You are on page 1of 30
BOURDIEU ALGERIA COLONIAL POLITICS, ETHNOGRAPHIC PRACTICES, THEORETICAL DEVELOPMENTS ited and with an introduction by j@ E, Goodman and A, Silverstein Hance OVERSEAS ‘Studies in Empire and Decolonization Philip Boucher, A.J. B. Johnston, James D. Le Sueut and Tyler siorensrain 1998 Le retour, élément eon de a tions Socités §7 (May=[ueh 9-45. "199. La Dosleabanes Deri Pimmigré. Pati: Seu. 22000. Fl Ghorba: From Original Sin to Gollective Hts rt Sayad, Abdelmalek and Eliane Dupuy. 1995. Um Nanterre bridonvilles, Pass: Autrement. Silverstein, Paul A. 2003. Martyrs and Patriots: Eni, National national Dimensions of Kabyle Politics. Journal of Novth A 8 (a): yor. 2004. Algeria in France: Race, Nation, Trans-Polities Indiana University Press. Sombart, Weenee. 1915. The Quintessence of Capita anc Psychology ofthe Modern Business Man. Lond Stoler, Ann Laura, 1997. Sexual Affronts and Racial Categorie ‘entities and the Cultural Politics of Exelusion in Colonial Sout In Tenstons of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois Worl ‘erick Cooper and Anne Laura Stoler. pp. 98-237. Berkeley: UJ California Press. ‘Taguielf, Pieere-André. 1994. The Doctrine of the National Front (1972-1986), New Political Science 16117: 29-70. ‘Tonnies, Ferdinand. 1887. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Abani Commuenismnus und des Socialisnms als empiriscber Culturform Pues's Verlag. Weber, Max. 1924. Gesammelte Aufsitze ur Sozial- nd Wirtschafi Tubingen: Moir. Weil, Simone, 1949. L-Enracinemeont. Prélude a une déclaration envers Vétre bumain, Paris: Gallimard. Wihrol de Wenden, Catherine and Zakya Daoud. 1993. Banliewes tion ou explosion. Special edition of Panoramiques, 11 (12) Zehraoui, Ahséne. 1994. L'hmmigration: de Pomme seul a laf ‘crenn/Harmatta. Zevingmann, Charles. and Maria Pister-Ammende. 1973. Uprooting ‘New York: Springer-Verlag. nenology and Ethnography le Habitus in the Work lerre Bourdieu “Trardatee byTretn Jan duction (ong, Bourdicu’s contributions to the social sciences, the concept ubitus is certainly the most widely discussed, even—I would routine-ized. However, there is an angle from which habitus iiever truly been reconsidered: the angle of ethnographic practice. absence of discussion on this point is all the more suprising, as iis well known—Bourdieu elaborated the essentials of his son practice—“fields,” “habitus,” “temporality,” and “symbolic ital” —on the basis of his Kabyle ethnology. i following the development of the notion of habitus in Bourdiew’s nological work, T want to reflect on his ethnographic approach its epistemological underpinnings.‘ It is not my purpose to deny { Bourdieu’s studies on Algeria represented a breakthrough, nor Ininimize the productive character of his conceptual elaboration ring the interpretation of Maghrebi societies and their trans- mations (Hammoudi 2000a). Nonetheless, a close look at his thod opens the question of the fit between his ethnography on ‘one hand, and his theoretical project on the other, During the course of Bourdieu’s works on Algeria, the concept of wannouD! ’ FHINOMENOVOG AND ETHNOGRAPHY habitus comes to supplant that of tradition, iden Of hiv ethnographic practice and its consequences question of whether the former retains some of th ani inalysis of his writings (as has been done by Hammoudi latter. And indeed, Kabyle tradition, as Bourdieu pt i Hourdiew and Wacquant 1992: 2045 Dortier 2002: 7, 9)2 A monolithic, static, and limited to a restricted space: that ol whose contours and physiognomy were constrained by: nitions, So much so that, in the case at hand, a (colonial) tradition, it would seem, had instilled a certain Kabyle This is nor all that surprising; indeed, whether in the Mi elsewhere, dominant discourses granted specific and well: traditions to dominated societies. Wook at Bourdieu's writings shows one such consequence, one ificane relation between ethnogeaphic practice and theory that can Wumnmarized as follows: Bourdiew’s ethnographic practice failed to fer the tensions, contradictions, and debate within the so-called ulitional society.” For, having uncritically borrowed much from nial ethnography, Bourdieu’s theoretical innovations left intact y of the simplifying schemata of his predecessors. Having been an assiduous reader of Max Weber, Bourdieu Morcover, the sort of ethnography that Bourdiew took for granted ingly writes as if traditions were only called into question in fact, hardly adequate for his project. For example, it worked development ofa rationality arriving from elsewhere: in thi Ng an old division of labor between ethnology and Orientalism, modern, capitalist one imposed by colonial domination. Th cording to this disciplinary order, ethnologists of Kabylia learned tion and habitus, in this scheme, leave little room for study of used the oral vernacular for their inquiries, while Orientalists of reason in social practices anterior to colonization—an ass lized in the written language. In this case, ethnologists learned which is surely debatable, Similarly, they not only marginalize speak Berber with their informants, while Orientalists learned contradictions but also the relative freedom that men and we sical Arabic. This dichotomy occulted the fact that Kabyles, like their action exercise with regard to normative systems. R hy other peoples, spoke and/or wrote about themselves, others, ‘once more to Max Weber, it is well known that charismati \ about the world not only in Berber, but in other languages as ments frequently challenge traditions and create new ones example, in colloquial Arabic, classical Arabic, and French been frequently the case also in the Maghreb. Finally, itis viously, not all of them did, But a number of them did so—still possible to conform to a tradition for some rational motive, «and from a multiplicity of spaces and cultural sertings: Kabylia, ‘These considerations spur us to reflect on the question of era, other places in the Maghreb and France (among others). raphy, on the research practices and human interactions wl The problems multiply when one considers, from this complex beneath Bourdiew’s theory of practice. Pierre Bourdieu left Ispective, the notions of field, strategy, and temporality, all of which of the concrete circumstances surrounding his research acti lerelated to habitus, and crucial regarding Bourdieu’s objections to Kabyle villages between 1958 and r96r, during the height structuralism of Lévi-Strauss; for one can no longer say for sure Algerian wary neither did he wrice much on his own ethno} jac is a matter of a habitus of strategies and what would be bet- accounted for by pragmatics more or less consciously deployed. practice or on the implications of his own presence in Kabylli 200 201