
problem
of the conditions of
possibility
of
practical experience, thereby demonstrating
that this
experience
is
defined,
fundamentally, by
the fact that it does not
pose
this
problem,
so
praxeolo-
gical knowledge
sets
objectivist knowledge
on its feet
by posing
the
problem
of the conditions of
possibility
of this
problem (theoretical,
but also social con-
ditions)
and,
at the same
time,
makes it
apparent
that
objectivist knowledge
is
defined,
fundamentally, by
the fact that it excludes this
problem. Being
set
up
in
opposition
to
practical perception
of the social
world,
objectivist
knowledge
is distracted from the task of
constructing
the
theory
of
practical
knowledge
of the social world.
Praxeological knowledge
does not cancel out
the
gains accruing
from
objectivist knowledge,
rather it conserves and trans-
cends them
by integrating
that which this
knowledge
had to exclude in order
to obtain them.
We must
pause
for a moment on what is
objectivism’s
field
par excellence,
that of
semiology.
Just as Saussure
postulates
that
language
is an autono-
mous
object,
irreducible to its concrete
actualizations,
that is to the
speech-
behaviour it makes
possible,
so
Panofsky
establishes that what he
calls,
following
Alois
Riegl, Kunstwollen,
in other
words,
roughly,
the
objective
meaning of a work 1,
is no more reducible to the artist’s &dquo;will&dquo; than it is to the
&dquo;will of the
age&dquo;
or to the lived
experiences
which the work arouses in the
spec-
tator. In so
doing,
both Saussure and
Panofsky carry out,
with
regard
to
speech,
that
particular
form of
behaviour,
and to works of
art,
those
particu-
lar
products
of
action,
the
operation
which builds
objectivist
science
by
build-
ing
a
system
of
objective
relations that are as irreducible to the
practices
within which
they
are realized and manifested as
they
are to the intentions
of the
subjects,
and to
any
awareness these
may
have of its constraints or its
logic.
Saussure shows that the true medium of communication between two
agents
is not
speech,
as an immediate datum
grasped
in its observable mate-
riality,
but
language,
as the structure of
objective
relations
making
both the
1. "That which
’presents itself’,
not to
us,
but
objectively,
as the ultimate and definitive
meaning
of the artistic
phenomenon" (E. Panofsky,
"Der
Begriff
des
Kunstwollens",
Zeitschrift für
Aesthetik und
allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft 14, 1920, pp. 321-339).
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55
production
and
decoding
of
speech possible. Similarly, Panofsky
shows that
iconological interpretation
treats the
tangible properties
of the work of
art,
with the affective
experiences
it
arouses,
as mere &dquo;cultural
symptoms&dquo;,
which
only fully yield up
their
meaning
to a
reading
armed with the cultural code
the creator himself has &dquo;involved&dquo; in his work.
Immediate
&dquo;comprehension&dquo; presupposes
an unconscious
decoding ope-
ration which can
only
be
perfectly adequate
where the
competence
which one
of the
agents engages
in his
practice
or in his works is identical to that
objec-
tively engaged by
the other
agent
in his
perception
of this
practice
or
work;
in other
words,
in the
particular
case in which the
coding
-
in the sense of the
transformation of a
subjective meaning
into a
practice
or a work - coincides
with the
symetrical decoding operation.
Immediate
&dquo;comprehension&dquo;,
a de-
coding
act that does not
recognize
itself as
such,
is
only possible (and only really
accomplished)
in the
particular
case where the historical code which makes the
(unconscious)
act of
decoding possible,
is
completely
mastered
(as
a cultivated
disposition) by
the
perceiving agent
and coincides with the code which has
(as
a cultivated
disposition)
made the
production
of the
perceived practice
or
work
possible.
Partial or total
misunderstanding
is the rule in all other
cases,
the illusion of immediate
comprehension leading
to
illusory comprehension,
that
of ethnocentrism,
in the sense of a code interference: in
short,
when its
sole
cognitive
tool is what Husserl termed the &dquo; intentional transfer into the
Other&dquo;,
even the most
&dquo;comprehensive&dquo; interpretation
is liable to amount
to no more than a
particularly irreproachable
form of ethnocentrism.
As the heirs to an intellectual
heritage,
that of
linguistics,
whose conditions
of
production they
are not
always
able to
reproduce,
structuralist
anthropo-
logists
have all too often contented themselves with literal translations of
linguistic
terms dissociated from the structure from which
they
derived their
original meaning, sparing
themselves the trouble of
undertaking
their own
epistemological
reflection on the conditions and the limits of the
validity
of the
transposition
of the Saussurian construction. It is
noteworthy,
for
example,
that,
with the
exception
of
Sapir,
who was
predisposed by
his dual
formation as
linguist
and
anthropologist
to raise the
problem
of the rela-
tionship
between culture and
language,
no
anthropologist
has
attempted
to
bring
out all the
implications
of the
homology (which
Leslie White is vir-
tually
alone in
formulating explicitly)
between two
oppositions, language
and
speech
on one side
culture,
and behaviour or works on the other side.
Objectivism
states that immediate communication is
possible
if,
and
only if,
the
agents
are
objectively disposed
in such a
way
that
they
associate the same
meaning
with the same
sign (speech, practice
or
work)
and the same
sign
with
the same
meaning
or,
to
put
it another
way,
if
they
are
objectively disposed
in such a
way
that,
in their
coding
and
decoding operations,
i.e. in their
prac-
tices and their
interpretations, they
both refer to one and the same
system
of constant
relations, independent
of individual consciousness or wills and
irreducible to their execution in the form of
practices
or works
(code
or
cipher).
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56
In so
doing, objectivism
does not
deny
the
phenomenological analysis
of
primary experience
of the social world and of the immediate
comprehension
of
speech
or actions: it
merely
sets the limits of its
validity by establishing
the
particular
conditions within which it is
possible
and which
phenomeno-
logical analysis
leaves out of account. The social sciences
have,
necessarily,
to
quote
Husserl,
&dquo;a thematics with a
consistently
dual
orientation,
a the-
matics
consistently linking theory
of the scientific field with a
theory
of the
knowledge
of that
theory&dquo; 2;
in other
words,
epistemological
reflection on
the conditions of
possibility
of the
anthropological
sciences forms an inte-
gral part
of the
anthropological
sciences. That is so
firstly
because a science
which has as its
very object
that which makes the science
possible,
such as
language
or
culture,
can
only
constitute itself
by
the constitution of its own
conditions of
possibility;
but it is also because
complete knowledge
of the
conditions of the
science,
that
is,
of the
operations whereby
this science
acquires
symbolic mastery
of a
language,
a
myth
or a
rite,
implies
the
knowledge
of
prac-
tical
comprehension:
the
practical knowledge accomplishes
the same
oper-
ations,
though
in absolute
ignorance
of the
general
and
particular
conditions
within which it is
possible
and which confer its
particularity upon
it.
We have
only
to examine the theoretical
operations whereby
Saussure builds
up linguistics
as a
science,
by treating language
as an autonomous
object,
distinct from its materializations in
speech,
in order to reveal the
presuppo-
sitions
implicit
in
any
form of
knowledge
which treats
practices
or works
as
symbolic
facts to be decoded
and,
more
generally,
which treats them as
accomplished
facts rather than as
practices. Although
one could invoke
the existence of dead
languages
or of mutism in old
age
as
demonstrating
that
it is
possible
for
speech
to
disappear
while
language
remains
preserved,
although language
faults reveal
language
as
constituting
the
objective
norms
underlying speech (were
it
otherwise,
any language
fault would
modify
the
language
and there would be no
language faults), speech appears
to be the condi-
tion of
language,
as much from an individual as from a collective
point
of
view,
since
language
cannot be
apprehended
outside of
speech,
because
language
is learnt
by
means of
speech,
and because
speech
lies at the
origin
of inno-
vations in and transformations of
language.
But the
priority
of the two
pro-
cesses mentioned is
merely chronological;
when one leaves the field of indivi-
dual or collective
history,
as does
objectivist
hermeneutics,
in order to
inquire
into the
logical
conditions of
decoding,
the
relationship
is turned on its head :
language
is the condition of the
intelligibility
of
speech,
that is the mediation
which, ensuring
the
identity
of the associations of sounds and
concepts ope-
rated
by
the senders and
receivers, guarantees
mutual
comprehension.
So,
from this
point
of
view,
that of
intelligibility, speech
is the
product
of lan-
guage
3. It follows
that,
because it is
developed
from the
strictly
intellec-
2. E.
Husserl,
Logique formelle
et
logique transcendentale, Paris,
Presses Universitaires de
France, 1965, p.
52.
3. F. de
Saussure,
Cours de
linguistique générale, Paris, Payot, 1960, pp.
37-38.
at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
57
tualist
point
of
view,
that of
decoding,
Saussurian
linguistics gives priority
to the structure of
signs,
that
is,
to the relations between
them,
to the detriment
of their
practical functions,
which are never
reducible,
as structuralism
tacitly
assumes,
to functions of communication or
knowledge:
those
practices apparent-
ly
most
strictly
oriented towards functions of communication for the sake of com-
munication
(the phatic
function)
or communication for the
purposes
of know-
ledge,
such as feasts and
ceremonies,
ritual
exchanges
or,
in a
wholly
different
field,
the circulation of scientific
information,
are
always
more or less
openly
oriented towards
political
or economic functions.
Structuralist
linguistics
bases the construction of the structural
properties
of the
message
as
such,
that is to
say,
as a
system,
on the
assumption
of an
impersonal
and
interchangeable
sender and receiver and on the
ignorance
of the functional
properties
that each
message
owes to its utilization within
a certain
social(>,
structured interaction. In
fact,
we know well that the
sym-
bolic interactions within
any group depend,
not
only
on the structure of the
interaction
group
within which
they
occur 4,
but also on the social struc-
tures within which the
interacting agents
are situated
(e.g.
the class
structure):
consequently,
it is
probable
that a measurement of
symbolic exchanges
which
would enable us to
distinguish,
with
Chapple
and
Coon 5,
those who
only
originate,
those who
only respond
and those who
respond
to the
sending
of
the first
group
while
originating
with
regard
to the second
group,
would
reveal,
both on the level of a
society
in its
entirety
and inside a circumstantial
group,
the
dependence
of the structure of
symbolic power
relations
upon
the struc-
ture of
political power
relations. The
perfect competition
model is
just
as
unrealistic here as it is
elsewhere,
the market in
symbolic goods
also
having
its
monopolies
and its structures of domination.
In
short,
the moment one shifts from the structure of
language
to the func-
tions it
fulfills,
that
is,
to the uses
agents really
make of
it,
one sees that know-
ledge
of the code alone
permits only
a
very imperfect mastery
of the
linguistic
interactions
actually
carried
out;
as Luis Prieto
observes,
the
meaning
of a
linguistic
element
depends
at least as much on
extra-linguistic
as on
linguistic
factors,
that
is,
on the context and situation in which it is
employed.
It is
as
if,
in the class of
significates abstractly corresponding
to a
speech
sound,
the receiver &dquo;selected&dquo; the one that seemed to him to be
compatible
with the
circumstances,
such as he
perceives
them 6. Which is another
way
of
saying
that the
reception (and
doubtless the emission
too)
largely depends
on the
objective
structure of the relations between the
objective positions
in the so-
cial structure of the
interacting agents (e.g. competitive
relations, objectively
4. S. Moscovici and M.
Plon,
"Les
situations-colloques :
Observations
théoriques
et
expé-
rimentales",
Bulletin de
psychologie, jan. 1966, pp.
701-722.
5. E. D.
Chapple
and C. S.
Coon, Principles of anthropology,
London,
Jonathan
Cape,
1947, p.
283.
6. L. J.
Prieto, Principes
de
noologie, Paris, Mouton, 1964,
and J. C.
Pariente,
"Vers un
nouvel
esprit linguistique", Critique, apr. 1966,
pp.
334-358. at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
58
antagonistic
relations or
power
and
authority relationships, etc.),
for it is this
structure which determines the form assumed
by
the interactions observed
within a
particular conjuncture.
Nothing
demonstrates better the
inappropriateness
of the
theory
of
prac-
tice
haunting linguistic (and
also
anthropological)
structuralism than its
inability
to
integrate,
into this
theory,
all that
pertains
to
execution,
as Saus-
sure
puts
it. The foundations of this
inability
reside in the
incapacity
to
think of
speech
and,
more
generally,
of
practice
otherwise than as execution 1.
Objectivism
constructs a
theory
of
practice (as execution),
but
only
as a
nega-
tive
sub-product or,
one
might say,
as a refuse
immediately
thrown
away,
left over from the construction of
language
or culture as
systems
of
objective
relations.
So,
with the aim of
delimiting,
within
language
facts,
the &dquo;field
of
language&dquo;
and of
isolating
&dquo;a well defined
object&dquo;,
&dquo;an
object capable
of
being
studied
seperately&dquo;,
&dquo;with a
homogeneous nature&dquo;,
Saussure
rejects
the
&dquo;physical aspect
of
communication&dquo;,
that
is,
speech
as a
pre-constructed
object,
liable to obstruct the construction of
language;
then within the
&dquo;speech
circuit&dquo;,
he isolates what he terms the &dquo;executive
aspect &dquo;,
that
is,
speech
as a
constructed
object,
defined as the actualization of a certain
meaning
within
a
particular
combination of
sounds,
which he
finally
eliminates
by stating
that
&dquo;execution is never carried out
by
the
collectivity&dquo;,
but is
&dquo;always
individual&dquo;.
Thus,
the same
concept,
that of
speech,
is divided
by
theoretical construction
into a
preconstructed datum,
which is
immediately
observable and the
very
one
against
which the
operation
of theoretical construction is carried
out,
and a
constructed
object,
the
negative product
of the
operation whereby language
as
such is constituted
or, better,
which
produces
the two
objects by producing
the
conflicting relationship
within which and
by
which
they
are defined. It
would be
easy
to show that the construction of the
concept
of culture
-
in
the sense of cultural
anthropology
-
or of social structure
(in
Radcliffe-
Brown’s sense and that of social
anthropology)
also
implies
the construction
of a notion of conduct as execution which coexists with the
primary
notion
of conduct as
simple
behaviour taken at face value. The extreme confusion
of debates on the
relationship
between &dquo;culture&dquo;
(or
&dquo;social
structures&dquo;)
and conduct
usually
arises out of the fact that the constructed
meaning
of
conduct and its
implied theory
of
practice
lead a kind of clandestine existence
inside the discourse of both the defenders and the
opponents
of cultural
anthropology.
In
fact,
the most virulent
opponents
of the notion of &dquo;cul-
7. "Neither is the
psychological part
of the circuit
wholly responsible:
the executive side
is
missing,
for execution is never carried out
by
the
collectivity.
Execution is
always
indivi-
dual,
and the individual is
always
its master: I shall call the executive side
speaking (parole)"
(F.
de
Saussure,
Course in
general linguistics,
New
York, Philosophical Library, 1959, p. 13).
The most
explicit
formulation of the
theory
of
speech
as execution is
certainly
found in the work
of Hjelmslev,
who
clearly
reveals the various dimensions of the Saussurian
opposition
between
language
and
speech,
the former
being institutional,
social and
"rigid",
the other
being
executive,
individual and
"non-rigid" (L. Hjelmslev,
Essais
linguistiques, Copenhagen,
Nordisk
Sprog-og Kulturforlag, 1959, esp. p. 79). at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
59
ture&dquo;,
such as
Radcliffe-Brown,
can
only
set over a naive realism
against
the realism of the ideas which turn &dquo;culture&dquo; into a transcendent and autonomous
reality,
which
obeys only
its own internal laws e. The
implicit
state of its
theory
of
practice
is what
protects objectivism against
the
only really
decisive criti-
cism,
that which would be aimed at its
theory
of
practice,
the
generator
of all
those
metaphysical
aberrations on the &dquo;locus of
culture&dquo;,
on the mode of
existence of the &dquo;structure&dquo; or on the unconscious
finality
of the
history
of
systems,
not to mention the too famous &dquo;collective consciousness&dquo; 9.
Short of
constructing practice
other than
negatively,
that
is,
as
execution,
objectivism
is condemned either
only
to record
regularities, ignoring
the whole
8. "Let us consider what are the
concrete,
observable facts with which the social anthro-
pologist
is concerned. If we set out to
study,
for
example,
the
aboriginal
inhabitants of a
part
of
Australia,
we find a certain number of individual human
beings
in a certain natural
environment. We can observe the acts of behaviour of these
individuals, including
of course
their acts of
speech,
and the material
products
of
past
actions. We do not observe a "cul-
ture",
since that word
denotes,
not
any
concrete
reality,
but an
abstraction,
and as it is com-
monly
used a
vague
abstraction. But direct observation does reveal to us that these human
beings
are connected
by
a
complex
network of social relations. I use the term "social struc-
ture" to denote this network of
actually existing
relations"
(A.
R.
Radcliffe-Brown,
"On
social
structure",
Journal
of the Royal Antropological Institute of
Great Britain and Ireland
70, 1940, pp. 1-12).
The reason for the extreme confusion
surrounding
debates on the
notion of culture
probably
lies in the fact that most authors
place
—
if
only
in order to
oppose
them —
concepts
of
very
different
epistemological
status,
such as culture and
society
or the
individual or
conduct, etc.,
on the same level. The
imaginary dialogue
on the notion of
culture
presented by Clyde
Kluckhohn and William H.
Kelly (cf .
C. Kluckhohn and W. H.
Kelly,
"The
concept
of
culture", pp.
78-105 in: R. Linton
(ed.),
The science
of man
in the
world
crisis,
New
York,
Columbia
University Press, 1945) gives
a more
summary, though
livelier
image
of this debate than that to be found in A. L. Kroeber and C. Kluckhohn’s
work,
Culture: A critical review
of concepts
and
definitions, Cambridge, Mass.,
Harvard
University Press, 1952,
Papers
of the
Peabody
Museum of American
Archaeology
and Ethno-
logy
67
(1).
Leach has observed that,
despite
their
apparent opposition,
Malinowski and
Radcliffe-Brown at least
agree
to consider each
"society"
or each "culture"
(in
their
respec-
tive
vocabularies)
as a
"totality
made
up
of a number of
discrete, empirical ’things’,
of
rather diverse kinds
—
e.
g. groups
of
people, ’institutions’,
customs" or also as "an
empi-
rical whole made
up
of a limited number of
readily
identifiable
parts",
the
comparison
between different societies
having
the
purpose
of
examining
whether the "same kinds of
parts"
are to be found in all cases
(E.
R.
Leach, Rethinking anthropology, London,
Athlone
Press, 1961, p.
6).
9. If we
except
those rare authors who confer on the notion of conduct a
meaning
that
is
rigorously
defined
by
the
operation constituting
it as
opposed
to "culture"
(for example,
H. D.
Laswell,
who states that "if an act conforms to culture then it is
conduct, if not,
it is be-
haviour",
H. D.
Lasswell,
"Collective autism as a
consequence
of culture
contact", Zeitschrift
für Sozialforschung 4, 1935, pp. 232-247)
without
drawing any
conclusions from
it,
most of
those who
employ
the
opposition propose epistemologically
discordant definitions of culture
or of
conduct, opposing
a constructed
object
to a
preconstructed
datum, leaving
the
place
of the second constructed
object, namely practice,
in the sense of
execution, empty:
thus
—
and this is far from the worst
example
—
Harris
opposes
"cultural
patterns"
to
"culturally
patterned behaviours",
as "what is constructed
by
the
anthropologist"
and "what members
of a
society
observe or
impose upon
others"
(M. Harris,
"Review of selected
writings
of
Edward
Sapir, language,
culture and
personality", Language
27
(3), 1951, pp. 288-333). at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
60
question
of the
principle
of their
production,
or to
reify
abstractions,
by
treating objects
constructed
by
science
-
be
they &dquo;culture&dquo;, &dquo;structures&dquo;,
&dquo;social
classes&dquo;,
&dquo;modes of
production&dquo;,
etc.
-
as autonomous
realities,
endowed with social
efficacity, capable
of
acting
as
subjects responsible
for
historical actions or as a
power capable
of
constraining practices. Although
it has the merit of
rejecting
the coarser forms of the realism of
ideas,
the
hypothesis
of the unconscious nonetheless tends to mask the contradictions
arising
out of the uncertainties of the
theory
of
practice
which &dquo;structural
anthropology&dquo; accepts,
if
only by omission,
and even
worse,
it
may permit
the restoration
-
in the
apparently
secularized form of a structure that is
structured without the aid of
any structuring principle
-
of the old entelechies
of social
metaphysics.
Unless,
of
course,
one
assumes,
along
with
Durkheim,
that none of the
implicit
rules
constraining subjects
&dquo;are to be found in
their
entirety
in their
applications by individuals,
since
they may
even exist
without
actually being applied&dquo; 10,
and
consequently
that the rules have
the transcendent and
permanent
existence that Durkheim ascribes to all col-
lective
&dquo;realities&dquo;,
it is
impossible
to
escape
the coarsest naiveties of
legalism,
which believes
practices
to be the
product
of obedience to
norms,
except by
playing
on the
multiple meanings
of the word rule: most often used in the sense
of a social
norm, expressly
stated and
explicitly recognized,
as the moral or
juridical law,
sometimes in the sense of a theoretical
model,
a construction
developed by
science in order to
explain practices,
the word is also
used,
exceptionally,
in the sense of a scheme
(schème) (or
a
principle)
that is im-
manent in
practice,
which should be considered
implicit
rather than uncons-
cious,
merely
in order to
signify
that it exists in a
practical state,
in the
practice
of
agents,
and not in their consciousness.
One has
only
to re-read the
following paragraph,
from the
preface
of the
second edition of Structures elenrerrtaires de la
pat-eiiti (Elementary
structures
of kinslrip) dealing
with the distinction between
&dquo;preferential&dquo;
and
&dquo;pres-
criptive systems&dquo;,
in which one
may
assume that the terms
norm,
rule or model
are used with
particular
care:
&dquo;Conversely,
a
system
which recommends mar-
riage
with the mother’s brother’s
daughter may
be called
prescriptive
even
if the rule is seldom
observed,
since what it
says
must be done. The
question
of how far and in what
proportion
the members of a
given society respect
the norm is
very interesting,
but a different
question
to that of where this
society
should
properly
be
placed
in a
typology.
It is sufficient to acknow-
ledge
the likelihood that awareness of the rule inflects choices ever so little
in the
prescribed direction,
and that the
percentage
of conventional
marriages
is
higher
than would be the case if
marriages
were made at
random,
to be able
to
recognize
what
might
be called a matrilateral
‘oper-ator’
at work in this
society
and
acting
as a
pilot:
certain alliances at least follow the
path
which it
10. E.
Durkheim,
Les
règles
de la méthode
sociologique, Paris,
Presses Universitaires
de
France, 1956, p.
11. at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
61
charts out for
them,
and this suffices to
imprint
a
specific
curve in the
genea-
logical space.
~( No doubt there will be not
just
one curve but a
great
number of
local
curves,
merely incipient
for the most
part,
however,
and
forming
closed
cycles only
in rare and
exceptional
cases. But the structural outlines which
emerge
here and there will be
enough
for the
system
to be used in
making
a
probabilistic
version of more
rigid systems
the notion of which is
completely
theoretical and in which
marriage
would conform
rigorously
to
any
rule the
social
group pleases
to enunciate.&dquo; 11 This
passage,
as indeed the whole
preface,
is written in the
language
of
norms,
while Structural
anthropology
is written in
the
language
of
models,
or if one
prefers,
of
structures;
this
vocabulary
is not
entirely
absent
here,
since the
system
of
physico-mathematical metaphors
on which the central
passage
is founded
(&dquo;operator&dquo;,
&dquo;certain alliances&dquo;
&dquo;follow the
path
which it charts out for
them&dquo;,
&dquo;curvature&dquo; of the
&dquo;genealo-
gical space&dquo;, &dquo;structures&dquo;)
evokes the
logic
of the theoretical model and the
-
both declared and
repudiated
-
equivalence
of model and norm : &dquo;A
pre-
ferential
system
is
prescriptive
when
envisaged
at the model
level,
a
prescrip-
tive
system
must be
preferential
when
envisaged
on the level of
reality.&dquo; 12
But for those who remember the
passages
in Structural
anthropology
on the
relationship
between
language
and
kinship (e.g. &dquo; ’Kinship systems’,
like
’phonemic systems’,
are built
by
the mind on the level of unconscious
thought. &dquo;13)
and the
imperious
flatness with which &dquo;cultural norms&dquo; and all the &dquo;rationali-
zations&dquo; or
&dquo;secondary arguments&dquo; produced by
the natives were
rejected
in
favour of &dquo;unconscious
tructures&dquo;,
not to mention those
passages
where
the
universality
of the rule
lying
at the
origins
of
exogamy
is
affirmed,
the
concessions made here to &dquo;awareness of the
rule&dquo;,
and the dissociation from these
rigid systems,
whose notion is
completely
theoretical,
may
come as a
surprise,
as
may
this other
passage
taken from the same
preface:
&dquo;It is nonetheless true
that the
empirical reality
of so-called
prescriptive systems only
takes on its
full
meaning
when related to a theoretical mode worked out
by
the natives
themselves
prior
to
ethnologists.&dquo;11;
or
again:
&dquo;Those who
practise
them
know .fully
that the
spirit
of such
systems
cannot be reduced to the
tautological
proposition
that each
group
obtains its women from
’givers’
and
gives
its
daughters
to ’takers’.
They
are also aware that
marriage
with the matrilateral
cross cousin (mother’s brother’s
daughter) provides
the
simplest
illustration
of the
rule,
the form most
likely
to
guarantee
its survival. On the other
hand,
marriage
with the
patrilateral
cross cousin
(father’s
sister’s
daughter)
would violate it
irrevocably&dquo;
15. One must
mention, here,
a
passage
in which
11. C.
Lévi-Strauss,
The
elementary
structures
of kinship, London,
Social science
paper-
backs, 1969, p.
33
(my italics).
12. Ibid.
13. C.
Lévi-Strauss,
Structural
anthropology, London,
Allen
Lane, Penguin Press,
1968, p. 34.
14.
Lévi-Strauss,
The
elementary
structures
of kinship, op. cit., p.
32.
15.
Ibid.
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62
Wittgenstein
enumerates all the
questions
evaded
by
structural
anthropology
and
doubtless,
more
generally, by
all
intellectualism,
which transfers the
objec-
tive truth established
by
science into a
practice
which excludes the
disposition
which would make it
possible
to establish this truth 16 : &dquo;What do I call the
rule
by
which he
proceeds?
The
hypothesis
that
satisfactorily
describes his use of
words;
or the rule which he looks
up
when he uses
signs;
or the one which he
gives
us in
reply
if we ask him what his rule is? But if observation does not
enable us to see
any
clear
rule,
and the
question brings
none to
light ?
For he
did indeed
give
me a definition when I asked him what he understood
by ’N’;
but he was
prepared
to withdraw and alter it.
So,
how am I to determine the
rule
according
to which he is
playing?
He does not know it himself.
Or,
to
ask a better
question:
What
meaning
is the
expression
’the rule
according
to
which he acts’
supposed
to have left in it here?&dquo; 11 To consider
regularity,
i. e. what recurs with a certain
statistically measurable freguency,
as the
product
of a
consciously
laid-down and
consciously respected regulation (so having
to
explain
both their
genesis
and their
effectiveness),
or else as the
product
of the ullconsciolls
regulation
of some
mysterious
cerebral and social mecha-
nism,
is to
slip
from the model
of reality
to the
reality
of the model: &dquo;Take
the
example
of the difference between ’the train is
regularly
two minutes late’
and ’as a rule the train is two minutes late’:
[...] in
the latter case it is
suggest-
ed that the fact that the train is two minutes late is the result of a
policy
or
plan [...] I
Rules relate to
plans
and
policies,
while
regularities
do not
[...] To
claim that there
ought
to be rules in natural
language
amounts to
claiming
that roads
ought
to be red because
they correspond
to the red lines on a
map&dquo;
18.
All
sociological
statements should be
preceded by
a
sign announcing
&dquo;it is
as if&dquo; and should function in the same
way
as
quantifiers
in
logic,
which would
continually
remind us of the
epistemological
status of the constructed
concepts
of
objective
science.
Everything conspires
to
encourage
the reification of
concepts, beginning
with the
logic
of
ordinary language,
which is inclined to
infer the substance from the substantive or to award to
concepts
the
power
to act in
history
in the same
way
as the words
designating
them act in the sen-
tences of historical
discourse,
that is as historical
subjects.
As
Wittgenstein
remarked,
one has
only
to
slip
from the adverb
&dquo;unconsciously&dquo; (&dquo;uncons-
ciously
I have a
toothache&dquo;)
to the substantive
&dquo;unconscious&dquo;,
or to a cer-
tain
usage
of the
adjective
&dquo;unconscious&dquo;
(as
in &dquo;I have an unconscious tooth-
ache&dquo;)
in order to
produce prodigies
of
metaphysical profundity
19. Simi-
16. This is an unwarranted transfer of the
same
type
as that
which, according
to Merleau-
Ponty, generates
the intellectualist and the
empiricist
errors in
psychology (cf .
M. Merleau-
Ponty,
La structure du
comportement, Paris,
Presses Universitaires de
France, 1949, esp. p.
124, 135).
17. L.
Wittgenstein, Philosophical investigations, Oxford,
Basil
Blackwell, 1963,
pp.
38-39.
18. P.
Ziff,
Semantic
analysis,
New
York,
Cornell
University Press, 1960, p.
38.
19. L.
Wittgenstein,
Le cahier bleu et le cahier
brun,
études
préliminaires
aux investi-
gations philosophiques, Paris, Gallimard, 1965, pp.
57-58.
at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
63
larly,
one can observe the theoretical
(and political)
effects
capable
of
being
engendered by
the
personification of
collectives
(in
such sentences as &dquo;the
bourgeoisie
thinks that...&dquo; or &dquo;the
working
class
rejects...&dquo;)
which amounts
to an assertion of the existence of a
group
or class &dquo;collective consciousness&dquo; :
by crediting groups
or institutions with
dispositions
that can
only
arise in
individual
consciousness,
even if
they
are the
product
of collective
conditions,
such as the
awakening
of consciousness of class
interests,
one
gets
out of ana-
lyzing
these conditions and
those,
in
particular,
which determine the
degree
of
objective
and
subjective homogeneity
of the
group
under consideration and
the
degree
of consciousness
among
its members.
The
paralogism underlying legalism
consists in
implicitly placing
in the
consciousness of individual
agents
the theoretical
knowledge
which can
only
be constructed and
conquered against practical experience;
in other
terms,
it consists in
conferring
the value of an
anthropological description upon
a
theoretical model constructed in order to account for
practices.
The
theory
of action as
simple
execution of a model
(in
the dual sense of norm and of
scientific
construction)
is
only
one
example among many
of the
imaginary
anthropology engendered by objectivism
when,
taking,
as Marx
puts
it,
&dquo;the
things
of
logic
for the
logic
of
things&dquo;,
it turns the
objective meaning
of
prac-
tices or works into the
subjective purpose
of the
activity
of the
producers
of
these
practices
or
works,
with its
impossible
homo economicus
subjecting
his
decision-making
to rational
calculation,
its actors
carrying
out roles or
acting
in
conformity
with
models,
or its
speakers selecting
from
among phonemes.
~

1
Structures,
habitus and
practices
.

It is
necessary
to
go beyond
methodical
objectivism,
which constitutes a
necessary phase
in all
research,
as a tool
facilitating
the break with
primary
experience
and as an instrument for the construction of
objective
relations.
To
escape
from the realism
of
the
structure,
which treats
systems
of
objective
relations as substances
by converting
them into wholes
already
constituted
outside of the
history
of the individual and the
history
of the
group,
it is both
necessary
and sufficient to
pass
from the
opus operatum
to the modus
operandi,
from statistical
regularity
or from
algebraic
structure to the
principle
of the
production
of this observed order: the construction of the
theory
of
practice
or,
more
precisely,
of the mode of
generation
of
practices,
is the condition of
the construction of an
experimental
science of the dialectic
of internality
and
externality,
that
is,
of the ititet-iializatioti
of externality
and of the extertiali.:a-
tiof2
of internality.
The structures of a
particular type
of environment
(e.g.
the material conditions of existence characteristic of a class
condition),
which
may
be
grasped empirically
in the form of the
regularities
associated with
a
socially
structured
environment, produce
habitus, systems
of durable dis-
at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
64
positions 2°,
structured structures
predisposed
to function as
structuring
struct-
ures,
i.e. as the
principle
of the
generation
and structuration of
practices
and
representations. Consequently,
these can be
objectively &dquo;regulated&dquo;
and
&dquo;regular&dquo;
without in
any way being
the
product
of obedience to
rules, objec-
tively adapted
to their
purposes
without
presupposing any
conscious
aiming
of ends and an
express mastery
of those
operations leading
to these ends
and,
. being
all
this,
collectively
orchestrated without
being
the
product
of a conduct-
or’s
orchestrating
action.
Even when
they appear
to be determined
by
the
future,
that
is, by
the
expli-
cit
-
and
explicitly
stated
- purpose
of a
project
or
plan,
the
practices produced
by
the
habitus,
as the
generating principle
of
strategies enabling
one to
cope
with unforeseen and
ever-changing situations,
are determined
by
the
implicit
anticipation
of their
consequences; being
determined
by
the
past
conditions
of the
production
of their
principle
of
production, they always
tend to
repro-
duce the
objective
structures of which
they are,
in the last
analysis,
the
product.
Thus,
for
example,
in the interaction between two
agents
or
groups
of
agents
possessing
the same habitus
(say
A and
B),
it is as if the actions of each of them
(say,
al for
A)
were
organized
in relation to the reactions
they
would call forth
in
any agent possessing
the same habitus
(say
bl,
B’s reaction to
al)
in such a
way
that
they objectively anticipate
the reaction which these reactions call
forth in turn
(say a2,
the reaction to
bl). Nothing
could be more
naive,
however,
than to
accept
the
teleological description according
to which each
action
(say, al)
was
designed
to make
possible
the reaction to the reaction
it
provoked (say
a2 as reaction to
bl).
The habitus
generates
a
sequence
of
&dquo;moves&dquo; which are
objectively organized
as
strategies
without in
any way being
the
product
of a true
strategic
intention
(which
would
suppose,
for
example,
that
they
be
perceived
as one
strategy among
several
possible strategies).
We cannot exclude the
possibility
that the habitus’
responses may
be accom-
panied by
a
strategic
calculation
tending
to
carry out, quasi-consciously,
what the habitus carries out in another
manner,
namely
an estimate of the
chances based on the transformation of the
past
effect into
anticipated
future
effect. These
responses
are nonetheless
primarily
related to a field
of object-
ive
potentialities, immediately
contained within the
present, things
to be
done or not to be
done,
to be said or not
said, which,
as
opposed
to the future
as &dquo;absolute
possibility&dquo; (absolute
Möglichkeit),
in
Hegel’s
sense,
projected
by
the
pure project
of a
&dquo;negative liberty&dquo;,
has an
urgency
and a claim to
existence
excluding
all deliberation.
Symbolic,
that
is,
conrentional and condi-
tional
stimuli,
which
only
act
upon agents
conditioned to
perceive
them,
tend
to
impose
themselves
unconditionally
and
necessarily
when inculcation of
20. The word
"disposition"
seems
particularly appropriate
for
expressing
what is cover-
ed
by
the
concept
of habitus
(defined
as a
system
of
dispositions): firstly,
it
expresses
the
result
of
an
organizing action, having
a
meaning very
close to such words as
structure;
further-
more,
it
designates
a manner
of being,
an habitual state
(in particular, concerning
the
body)
and,
especially,
a
predisposition,
a
tendency,
a
propensity
or an inclination.
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65
the
arbitrary
abolishes the arbitrariness of the inculcation and of the
signi-
fications inculcated: the world of
emergencies,
of
goals already achieved,
of
objects possessing
a
&dquo;permanently teleological character&dquo;,
as Husserl
puts it,
such as
tools,
of
paths already
marked
out,
of values transformed into
things,
which is that of
practice
can allow
only
a conditional freedom - liberet si
liceret
-
rather similar to that of the
magnetic
needle
which,
as Leibniz ima-
gined
it, actually enjoyed pointing
northwards. One
regularly
observes a
very
close
relationship
between
scientifically
constructed
objective probabilities (e. g.
opportunities
of access to
higher
education or to
museums, etc.)
and
subject-
ive
aspirations (&dquo;motivations&dquo;) :
this is not so because
agents consciously
adjust
their
aspirations
to a
precise
evaluation of their chances of success
-
the
way
a
gambler might modify
his bets as a function of
perfect
information
regarding
his chances of
winning
-
as we assume
implicitly when, forgetting
the &dquo;it is as
if&dquo;,
we act as
if the game theory
or the calculus of
probabilities,
both of them constructed
against spontaneous dispositions,
amounted to
anthropological descriptions
of
practice. Completely reversing
the
tendency
of
objectivism,
we
can,
on the
contrary,
seek in the rules of the scientific cons-
truction of
probabilities
or
strategies,
not an
anthropological
model of
prac-
tice,
but rather a
negative description
of the
implicit
tendencies of the
sponta-
neous
strategy
or
statistics,
which
they necessarily imply,
since
they
are
expli-
citly
constructed
against
these
implicit
tendencies
(e.g.
the
propensity
to
ascribe an
exaggerated importance
to
primary experiences).
Unlike the
scientific calculus of
probabilities
that is based on controlled
experiments
and on data established
according
to
precise
rules,
the
subjective
evaluation
of a
specific
action’s chances of success in a
specific
situation
brings
into
play
a whole
body
of semi-formalized
wisdom, dicta,
commonplaces,
ethical
pre-
cepts (&dquo;that’s
not for
us&dquo;)
and,
more
profoundly,
the unconscious
principles
of the
ethos,
a
general
and
transposable disposition which, being
the
product
of a
learning
dominated
by
a
specific type
of
objective regularity,
determines
&dquo;reasonable&dquo; or &dquo;unreasonable&dquo; behaviour for
any agent subject
to these
regularities 21.
&dquo;We are no sooner
acquainted
with the
impossibility
of
satisfying any desire&dquo;,
said
approximately
Hume,
in his Treatise on human
nature,
&dquo;than desire itself vanishes&dquo;. And Marx in the Gl1mdrisse: &dquo;What-
ever I
am,
if I have no
money
to
travel,
then I have no need
-
in the sense
of a real need to travel
-
capable
of
being
satisfied. Whatever I
am,
if I
feel an
urge
to
study
but I have no
money
to
pay
for
my studies,
then I have no
urge
to
study,
that is no
effective,
true
urge.&dquo;
Practices
may
be
objectively
21. "We call this
subjective,
variable
probability
—
which sometimes excludes doubt
and
engenders certainty
sui
generis
and
which,
at other times
appears
as no more than a
vague
glimmer
—
philosophical probability
because it refers to the exercise of the
higher faculty
whereby
we
comprehend
the order and the
rationality
of
things.
All reasonable men have
a confused notion of similar
probabilities;
this then
determines,
or at least
justifies,
those
unshakable beliefs we call common sense"
(A. Cournot,
Essai sur
les fondements
de la connais-
sance et sur les caractères de la
critique philosophique, Paris, Hachette, 1922, p. 70).
at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
66
adjusted
to
objective
chances without the
agents having
to
carry
out the
slightest
calculation,
nor even a more or less conscious estimate of the chances of success:
so,
it is as if the a
posteriori
or e.~
post probability
of an
event,
which is known as
a result
of past experience,
would determine the a
priori
or ex ante
probability
subjectively
ascribed to it. Because the
dispositions durably
inculcated
by
the
objective
conditions
(which
science
perceives through
statistical
regularities
as
probabilities objectively
attached to a
group
or a
class) gives
rise to
aspirations
and
practices
that are
objectively compatible
with these
objective
conditions
and,
to some
extent,
preadapted
to their
objective requirements,
the most
impro-
bable events are
excluded,
either without even
being
examined,
as unthink-
able,
or at the cost of a double
negation tending
to make a virtue out of
necessity
by refusing
what is
anyway
refused and
loving
the inevitable. The
very
conditions of the
production
of the
ethos,
a virtue fumed into
necessity,
are
such that the
anticipations arising
out of it tend to
ignore
the restriction to
which the
validity
of
any
calculus of
probabilities
is
subject, namely
that
the conditions of the
experiment
should not have been modified. Unlike
scientific
estimates,
which are
corrected,
following
each
experiment, according
to
rigourous
rules,
practical
estimates ascribe a
disproportionate weight
to
primary experiments:
the characteristic structures of a determinate
type
of
conditions of
existence,
through
the mediation of the economic and social
necessity
which
they bring
to bear on the
relatively
autonomous universe of
family relationship,
or
better,
through
the mediation of
specifically
familial
manifestations of this external
necessity (e. g.
taboos, worries,
lessons in moral-
ity,
conflicts, tastes,
etc.), produce
the habitus structures
which,
in
turn,
gene-
rate the
perception
and
appreciation
of all further
experience. Finally,
as
a result of the effect of
hysteresis necessarily
entailed in the
logic
of the
genesis
of
habitus, practices
are
always exposed
to
negative
sanctions,
hence to a
&dquo;secondary negative reinforcement&dquo;,
when the environment with which
they
are in fact confronted differs too
widely
from the environment to which
they
are
objectively adjusted.
It is
understandable,
in the same
logic,
that
generation
conflicts
oppose,
not
age
classes
separated by
natural
properties,
but classes of habitus
produced according
to different modes
of generation:
by instilling
different definitions of what is
impossible, possible, probable
and
certain,
the conditions of existence cause one
group
to
experience
as natu-
ral or reasonable the same
practices
or
aspirations
which the other
group
finds
unthinkable or
scandalous,
and vice versa.
In other
words,
one must abandon all those theories
which,
explicitly
or
implicitly,
treat
practice
as a mechanical
reaction,
directly
determined
by
antecedent conditions and
entirely
reducible to the
functioning
of
pre-estab-
lished
mechanisms, &dquo;models&dquo;,
&dquo;norms&dquo; or
&dquo;roles&dquo;;
if
not,
one is
supposed
to assume that these mechanisms exist in infinite
number,
as the fortuitous
configurations
of stimuli
capable
of
releasing
them from the
outside,
thus
being
condemned to the kind of
grandiose
and
desperate enterprise
undertaken
by
the
anthropologist who,
armed with fine
positivist courage,
recorded 480 ele-
at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
67
mentary
units of behaviour in
twenty
minutes of observation of his wife in
the kitchen ~~.
But,
the
rejection
of mechanistic theories in no
way implies
that, according
to the traditional
opposition
between
objectivism
and
subjec-
tivism,
we bestow
upon
some free and creative will the free and
arbitrary
power
to
produce,
on the
instant,
the
meaning
of the situation
by projecting
the
goals aiming
at its transformation. Nor does it mean that we reduce the
objective
intentions and constituted
significations
of human actions and works
to the conscious and deliberate intentions of their authors. Practice
is,
at
one and the same
time,
necessary
and
relatively
autonomous
by
reference to
the situation considered in its
precise immediacy,
because it is the
product
of the dialectical
relationship
between a situation and a
habitus,
understood
as a
system
of durable and
transposable dispositions which,
integrating
all
past experiences,
functions as a matrix
of perceptions, of appreciations
and
actions, making possible
the
accomplishment
of an infinite
variety
of
tasks,
thanks to
analogical
transfers of
schemes, practical metaphors,
in the strictest
sense of the
term,
which
permit
the resolution of
problems having
the same
form,
and thanks to incessant correction of the results
obtained,
that these
results
dialectically produce.
As the
durably generating principle
of
regulat-
ed
improvisations (principium importans
ordillem ad
actllll1 ,
as the schol-
astics
put
it),
the habitus
produces practices
which tend to
reproduce
the
regularities
inserted in the
objective
conditions of the
production
of their
generating principle,
.while
adjusting
to the demands inserted as
objective
potentialities
in the situation
directly being
confronted. Hence it follows
that the
practices
can
directly
be deduced neither from the
objective conditions,
defined as the instantaneous sum of the stimuli which
may appear directly
to have set them in
motion,
nor from the conditions which
produced
the last-
ing principle
of their
production. Consequently,
we can
only explain
these
practices
if we relate the
objective
structure
defining
the social conditions
of
production
of the habitus which
engendered
them to the conditions of the
operation
of this
habitus,
that
is,
if we relate the former to the
conjuncture
which,
except
when these conditions have been
radically transformed,
repre-
sents a
particular
state of this structure. The habitus is
capable
of
functioning
as an
operator
which
accomplishes practically
this
relating
of these two
sys-
tems of relations in and
by
the
production
of
practice,
because it is
history
transformed into
nature,
that is to
say,
denied as such because turned into
second
nature;
the &dquo;unconscious&dquo; is never
anything
more than the
forgetting
22. "Here we confront the
distressing
fact that the
sample episode
chain under
analysis
is a
fragment
of a
larger segment
of behavior which in the
complete
record contains some 480
separate episodes. Moreover,
it took
only twenty
minutes for these 480 behavior stream
events to occur. If
my
wife’s rate of behavior is
roughly representative
of that of other
actors,
we must be
prepared
to deal with an
inventory
of
episodes produced
at the rate of some
20 000
per sixteen-hour day [...]
In a
population consisting
of several hundred
actor-types,
the number of different
episodes
in the total
repertory
must amount to
many
millions
during
the course of an annual
cycle" (M. Harris,
The nature
of cultural things,
New
York,
Random
House, 1964, pp. 74-75).
at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
68
of the
history
which
history
itself
produces by incorporating
the
objective
structures in the form of these
quasi-natures,
the habitus: &dquo;Inside each one
of
us,
in
varying proportions,
there exists
part
of
yesterday’s
man;
it is
yes-
terday’s
man who
inevitably predominates
in
us,
since the
present
amounts
to little as
compared
with the
long past,
in the course of which we were form-
ed and from which we result. But we do not sense this man from the
past,
since he is so much a
part
of us ;
he is the unconscious
part
of ourselves. Con-
sequently,
we do not take him into
account, anymore
than we take account
of his
legitimate requirements.
On the
contrary,
we are
very
much aware
of the most recent
acquisitions
of civilization
since, being recent, they
have
not
yet
had time to settle into our unconscious&dquo; 23. Amnesia of the
genesis,
one of the
paradoxical
effects of
history,
is
encouraged, also, (if
not
entailed)
by objectivist perception: comprehending
the
product
of
history
as
opus
operatum
and
placing
itself before the
fait accompli, objectivism
has to invoke
the
mysteries
of
pre-established harmony
or the
prodigies
of conscious concert-
ation in order to account for
what,
perceived purely synchronically, appears
as the
objective meaning,
whether it be the internal coherence of works or of
such institutions as
myths,
rites or laws or the
objective
concertation both
manifested and
presupposed (insofar
as
they
entail a
community
of
repertoires)
by
the concordant or even
conflicting practices
of members of the same
group
or class. The
fallacy
of
objectivism
is the
consequence
of the
complete
fail-
ure to
analyse
the dual
process
of internalization and externalization
or,
more
precisely,
the
production
of
objectively
concerted
habitus,
hence
apt
and incli-
ned to
produce practices
and works which
are, themselves, objectively
concert-
ed.
g
h .d
.
[ h d.. f. d d..1 Because the
identity
of the conditions of existence tends to
produce
similar
(at
least
partially so) systems
of
dispositions,
the
resulting (relative) homoge-
neity
of habitus
generates
an
objective
harmonization of
practices
and works
conferring upon
them the
regularity
as well as the
objectivity
which define
their
specific &dquo;rationality&dquo;
and which result in their
being experienced
as
evident or taken
for granted : they
are seen as
immediately intelligible
and
predictable by
all
agents possessing practical mastery
of the
system
of schemes
of action and
interpretation objectively implied
in their
accomplishment
and
by
those
alone;
that is
by
all those
who,
like the members of the same
group
or
class,
are
products
of identical
objective
conditions,
which exercice a llni-
versalizing aiid pa;ticulari=iiig effect
insofar as
they only homogenize
the mem-
bers of a
group by distinguishing
them from all the others. As
long
as we
ignore
the true
principle
of this conductorless
orchestration,
which confers
regularity, unity
and
systematicity upon
the
practices
of a
group
or
class,
and that in the absence of
any spontaneous
or
imposed organization
of indi-
vidual
projects,
we condemn ourselves to the kind of naive artificialism which
recognizes
no
unifying principle
of
ordinary
or
extraordinary activity
of a
23. E.
Durkheim, L’évolution pédagogique
en
France, Paris, Alcan, 1938, p.
16.
at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
69
group
or class other than the conscious and meditated concertation found
in
conspiracies.
In this
way,
some
may deny,
with no other
proof
than their
own fashionable
impressions,
the
unity
of the
ruling
class and
challenge
those
who hold the
opposite
view to establish
empirical proof,
that the members
of the
ruling
class have an
explicit policy, expressly imposed by explicit
concer-
tation. 2~.
Others,
who at least
provide
an
explicit
and
systematic
formulation
of this naive
representation
of collective
action,
transpose
the
archetypal
question
of the
philosophy
of consciousness to the level of the
group,
and turn
awakening
of class consciousness into a sort of
revolutionary cogito,
this alone
being
considered
capable
of
bringing
the class into
existence, by constituting
it as a &dquo;class for-itself&dquo;
( &dquo;Classe pour
soi &dquo;)
25.
The
objective
harmonization of
group
or class habitus results in the fact
that
practices
can be
objectively
attuned without
any
direct interaction
and,
a fortiori,
in the absence of
any explicit
concertation.
&dquo;Imagine, suggested
Leibniz,
two clocks in
perfect agreement
as to the time. This
may
occur in
three
ways.
The first consists in mutual
influence;
the second in
assigning
to each a skillful worker who would correct them and
synchronize
them
continually;
the third
way
would be to construct the two clocks with such art
and
precision
that one could be assured of their
subsequent agreement&dquo; 26.
By systematically retaining only
the
first,
or at the
most,
the second of these
hypotheses
-
when one casts a
party
or charismatic leader in the role
of
Deus
ex machina
-
one
ignores
the surest foundation of the
integration
of
groups
or classes: the
practices
of members of the same
group
or class are
always ; /
more and better attuned than the
agents
themselves know or would have
it,
24. "As for the
margin
of
autonomy enjoyed by political personnel
with
regard
to the
industrial
leadership,
it is neither
fixed,
once and for all in
any given country,
nor is it the
same in different domains of
activity.
I
challenge Meynaud
to account for the vicissitudes
of the French decolonization
process
in terms of the influence exercized
by capitalists
(some
were
colonialists,
others anticolonialists). And I am sure he will be unable to
explain
General De Gaulle’s
diplomacy
in terms of the influence of M.
Villiers,
or of
the French
Employers’
Council."
(R. Aron, "Catégories dirigeantes
ou classe
dirigean-
te?",
Revue
française
de science
politique
15
(1),
feb.
1965, p. 24.)
From his
long
"demonstration" of the
governing
class’s
unconsciousness,
and
incoherence,
we shall
merely quote
a few
passages:
"One of
my disappointments
has been to observe that those
who, according
to the Marxist
representation
of the
world,
determine the course of
events,
most often have no
political conceptions [...]
I have met a number of
representatives
of
this ’damned
race’,
I have never known them to hold
resolute,
or
unanimous, opinions
con-
cerning
the
policy
to be
adopted [...] the capitalists
themselves were divided. I have disco-
vered, among ’monopolists’,
or
’big capitalists’, uncertainties,
doubts and
quarrels
which
were aired in
public,
in the
press,
and in Parliament. In order to
imagine
that it is
they
who
have directed French
policy,
I would have to assume that some
among
them were able to
impose
their
policies [...]
In most of the cases I have been able to observe
directly,
the
repre-
sentatives of
big capitalism
are less
politically
motivated than is
generally
believed"
(R. Aron,
Démocratie et
totalitarisme, Paris, Gallimard, 1965, pp. 145-149).
25. See
Appendix.
26. G. W.
Leibniz,
"Second éclaircissement du
système
de la communication des subs-
tances", p.
548 in: P. Janet
(ed.),
Oeuvres
philosophiques (vol. 2), Paris,
de
Lagrange,
1866. at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
70
because,
as Leibniz
says, &dquo;by only obeying
its own
laws&dquo;,
each &dquo;nonetheless
is attuned to the other&dquo; 27. The habitus is
nothing
either than this immanent
law,
lex iiisita
deposited
in each
agent by
his basic
education,
which is not
only
the condition of the concertation of
practices
but also
of practices
of concert-
ation : the rectifications and
adjustments consciously
carried out
by
the
agents presuppose
the
mastery
of a common
code,
and
attempts
at
collective
mobilization cannot succeed without a minimum of
agreement
between the
habitus of the
mobilizing agents (e.g. prophet
or
party leader, etc.)
and the
dispositions
of those whose
aspirations they attempt
to
express.
Far from the
concertation of
practices always being
the
product
of
concertation,
one of
the
prime
functions of the orchestration of habitus
might
be to allow a
saving
in &dquo;intention&dquo; and in the &dquo;intentional transfer to the Other&dquo;
by making
possible
a kind of
practical
behaviourism
which,
in most situations in
life,
dispenses
with close
analysis
of the nuances of someone else’s conduct or with
direct
investigation
of his intentions
(&dquo;What
do
you
mean
?&dquo;): just
as someone
who
posts
a letter
supposes simply,
as Schutz has
shown,
that
anonymous
employees
will conduct themselves
anonymously,
in
conformity
with his ano-
nymous intention,
in the same
way
someone who
accepts money
as an instru-
ment of
exchange implicitly
takes into
account,
as Weber
shows,
the chances
that other
agents
will
agree
to
recognize
its function. Automatic and
impersonal,
significant
without
intending
to
signify,
the
ordinary
conduct of life lends
itself to a no less automatic and
impersonal decoding:
the
decoding
of the
objective
intention which
they express
in no
way requires
the &dquo;reactivation&dquo;
of the intention
&dquo;experienced&dquo; by
the
person
who
accomplishes
this conduct ~e.
Each
agent
is a
producer
and
reproducer
of
objective meaning:
because
his actions are the
product
of a modus
operandi
of which he is not the
producer
and of which he does not
possess
conscious
mastery, they
contain an
&dquo;objec-
tive
intention&dquo;,
as the scholastics
say,
which
always
exceeds his conscious
intentions.
Thus,
just
as is shown
by
Gelb and
Goldstein,
certain
aphasics
who have lost the
power
to evoke the word or notion called forth
by
the mean-
ing, may pronounce,
as
though inadvertently,
formulae in which
they only
later
recognize
the
response
called
for,
so the internalized schemes of
thought
and
expression
make
possible
the intentionless invention of
regulated impro-
visation whose
points
of
departure
and
support
lie in
ready-made
&dquo;formulae&dquo;,
such as
word-pairs
or
contrasting images
29:
continually
overtaken
by
his
27. Ibid.
28. It is one of the merits of
subjectivism
and moralism that it
demonstrates, per
absurdum,
in
analyses
in which it condemns actions
subject
to the world’s
objective
solli-
citations as unauthentic
(whether Heideggerian analyses
of
daily
existence and of "das Man"
or Sartrean
analyses
of "the
spirit of serious-mindedness"),
the
impossibility
of the "authentic"
existence which would
gather
into a
project
of
liberty
all the
pre-given significations
and ob
jective
determinations.
29. If it did not constitute a
rudimentary,
hence economic and
practical form, thought
in terms of
couples
would
probably
be less
frequent
in
ordinary language and,
even in schol-
arly language, beginning
with the
language
of
anthropologists,
still dominated
by
numerous
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71
own
words,
with which he carries on a
relationship
of
&dquo;carry
and be
carried&dquo;,
as Nicolai Hartmann
puts
it,
the virtuoso
discovers,
in the
opus operatum,
new cues and new
supports
for the modus
operandi
of which it is the
product,
in such a
way
that his discourse
continuously
feeds off itself like a train
bring-
ing along
its own rails 3°. Witticisms
surprise
their author no less than their
audience and
they
~mpress
as much
by
their
retrospective necessity
as
by
their
novelty,
because the
discovery appears
as the
simple
revelation,
both fortuit-
ous and
ineluctable,
of a
possibility
immanent in the structures of
language.
It is because
subjects
do
not, properly speaking,
know what
they
are
doing
that what
they
are
doing
has more
meaning
than
they suspect.
The habitus
is the
universalizing
mediation which makes
practices
that have neither
explicit
reason nor
significant
intention
&dquo;sensible&dquo;,
&dquo;reasonable&dquo; and
objectively
orchestrated: that
part
of
practices
which remains obscure in the
eyes
of
their own
producers
is the
aspect whereby they
are
objectively adjusted
to
the other
practices
and structures of which the
principle
of their own
produc-
tion
is, itself,
the
product.
In order to be finished with chitchat
concerning
the
&dquo;comprehension&dquo;
which constitutes the last resort of those who defend
the
rights
of
subjectivity against
the &dquo;reductive&dquo;
imperialism
of the human
sciences,
we have
only
to recall that the
decoding
of the
objective
intention
of
practices
and works has
nothing
to do with the
&dquo;reproduction&dquo; (Nach-
bildung,
as the
early Dilthey put
it)
of
subjective experiences
and the reconsti-
tution,
useless and
uncertain,
of the
personal singularities
of an &dquo;intention&dquo;
which did not
actually generate
them.
Because
they
are the
product
of
dispositions
which,
being
the internaliza-
tion of the same
objective
structures,
are
objectively
concerted,
the
practices
of the members of the same
group or,
in a differentiated
society,
of the same
class, possess
an
objective meaning
that is both
unitary
and
systematic,
transcending subjective
intentions and conscious individual or collective
pro-
jects
31 : in other
words,
the
process
of
objectification
cannot be described in
the
language
of interaction and mutual
adjustment,
because the interaction itself
owes its form to the
objective
structures which
produced
the
dispositions
of
false
dichotomies,
such as the individual and
society, personality
and
culture, community
and
society,
"folk" and
"urban", etc.,
which are
just
as
inadequate
as the most traditional
philosophical dichotomies,
such as matter and
spirit, body
and
soul, theory
and
practice,
etc.
(cf .
R. Bendix and P.
Berger, "Images
of
society
and
problems
of
concept
formation in socio-
logy", pp.
92-118 in: L. Gross
(ed.), Symposium
on
sociological theory,
New
York, Harper
and
Row,
1959.
30. R.
Ruyer,
Paradoxes de la conscience et limites de
l’automatisme, Paris,
A.
Michel,
19G6, p.
136.
31. Were this
language
not otherwise
dangerous,
one would be
tempted
to
say, against
all forms
of subjectivist voluntarism,
that the
unity
of a class
fundamentally
rests
upon
the "class unconscious": "consciousness" is not an
originating
act which would consti-
tute the class in an
effulgence
of freedom;
its
only effectiveness,
as in all actions of
symbolic
duplication,
comes from the extent to which it
brings everything
that is
implicitly
assumed
concerning
the unconscious mode in the class habitus to the conscious level.
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72
the
interacting agents
and which
assign
them their relative
positions
in the
interaction and elsewhere. The
apparently
limitless universe of theories of
acculturation and cultural contacts can be reduced to an
opposition
between
the realism of ideas and the realism of the sensible. The first
category
of
theories treat cultural or
linguistic changes
as the result of contacts between
cultures and
languages, subject
to laws which are
generic
as the law of the
restructuring
of
borrowings
or
specific
as those established
by
the
analysis
of the structures
specific
to the
languages
or cultures in contact. The realism
of the sensible
emphasizes
contacts between the societies involved
(in
the sense
of
populations,
reducible to a set of
individuals)
and
ignores
most of the time
even the
objective
structure of the relations between the societies
confronting
each other
(domination, etc.).
In
fact,
in
every singular
confrontation between
two individual
agents
or
groups (e.g.
boss
giving
orders to a
subordinate,
colleagues talking
about their
pupils,
intellectuals
taking part
in a
sympo-
sium,
etc.),
that is in
every
interaction structured
by
the
objective
structure
of the
relationship
between the
corresponding groups (e.g.
colonizer and colo-
nized), generic
habitus
(borne by biological individuals)
are confronted:
interaction occurs between
systems
of
dispositions,
such as
linguistic compe-
tence and cultural
competence
and,
through
this
habitus,
all the
objective
structures of which
they
are the
product
and,
in
particular,
the structures of
the
systems
of
symbolic relations,
such as
language.
In this
way,
the struct-
ures of the
phonological systems
involved are
only
active
(as
is
witnessed,
for
example, by
the accent of non-native users of the dominant
language)
if
they
are
incorporated
into a
competence acquired
in the course of an individual
history (the
different kinds of
bilinguism being
the result of different modes
of
acquisition)
within a
learning process
which
implies
a selective deafness
and
systematic restructuring operations.
To
speak
of class habitus
(or
of
&dquo;culture&dquo;,
in the sense of cultural
compe-
tence
acquired
within a
homogeneous group)
is, then,
a reminder
against
all
forms of the occasionalist illusion which consists in
directly relating practices
to the
properties
contained in the situation:
&dquo;interpersonal&dquo;
relations are
never, except
in
appearance,
individual to individual
relationships
and the truth
of the interaction never
completely
resides in the interaction itself. Social
psychology,
interactionism and
ethnomethodology forget
this
when,
reduc-
ing
the
objective
structure of the
relationship
between individuals
brought
together
to the
conjunctural
structure of their interaction in a
particular
situa-
tion and
group, they propose
to
explain everything
that occurs in an
experimen-
tal or observed interaction
by
the
experimentally
controlled characteristics of
the
situation,
such as the relative
position
in
space
of the
participants
or the
nature of the channels utilized. It is their
past
and
present position
in the
social structure which
biological
individuals
carry
with
them,
at all times and
in all
places,
in the form of the habitus. The
dispositions
are seen as
signs
off social
positions and, hence,
of the social distance between
objective posi-
tions, or,
to
put
it another
way,
between the social
persons conjuncturally
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73
brought together (in
physical space,
which is not the same
thing
as social
space)
and as reminders of this distance and of the conduct
necessary
to strate-
gically manipulate
social distances
symbolically
or in
reality,
to shorten them
(which
is easier for the
dominating agent
than for the
dominated)
or to increase
them
or,
quite simply,
to maintain them
(by avoiding &dquo;permitting
familia-
rities&dquo;,
in
short, by &dquo;standing
on one’s
dignity&dquo;,
or,
conversely, by avoiding
&dquo;taking
liberties&dquo;
and,
in other
words,
by &dquo;staying
in one’s
place&dquo;).
Even those forms of interaction most
apparently susceptible
to
description
in terms of the &dquo;intentional transfer to the
Other&dquo;,
such as
sympathy,
friend-
ship
or
love,
are dominated
through
the mediation of the
harmony
of habitus
or,
more
precisely,
of
ethos
and taste
-
doubtless sensed in the
imperceptible
indices of
bodily exist-
by
the
objective
structure of the relations between
conditions and
positions,
as is confirmed
by
class
homogamy.
The illusion
of elective
aflinity
or mutual
predestination
arises out of
ignorance
of the social
conditions of the
harmony
of aesthetic tastes or ethical
inclinations,
thus
per-
ceived as a
proof
of the ineffable afhnities it
originates.
In
short,
the
habitus,
a
product
of
history, produces
individual and collective
practices,
hence
history,
in
conformity
with the
generative
schemes
generated by history.
More
precisely,
as a
past
which has survived into the
present
and which tends to
perpetuate
itself into the future
by generating practices
structured in accor-
dance with its
principles,
as the internal law
through
which the law of
external necessities
-
irreducible to the immediate constraints of the cir-
cumstances
-
continually operates,
the habitus
generates
on the one hand
the
continuity
and the
regularity
which
objectivism
observes in the social
world without
being
able to
present
a rational
explanation
for
them,
and,
on the other
hand,
the
regulated
transformations and revolutions which nei-
ther the extrinsic and instantaneous determinisms of mechanistic
sociologism
nor the
purely
internal
-
though equally punctual
-
determination of volun-
tarist or
spontaneist subjectivism
are
capable
of
accounting
for.
It is
just
as
true,
and
just
as untrue to
say
that collective actions
produce
the event or that
they
are the
product
of the event: in fact
they
are the
pro-
duct of a
conjuncture
that
is,
of the
necessary conjunction
of
dispositions
and an
objective
event. For
example,
the conditional stimulation of the revo-
lutionary conjuncture
calls forth a determinate
response
on the
part
of all
those who
perceive
it as
such,
that is those who are
disposed
to
perceive
it
as such because
they possess
a determinate
type
of
habitus,
which
may
be
duplicated
and reinforced
by
the
awakening
of class
consciousness,
that
is,
the
possession,
direct or
indirect,
of a form of discourse
capable
of
ensuring
symbolic mastery
of the
practically
mastered
principles
of class habitus ~.
32. The illusion of free creation
probably
finds some of its
justification
in the character-
istic circle of
any
conditional stimulation: habitus can
only give
rise to the
type
of
response
objectively
contained within its
logic
insofar as it bestows its effectiveness as a cue
upon
the
conjuncture by constituting
it
according
to its own
principles,
in other
words, by making
it exist as a
question
in reference to a
particular
manner of
interrogating reality.
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74
The
conjuncture capable
of
transforming practices
which are
objectively
coord-
inated because
adapted
to
partially
or
totally
identical
objective
necessities
into collective action is the
product
of the dialectical
relationship
between
the
dispositions
and the event. Without ever
being totally coordinated,
since
they
are the
product
of &dquo;causal series&dquo; characterized
by
different structural
durations,
the
dispositions
and the
situation,
which combine
synchronically
in order to constitute a determinate
conjuncture,
are never
totally independent,
since
they
are
engendered by objective
structures,
that
is,
in the final
analysis,
by
the economic structures: the
hysteresis
of
habitus,
which is
implied
in the
logic
of the
process
of
reproduction
of the structures within
habitus,
is
one
of the foundations of the structural
gap
between
opportunities
and the
dispo-
sition to
grasp
them which leads to missed
opportunities
and,
in
particular,
to the
incapacity
to
analyse
historical crises
according
to
categories
of
percep-
tion other than those of the
past,
even
revolutionary
ones.
So,
the
objective
structures are
products
of historical
practices continuously
reproduced (with
or without
transformations)
by
historical
practices
whose
productive principle
is, itself,
the
product
of structures
which,
because of
this,
it tends to
reproduce.
When one is unaware of the dialectical
relationship
between the
objective
structures and the
cognitive
and
motivating
structures
they produce
and which tend to
reproduce
them,
one has no choice but to
reduce the
relationship
between the different social
agencies
-
seen as &dquo;diffe-
rent translations of the same
sentence&dquo;, according
to a
Spinozist metaphor
-
to the
logical
formula which
permits
us to rediscover
any one
of them on the
basis of
any
other and to find the
principle
of the
development
of structures
in a kind of theoretical
parthenogenesis,
thus
offering
an
unexpected revenge
to the
Hegel
of the
Philosophy of history
and to his
Ti’eltgeist,
who
&dquo;develops
his
unique
nature&dquo; while
always remaining
identical to itself. As
long
as
one
accepts
the canonic
opposition
which
continually reappears
in new forms
throughout
the
history
of social
thought
and
today,
for
example, places
the
&dquo;humanist&dquo;
interpretations
of the
early
Marx in
opposition
to &dquo;structuralist&dquo;
readings
of
Capital,
one can
only escape subjectivism by falling
into fetishism
of social laws:
by establishing
the
relationship
of the
potential
to the
actual,
of the musical score to the
execution,
of the essence to the
existence,
between
structure and
practice, objectivism merely
substitutes a man
subjugated by
the dead laws of natural
history
for the creator man of
subjectivism.
The,
challenging
of the
indiridual,
considered as ens
realissimum,
leads
merely
to his
being
treated as an
epiphenomenon of hypostasized
structure,
and the asser-
tion of the
primacy
of
objective
relations leads to
bestowing upon
these
pro-
ducts of human action
-
structures
-
the
power
to
develop according
to
their own laws and to
determine,
or to
overdetermine,
other structures. The
problem
is not a new
one,
and the
attempt
to transcend the
opposition
between
subjectivism
and
objectivism always
came
up against
that
epistemological
obstacle,
the
individual,
still
capable
of
haunting
the
theory
of
history,
even
when he is
reduced,
as with
Engels,
to the state of a molecule
which,
in its
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75
relations with other
molecules,
in a kind of Brownian
motion, produces
an
objective meaning
reducible to the mechanical
composition
of
singular
chances 33.
Just as the
opposition
of
language
to
speech
as
simple execution,
or even
as
preconstructed object,
masks the
opposition
between the
objective
relations
of
language
and the
dispositions
of
linguistic competence, so,
the
opposition
between structure and individual
(against
which structure has to be
conquered,
and
conquered
over and over
again),
obstructs the construction of the dialec-
tical
relationship
between the structures and the
dispositions
of the habitus.
The habitus is the
product
of the work of inculcation and
appropriation
which
is
necessary
to make
possible
the
reproduction
of these
products
of collective
history:
thanks to this
work, objective
structures
(e.g.
of
language,
eco-
nomics, etc.)
come to
reproduce themselves,
in the form of durable
dispositions,
in all individual
organisms (which
one
may
call
individuals)
durably subjected
to the same
conditionings,
and hence
placed
in the same material conditions of
existence. In other
words,
sociology
treats all those
biological
individuals
which,
being
the
product
of the same
objective conditions,
act as
supports
for the same
habitus,
as identical: social
class,
as a
system
of
objective
rela-
tions,
must be
related,
not to the individual or to the &dquo;class&dquo; as a
population,
i.e. as the sum of enumerable and measurable
biological
individuals,
but to
the class habitus as a
system
of
dispositions
which are
(partially)
common
to all the
products
of the same structures. If it is not
possible
that all mem-
bers of the same class
(or
even two of
them)
can have had the same
experi-
ences in the same
order,
it is nonetheless clear that
any
member of the same class
has a
greater
chance than
any
member of another class of
having
found himself
confronted,
either as an actor or as a
witness,
by
those situations which are
most common for the members of that class. The
objective
structures,
which
science
grasps
in the form of statistical
regularities (for example,
in the form
of rates of
employment,
of income
curves,
of chances of access to
secondary
education,
etc.)
and which confer its
physiognomy upon
a collective
landscape,
with its closed
careers,
its &dquo;inaccessible&dquo;
positions,
its &dquo;blocked
horizons&dquo;,
inculcate,
through convergent experiences,
that kind of &dquo;art of
evaluating
33.
"History
is made in such a
way
that the final result
always emerges
from the conflict
of a
great
number of individual
wills,
of which each one in turn is made what it is as the result
of a crowd of
specific
conditions of
existence;
in
it, consequently,
innumerable forces
mutually
cross each
other,
an infinite
group
of
parallelograms
of
forces,
from which one resultant
emerges
—
the historical event
—
which
may,
in
turn,
be seen as the
product
of a force
acting
as a
whole, unconsciously
and
blindly. Because,
what an individual desires is obstructed
by every
other individual and what
emerges
is
something
that
nobody
wanted. In this
way,
up
till
now, history
has unfolded like a natural
process
and is also
subject,
in its
entirety,
to
the same laws of movement"
(F. Engels,
Letter to
Joseph
Bloch, sept. 21, 1890).
"Men make
their
history themselves, but, not, up
till the
present,
with the collective will of an overall
plan,
not even in a
given, clearly
delimited
society.
Their efforts cancel each other out and that
is
precisely why necessity, completed
and
expressed by chance, reigns
in all societies of this
type" (F. Engels,
Letter to Hans
Starkenburg, jan. 25, 1894).
at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from
76
likelihoods&dquo;,
as Leibniz
puts it,
that
is,
of
anticipating
the
objective
forth-
coming,
in
short,
that sense of
reality,
or realities.
The
relationship
between
class,
habitus and
organic individuality,
which
can never
entirely
be removed from
sociological
discourse
-
insofar as
being
immediately
available to
perception (intuitus personae),
it is also
socially
designated
and
recognized (name, legal person, etc.)
and insofar as it is defin-
ed
by
a social
trajectory
irreducible to
any
other
-
can be
expressed,
at least
metaphorically,
as those who use the notion of the unconscious sometimes
do
implicitly,
within the
language
of transcendental idealism.
Considering
the habitus as a
subjective,
but not
individual, system
of internalized
structures,
of
perception, conception
and action
-
schemes common to all the members
of the same
group
or class which constitutes the condition of all
objectifica-
tion
-
we
are,
in this
perspective, brought
to found the
objective
concertation
of
practices
and the
uniqueness
of the world view on the
perfect impersonality
and
substitutability
of
singular practices
and views. But this amounts to
claiming
that all
practices
or views
produced by
identical schemes are
imper-
sonal and
interchangeable,
in the manner of individual intuitions of
space
which,
according
to
Kant,
reflect none of the
peculiarities
of the
empirical
ego.
In
fact,
the
diversity
within
homogeneity,
which is characteristic of the
individual habitus of the different members of the same class and which reflects
the
diversity
within the
homogeneity
of the social conditions of
production
of these
habitus,
is based on the fundamental
relationship
of
homology
which
develops
between the habitus of the members of a
single group
or class because
they
are the
product
of the internalization of the same fundamental structures:
to
employ
Leibnizian
language,
the
homology
of world views correlative with
the
identity
of
perceptual
schemes does not exclude the
systematic
differences
separating
individual world
views,
developed
from individual
-
and
yet
con-
certed
-
points
of view.
Owing
to the
very logic
of its
genesis,
the habitus is a
chronologically
order-
ed series of
structures,
a structure of definite rank
specifying
the structures
of lower rank
(hence
genetically antecedent),
and
structuring
the
higher
rank-
ing
structures
through
the
intermediary
of its
structuring
action
upon
the
structured
experiences
which
generate
these structures :
thus,
for
example,
the habitus
acquired
in the
family gives
its structure to school
experiences
(and
in
particular
to the
reception
and assimilation of the
specifically
educa-
tional
message),
the habitus transformed
by
scholastic action
itself,
in
turn,
giving
its structure to all
subsequent experiences (for example,
to the
reception
and assimilation of
messages produced
and diffused
by
the cultural
industry,
or
professional experiences).
These
experiences
are
integrated
into the
unity
of a
systematic biography
which is
developed
on the basis of the
original
situa-
tion of
class, experienced
in a determinate
type
of
family
structure. The
history
of the individual is never
any
more than a certain
specific
case of the
collective
history
of his
group
or class
and,
in
consequence,
the
systems
of
individual
dispositions
are structural variants of the
group
or class
habitus,
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77
systematically arranged
even in the differences which
separate
them and which
reflect the differences between
trajectories
and
positions
within,
or outside
the class. &dquo;Personal&dquo;
style,
that
is,
the
particular
mark borne
by
all the
products
of a
single habitus, practices
or
works,
is
simply
a
deviation,
itself
regulated
and sometimes even
codified,
in relation to the
style
of a
period
or a class.
As
such,
it relates back to the common
style,
not
only by
its
conformity,
in
the manner of
Phydias who,
according
to
Hegel,
had no
&dquo;style&dquo;,
but also
by
the difference which makes the
&dquo;style&dquo;.
APPENDIX
(note 25)
Sartre offers an
ultra-subjectivist response
to the ritual
question underlying
the endless
debate over
objectivism
and
subjectivism. Treating revolutionary
consciousness as the
product
of a kind of
imaginary variation,
he claims for it the
power
to create
present
mean-
ing by creating
the
revolutionary
future which
negates
it: &dquo;For it is
necessary
here to reverse
the common
opinion
and on the basis of what it is
not,
to
acknowledge
the harshness of a
situation or the
sufferings
it
imposes,
both of which are motives for
conceiving
another state
of affairs in which
things
would be better for
everybody.
It is on the
day
that we can con-
ceive a different state of affairs that a new
light
falls on our troubles and our
suffering
and
that we decide that these are unbearable&dquo;
(J.P. Sartre, Bering
and
nothingness, London,
Methuen, 1957, pp. 434-435). Having ignored
or
rejected
the
question
of the economic
and social conditions
of awakening of
consciousness
of
economic and social
conditions,
Sartre
can
put
an absolute act of attribution of
meaning,
an &dquo;invention&dquo; or a
conversion,
at the
origin
of action
(J.P. Sartre, &dquo;R6ponse A Lefort&dquo;,
Les
temps
modemes
89, apr. 1953, pp.
1571-
1629).
If the world of action is
nothing
other than an
imaginary
universe of
interchange-
able
possibles, entirely dependent upon
the decrees of the consciousness which creates it
and hence
totally
void of
objectivity,
if it is
moving
because the
subject
chooses to be moved,
revolting
because he chooses to be
revolted, emotions, passions
and actions are
merely games,
of &dquo;bad faith&dquo; and of
&dquo;spirit
of
serious-mindedness&dquo;,
sad farces in which one is both bad
actor and
good
audience: &dquo;It is not
by
chance that materialism is
serious;
it is not
by
chance
that it is found at all times and
places
as the favorite doctrine of the
revolutionary.
This
is because revolutionaries are serious.
They
come to know themselves first in terms of the world
which
oppresses
them
[...] The
serious man is ’of the world’ and has no resource in himself.
He does not even
imagine any longer
the
possibility
of
getting
out of the world
[...] he
is
in bad faith.&dquo;
(Sartre, Beirrg
and
rrothirrgrress, op. cit., p. 580.)
The same
incapacity
to treat
&dquo;seriousness&dquo; other than in the
disapproved
form of the
&dquo;spirit
of serious-mindedness&dquo;
can be seen in an
analysis
of emotion
which,
and this is
significant,
is
separated by
the Ima-
ginary
from the less
radically subjectivist descriptions
of The outline
of
a
theory of
emotions
(L’esquisse
d’une theorie des
émotions):
&dquo;What will make me decide to choose the
magical
aspect
or the technical
aspect
of the world? It cannot be the world
itself,
for this in order
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78
to be manifested waits to be discovered. Therefore it is
necessary
that the for-itself in its
project
must choose
being
the one
by
whom the world is revealed as
magical
or
rational;
that
is,
the for-itself must as a free
project
of itself
give
to itself
magical
or rational existence.
It is
responsible
for either
one,
for the for-itself can be
only
if it has chosen itself. Therefore
the for-itself
appears
as the free foundation of its emotions as of its volitions.
My
fear
is free and manifests
my
freedom.&dquo;
(Ibid., p. 445.)
This
theory
of action
ought inevitably
to lead to the
desperate project
of a transcendental
genesis
of
society
and of
history (one
recognizes
here the
Critigue
de la raison
dialectique, Paris, Gallimard, 1960)
which Dur-
kheim seems to be
pointing
to when he writes in Les
règles
de la métllOde
sociologigue (Paris,
Alcan, 1895):
&dquo;It is because the
imaginary
offers no resistance to the
spirit
that the
latter,
feeling
itself contained within
nothing, indulges
in limitless ambitions and believes in the
possibility
of
constructing,
or
rather,
of
reconstructing
the world with his own
strength
alone
and
according
to its wishes&dquo;
(Durkheim, ibid., p. 18). Although
we can
oppose,
to this
analysis
of Sartrean
anthropology,
numerous texts
(especially among
his earliest and his
latest
works)
in which Sartre
recognizes,
for
example,
the
&dquo;passive syntheses&dquo;
of a universe of
already
constituted
significations,
or in which he
expressly rejects
the
very principles
of his
philosophy,
such as the
passage
from L’etre et le néant
(Paris, Gallimard, 1943, p. 543)
in
which he
proposes
to
distinguish
himself from Descartes’ instantaneiste
philosophy
or the
sentence from the
Critique
de la raison
dialectique (op. cit., p. 161)
in which he announces
a
study
of
&dquo;agentless actions,
of totalizations
having
no
totalizer,
of
counter-finalities,
of
vicious
circles&dquo;,
Sartre nonetheless
rejects,
and with visceral
repugnance,
&dquo;those
gelatinous
realities,
more or less
vaguely
haunted
by
a
supra-individual
consciouness which shameful
organicism
is still
seeking
to
retrieve, against
all
likelihood,
in the
rough, complex
but clear-
cut field of
passive activity
in which there are individual
organisms
of indefinite number and
inorganic
material realities&dquo;
(ibid., p. 305). Objective sociology
is
given
the
highly suspect,
because
essentialist,
task of
studying
the
&dquo;sociality
of
inertia&dquo;,
that
is,
for
example,
class
reduced to
inertia,
hence to
impotence,
class as a
thing,
&dquo;viscous&dquo; and
&dquo;sticky&dquo;
in its
being,
in other
words,
in its
&dquo;having
been&dquo;: &dquo;The
seriality
of class turns the individual
(whoever
he is and whatever his
class)
into a
being
who defines himself as a humanized
thing [...]
The
other form
of class,
that is the
group adding up
to a
praxis,
is born at the heart of the
passive
form and as its
negation&dquo; (ibid., p. 357).
The social
world,
where those &dquo;bastard&dquo;
compro-
mises take
place
between the
thing
and the
meaning
which define
&dquo;objective meaning&dquo;
as
meaning
transformed into
thing,
constitutes a
positive challenge
to those who are
only
able
to breath in the
pure
and
transparent
universe of consciousness or of individual
&dquo;praxis&dquo;.
This artificialism
recognizes
no other limit to the
liberty
of the
ego
than that which
liberty
imposes upon
itself
by
the free abdication of an oath or
through
the
resignation
of &dquo;bad
faith&dquo;,
the Sartrean term for
alienation,
or that which the
alienating liberty
of the alter
ego imposes upon
it in
Hegelian struggles
between master and
slave; consequently,
unable
to see in &dquo;social
arrangements, anything
other than artificial and more or less
arbitrary
combinations&dquo;,
as Durkheim
puts
it
(op. cit., p. 19),
he
subordinates,
without a second
thought,
the transcendance of the social - reduced to the
&dquo;reciprocity
of constraints and autonomies&dquo;
-
to the &dquo;transcendance of the
ego&dquo;,
as the
early
Sartre said: &dquo;In the course of this
action,
the individual sees the dialectic as rational
transparency,
inasmuch as he
produces it,
and
as absolute
necessity
inasmuch as it
escapes him,
in other
words, quite simply,
inasmuch as
others
produce it; finally,
insofar as he
recognizes
himself in
transcending
his
needs,
he
recog-
nizes the law
imposed
on him
by
others in
transcending
their needs
(to say
that he
recognizes
it is
not, however,
to
say
that he submits to
it),
he
recognizes
his own
autonomy (inasmuch
as it can be utilized
by
another and inasmuch as it
is, daily,
in the form of
blutTs, manoeuvrcs,
etc.)
as a
foreign power
and the
autonomy
of others as the inexorable law which
per-
mits him to constrain them&dquo;
(Critique..., op. cit., p. 133).
The transcendance of the social can
only
be the effect of
&dquo;recurrence&dquo;,
that
is,
in the last
analysis,
of number
(hence,
the
importance
accorded to
&dquo;series&dquo;)
or of the &dquo;materialization of recurrence&dquo; in cultural
objects (ibid.,
p. 234, 281),
alienation
consisting
in the free abdication of
liberty
in favour of the demands
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79
of &dquo;worked
upon
matter&dquo;: &dquo;The nineteenth
century
worker makes
hinrself
what he
is,
that
is,
he
practically
and
rationally
determines the order of his
expenditure
-
hence he decides
within his free
praxis
-
and
by
this
liberty
he makcs himself what he
was,
what he is and
what he must be: a machine whose
salary
amounts to no more than
running
costs
[ ... I
The
classbeing
as
practico-inert being
comes to men
through men, through
the
passive syntheses
of worked
upon
matter&dquo;
(ibid., p. 294). Elsewhere,
the affirmation of the
&dquo;logical&dquo; primacy
of &dquo;individual
praxis&dquo;
as constituent
Reason,
over
History
as constituted
Reason,
leads
us to
pose
the
problem
of the
genesis
of
society
in the same terms as those
employed by
theo-
reticians of the social contract:
&dquo;History
determines the content of human relations in its
totality
and these relations
[...] refer
to
everything.
But human relations in
general
are not
the result of
History.
It is not
problems
of
organization
and the division of labour which
have led to the
development
of
relationships
between those
primarily separate objccts, namely
men&dquo;
(ibid., p. 179).
Just as for
Descartes,
&dquo;Creation is
continuous,
as Jean Wahl
says,
because duration is not&dquo; and because extended substance does not contain within itself
the
power
to
subsist,
God
finding
himself
charged
with the
continuously
renewed task of
creating
the world ex
nihilo, by
a free act of w
ill, so,
the
typically
Cartesian
rejection
of the
viscuous
opacity
of
&dquo;objective potentialities&dquo;
and of
objective meaning
leads Sartre to
entrust the undefined task of
ripping
the social
w hole,
or
class,
from the inertia of the
&dquo;prac-
tico-inert&dquo; to the absolute initiative of &dquo;historical
agents&dquo;,
whether individual or
collective,
such as &dquo;The
Party&dquo;,
which is a
hypostasis
of the Sartrean
subject.
At the finish of his
immense
imaginary
novel of the death and resurrection of
liberty,
with its dual
movement,
&dquo;the externalization of
internality&dquo; leading
from
liberty
to
alienation,
from consciousness
to the materialization of consciousness
or,
as the title
puts it,
&dquo;from
praxis
to the
practico-
inert&dquo;,
and the &dquo;internalization of
externality&dquo; which, by abrupt
shortcuts in
awakening
of
consciousness and &dquo;fusion of
consciousnesses&dquo;,
leads &dquo;from the
group
to
history&dquo;,
from
the reified state of the alienated
group
to the authentic existence of the historical
agent,
consciousness and
thing
are as
irremediably separated
as at the
outset,
without there ever
being
any possibility
of
observing
or
constructing anything resembling
an institution or
a sj mbolic
system
in the sense of an autonomous universe
(the very
choice of
examples
bears this
out).
The
appearance
of a dialectical course
(which
is
nothing
more than the dialectical
appearance
of
discourse)
cannot hide the infinite oscillation between the en-soi and the
pOllr-soi or,
in
the new
language,
between
materiality
and
praxis,
between the inertia of the
group
reduced
to its
&dquo;essence&dquo;,
in other
words,
to its outlived
past
and to its
necessity (w hich
is abandoned
to
sociologists),
and the continued creation of the free collective
project,
seen as a series
of
deciding
acts
indispensable
for
saving
the
group
from annihilation in
pure materiality.
So,
the
objective
intentions of Sartrean
philosophy
are
fulfilled,
with certain differences
in
language, against
the author’s
subjective intentions, against
a
permanent project
of &dquo;con-
version&dquo;,
never so manifest and
manifestly
sincere as in certain of his
anathema,
which
would
probably
be less violent if
they
savoured less of conscious or unconscious self-criticism.
Thus,
for
example,
one must bear in mind the famous
analysis
of the café waiter in order
fully
to
appreciate
a sentence such as this one : &dquo;To all those w ho take themselves for
angels,
their
neighbour’s
activities seem absurd because of the former’s claim to transcend the human
enterprise by refusing
to take
part
in it&dquo;
(ibid., pp. 182-183).
The
constancy
of the
project
of conversion finds its
principle
in the
permanence
of the habitus which renders this
project
at the same time
necessary
and
necessarily
doomed to failure. Sartre’s
theory concerning
Flaubert’s
relationship
with the
bourgeoisie
is
probably
the most manifest and most direct
expression
of the
bourgeois relationship
to existence and to the material conditions of exis-
tence
which, by turning
the
awakening
of consciousness into the
generator
of an existence
and a
work,
demonstrates that it is not
enough
to become conscious of one’s class condition
in order to free oneself of the durable
dispositions
it
produces (cf.
P.
Bourdieu, &dquo;Champ
du
pouvoir, champ
intellectucl et habitus de
classe&dquo;,
Scolies
1, 1971, pp. 7-26, esp. 12-14).
The
project
of
devcloping
a
&dquo;sociology
of
action&dquo;,
defined as the
&dquo;sociology
of freedom&dquo; -
an
expression already
used
by
Le
Play
-
belongs,
mutatis
mutandis,
to the same
logic (cf.
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80
A.
Touraine, Sociologie
de
I’action, Paris, Seuil, 1965,
and &dquo;La raison d’être de la
sociologie
de
1’action&dquo;,
Revue
francaise
de
sociologie 7, oct.-déc., 1966, pp. 518-527).
The
rejection
of the &dquo;reductive&dquo; definition of
sociology
finds here those eternal themes and
language
of which
Bergson supplied
the
archetype,
that of the closed and the
open,
of
continuity
and
rupture,
routine and
creation,
the institution and the
person.
Pierre
Bourdieu, Professor
at the École
Pratique
des Hautes
Études,
VI e
Section,
is head
of its
Centre de
Sociologie Européenne. Among
his numerous
publications,
we
particularly
wish to mention the
following
titles
concerning
the
Ethnology of
North
Africa:
The
Algerians
(1962);
Travail et travailleurs en
Algérie (1963) (with
others);
Le déracinement: La
crise de
l’agriculture
traditionnelle en
Algérie (1964), (with
A.
Sayad); and in the same
theoretical
approach,
a recent article: "Les
stratégies
matrimoniales dans le
système
des
stratégies
de
reproduction",
Annales
3, mai-juin
1972.
at Copenhagen Business School on June 5, 2013 ssi.sagepub.com Downloaded from