From Rules to Strategies: An Interview with Pierre Bourdieu Author(s): Pierre Lamaison and Pierre Bourdieu Source: Cultural

Anthropology, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Feb., 1986), pp. 110-120 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Anthropological Association Stable URL: Accessed: 01/12/2008 03:11
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact

Blackwell Publishing and American Anthropological Association are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Cultural Anthropology.

Paul Rabinow and William M.JayRuby. trans. a Social Critiqueof the Judgmentof Taste. A.You were the first to address the question of the choosing of marriage partnersin a Frenchpopulation(cf." Etudes rurales. (1977) 1984 Distinction. Social Research 34:1:162212. ed. Darbel. 1962. Rivet. New York: Columbia UniversityPress. Ruptureand Renewal since 1968. From Rules to Strategies: An Interview with Pierre Bourdieu Pierre Lamaison Terrain:Carnetsdu Patrimoine Ethnologique P. 1981 Reading French Sociology. Centrede Sociologie Europeene 1972 CurrentResearch.110 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY authorswho spearheaded it. and "Les strat6gies matrimonialesdans le systeme des strat6giesde Annales.Paris:Les Editions de Minuit. In InterpretiveSocial Science. trans. . Society and Culture. James and George E. In French Sociology. eds. P. Steven F.Reflexive Perspectivesin Anthropology. Lemert. Certeau. Rabinow.-I would like for us to talk aboutthe interest you have shown. 173-185. References Cited Bourdieu. Paris: Les Editionsde Minuit. Herbert 1974 Popular Cultureand High Culture. J. Boston: Beacon Press. Death and Resurrectionof a Philosophy Without a Subject. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Pierre 1962 The Algerians. Bourdieu. In A Crack in the Mirror. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1977 Reproductionin Education. Sayad 1964 Le deracinement. Foster. Marcus. ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Anthropology and Humanism 4 Quarterly6 f. (1972) 1979 Algeria 1960.Berkeley: Universityof CaliforniaPress." phasize the correlationbetween modes of property inheritance-nonegalitarian in this case-and the logic of alliances.PierreandJeanClaudePasseron 1967 Sociology and Philosophy in France Since 1945. and C. Cambridge: CambridgeUniversityPress. you said. Sullivan. New York:Basic. in your work from "Bearne" and the "Trois 6tudes d'ethnologie kabyle" throughto "Homo academicus. "C6libat et condition paysanne. Pp. Paul 1982 Masked I Go Forward:Reflections on the Modern Subject. 1986 Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. Bourdieu. 3-32. Each matrimonial transaction is to be understood. The Hague:Mouton. trans. Sullivan 1979 The Interpretive Turn." in questionsof kinship and inheritance. Pp. 1-12. (1979) 1984a Homo academicus." . Philadelphia:University of PennsylvaniaPress. which depend largely on the position thatthis exchange occupies in the matrimonial historyof the family. Richard Nice. M. (1958) 1977 Outline of a Theory of Practice. Pierre. 1979 The Inheritors:French Students and Their Relation to Culture. Bourdieu. Gans. eds. Pp. RichardNice. as "the outcome of a strategy" and can be defined "as a moment in a series of materialand symbolic exchanges . Rabinow.Pierreand A. CharlesC. StephenWilliam 1981 Interpretations of Interpretations. Lemert. Chicago: Universityof Chicago Press. Clifford. Paul and William M. Berkeley: University of CaliforniaPress. Berkeley: Universityof CaliforniaPress. Paris: Ecole Pratiquedes HautesEtudes. 1972) and to emreproduction.CharlesC. trans. . Alan C. Randall.L.Michel de 1984 The Practice of Everyday Life. trans. Seibel 1963 Travails et travailleurs en Algerie.2-8. Ross. Richard Nice.

and strategyare tied to the effort to get away from objectivism with- . which holds no great interestin itself. Kabyle society.B. as having nothingpractical at stake. was no doubt the source of my "break" with what others would call the structuralist "paradigm. but while keeping to the sidelines. and who must therefore withdraw from the game. this theoretical analysis of the theoretical vision as an external vision and. above all.It became apparent me thata whole social philosophy." In order to escape this danger. accordingto the old saying of Marx. a practical sense of things.remote. insofar as this can be done.apartfrom studying them." It was the acute I did not acquire awareness-which through theoretical reflection alone-of the gap between the theoretical aims of and theoreticalunderstanding the directly concerned. which allows one to conjure away the very problem that I have triedto raise. I would be giving myself the opportunityto objectify the act of objectificationandthe objectifyingsubjectI sought to objectify the ethnologistnotjust as a socially situated individual but also as a scholarwhose work is to analyzethe social world. in which his interests are not invested. practicalsense. which consists in taking. and trying to understand these relationsin orderto constructa theoreticalmodel. a principle constructedby the social scientist in order to account for the game.which led me to speakof matrimonialstrategies or social uses of kinship rather than rules of kinship. analyzing. on the description of the thing observed. it seems to me that the opposition is masked by the ambiguity of the word rule. I wished also to discover all the presuppositions inherentin this theoreticalposture. with importance equivalent to the concern of people in our milieu to select the best academic institutionfor their son or daughter. "the things of logic for the logic of things. But one can also have in mind a thirdmeaning. which is gained throughexperienceof the game.uncommitted. Notions such as habitus(or system of dispositions). as a vision thatis external. or he will observe his own world. to conceptualize it. or a set of objective regularitiesthat must be followed by everyone who enters a game. what athletescall a feel for the game (le sens du jeu). I had thoughtof this workon my own countryof origin as a sort of epBy istemologicalexperimentation. their representations. for example). or simply nonpractical. I think that by dodgingthese distinctionsone risks falling into one of the most disastrousfallacies in the humansciences. but to observethe effects which the position of observer produces on the observation. if one prefers. derived from the fact that the ethnologist has "nothing to do" with the people he studies. as an ethnologist in a familiar although socially distant world. that is. Thereis a gulf between tryingto understand matrimonial relations between two families in order to arrangethe best marriagefor one's son or daughter. and which functions this side of consciousnessanddiscourse(like the techniques of the body.' I refer here to practicalmastery of the logic or immanentnecessity of a game. he doesn't really take a position opposed to yours on this point.L.B. This means eitherthathe will observe a foreign world. practicalaims of practicalunderstanding. a thoroughly mistaken one.disto interested. thatof a model. From the very first. distant. with their practices. one needs to bring into the theory the real principleof strategies. One is never quite sure whether by rule one means a juridical or quasi-juridical type of principle that is more or less consciously produced and controlledby the agents.INTERVIEWS111 P. I wished.-But when Levi-Strausstalks about in the rules or models one reconstructs order to explain it. It is one or the otherof these two meaningsthatwe refer to when we speak of the rules of the game. This change of vocabulary is indicative of a change of viewpoint.-My researchon marriagein Bearne was for me the crossoverpoint andthe link between ethnology and sociology. or. P. It is a matterof not groundingthe practiceof social agents in the theorythatone has to constructin order to explain thatpractice.-As a matterof fact. not so much to observethe observerin his particularity. Thus. P. the matrimonial practices that I had studied in a muchmoreremotesocial universe.

andno doubtelsewhereas wellin throughparticipation children'sgames. This sense is acquiredbeginningin in childhood. the observer's proximity to the as agents and practiceis reintroduced well as his refusal of the distant gaze. Being a prisoner. "L'ethnologie et l'histoire. because strategyis for him synonymouswith choice. of a particular social game.-Would you like to commenton the lecture on Marc Bloch.B.B. of freedom and necessity.C. He cannotperceivethe attemptsto transcend these alternatives as anything but a regression towards subjectivism.In his view. parenthetically.-The notion of strategymakes possible a break with the objectivistpoint of view and with the agentless action that structuralismassumes (by appealing for exampleto the notionof the unconscious). it is clear thatLevi-Straussis alludingin a way thatshows very little understanding." How can one fail to recognizein this statement the image or fantasy of the "spontaneisme" of May '68.-But in your view what is the function of the notion of strategy? P.It is the productof a practical sense. matrimonialor other. that Levi-Strauss's political intuition is not completely misleading since. or at least not subject to any external determination. in which Levi-Strauss criticizes what he calls spontaneisme? P.L. factors which indeed are not unrelatedto political dispositionsand positions. P. But one can refuse to see strategyas the productof an unconsciousprogramwithout making it the productof a conscious andrationalcalculation. he is forcedto rejectas unscientifica theoretical project that in reality aims to reintroduce the socialized agent-and not the subject-the more or less "automatic" strategies of practicalsense-and not the projects or calculationsof a consciousness. which is evoked by-in additionto the conceptused to designate this theoretical current-the allusions to fashion and to the criticism "that just abouteverybodyis mouthing"? In short. When he speaks of the criticism of structuralism"which just about everybodyis mouthingand which takes its inspirationfrom a fashionable spontaneism and subjectivism" (not a very nice thingto say).-Yes. The good player.112 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY out falling into subjectivism." published by the Annales E. even in politics. I will pass over the mixing effect which consists in suggestingthe existence of a relationbetween thought in terms of strategy and what is designated in politics by the term "spontaneisme. practical say the least. P." One's choice of words. a conscious and individual choice guided by rationalcalculation or "ethical and affective" motivations. "spontaneisme"replaces structure with "a statistical mean resulting from choices thatarefreely made. is not innocentand we are awareof the discreditthatattaches. throughparticipation social activities. and because this choice resists constraintsand the collective norm. Levi-Straussis confinedas he has always been within the alternativesof subjectivism and objectivism (I am thinkingof his remarkson phenomenology in the preface to Marcel Mauss). he cannotsee in the attempts breakwith the to structuralist"paradigm" anything but a return to individualist subjectivism and hence to a type of irrationalism. to the forms of belief in the spontaneityof the masses. what the game demands and requires. an improvisationthat . and maison. to a body of work that appearsto me to participatein a differenttheoreticalworld than his. is continuallydoing what needs to be done. like so many others.S. of the alternativesof the individual and the social.. throughthe notions of habitus.L. who is as it were the embodimentof the game. seem to have for their "subject" the household.. althoughI cannot help but feel concernedsince I was instrumental reinin troducing into theoretical discussion in ethnology one of those societies in which acts of exchange.Thatis why I do not see myself in what Levi-Strauss calls "domestic societies" ("societes a maison"). the oustan. and particularly-in the case of Kabylia. Having said this. etc. especially in polemics. andalso in formulatingthe theory of marriageas a strategy. This presupposes a constant invention. I might add.

in society as well as on a team. although they are not locked within a code of rules. which contributesto thatnecessity and logic. when one appeals to wise men. It is sometimes in shortsupply.B. . P. an inventorof the game.As I have shown in the case of Bearnand Kabylia. at the beginning.-But who makes the rules of the game which you are talking about? Are rules of they differentfrom the operational societies whose description by ethnoloof gists resultspreciselyin the construction models? What distinguishes the rules of the game from rules of kinship? P. This sense of the game is not infallible. is a form of knowledge of that necessity and logic. as the social inscribed in the body of the biological individual. Strategiesappropriate playfor ing the game of Kabyle marriage. obeys certainregularities. or explicit norms. He manages quite naturallyto be at the place where the ball will come down. who in Kabylia are often poets too. It is clear that the problem does not have to be posed in terms of spontaneity and constraint.degrees of excellence. an activity which. are imperative for those. which is at the same time an immanentlogic.Again. The regularities one can observe.become nature. of the individualand the social. areequippedto perceive them and carrythem out.of freedom and necessity. in view of the hand that one has been dealt-the trumpcards and the bad cards(the girls in particular)-and the skill with whichone is ableto play. and only is unevenly distributed. in acting in conformity with one's interests while giving the appearanceof obeying the rules. with the help of statistics. One can speak of a game in orderto say that a group of people participatein a regulated activity. This can easily be broughtover and applied to marriage. to speakof a game suggeststhat therewas. in the form of possibilities and objective The constraintsand requirerequirements. Yet at the same time. However.-The game image is probably the least inadequatefor evoking social things. in all groups. codified rules (when they exist). the older siblings and that youngersiblings). as if the ball controlledhim. in being legitimate.L. especially in tragic situations. are the aggregateproductof individualactions oriented by the same constraints. etc.. because they have a sense of the game's immanentnecessity. which does not involve the land and the threatof partitionwould not be suitablefor playing the game of B6arnesemarriagewhere it is mainly a question of saving the house and the land. But this freedomof inventionand improvisation.As a matterof fact.A game is the locus of an immanentnecessity.INTERVIEWS113 is absolutely necessary in orderfor one to adapt to situations that are infinitely varied. makes it possible to produce the infiniteacts thatare inscribedin the game.which enables one to produce the infinityof moves made possible by the game (as in chess) has the same limits as the game. The explicit rules of the game-for example the kinshippreferencesor the successional laws-define the value of the cards (the boys and girls. it does carrydangers. They know how to take liberty with the official rule and thereby save the essential partof what the rule was meantto guarantee. who made the rules. matrimonial strategies are the productnot of compliance with rules but of a sense of the game that leads one to "choose" the best possible match. who. Habitusas a sense of the game is the social game incarnate. it suggests thatthereexist rules of the game. Habitus. More seriously. he controls the ball. withoutnecessarily being the product of obedience to rules. who drew up the social contract. This cannot be achieved by mechanical obedience to explicit.Nothing is freeror more constrainedat the same time thanthe action of the good player. becausetherearealways.One's sense of the game. these may involve the necessities inscribed in the structure the game or partiallyobof jectified in rules or the actors' sense of the game. whereas in reality things are much more complicated. which is itself unevenlydistributed. ments of the game. In a game one doesn't do just anythingwith impunity. I have describedfor example the strategies of a double game which consists in playing according to rule.

the code. necessary. proverb.I can say thatthis is the startingpoint for all my thinking:how can behaviors be regulated without being the productof obedience to rules?But it is not enough to break with the legalism (as the to Anglo-Saxonssay) thatcomes so natural anthropologists. rich heirs regularly marry rich youngerdaughters.. more precisely. e. P. arrivedat through a laborof codificationwhich is the task of and professionalformulators rationalizers. the good marriage catchand the profitsthatgo with it-has to have a sense of the game. to "play the game. and sufficient for practice. of course. to claim the stakes. P.-There again. the habitus is the source of most practices. Is it necessaryto speakof rules?Yes and no.I spoke of the regularity as the rules of the game to which one's sense of the game conformsspontaneously and what one "recognizes" in a practicalway when one agrees. one has to takeinto account. ritual practicesare the productof the implementation of practical taxonomies.L. Earlier. the regulated tendency to generate regulatedbehaviorsapartfrom any referenceto rules in societies in which the process of codificationis not very advanced.L.-Exactly.but which integratesthese norms and regularities. To do so would oblige him to discoverthat whathe describesas mythologicalthinking is quiteoften nothingbutthe logic of threefourths of our actions. of classificatory schemes handled in a practical. that is.114 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Anyone who wishes to win at this game.or formulastatinga reg- . Their logic is practical. with all the effects we know that entails. one that manifestsan intentional. deliberateconsistency. and the explicit rule.-In other words. The same is trueof the classifications thatwe producerelativeto the social or political world. as we say. the distinctionyou made at the outset between the things of logic and the logic of thingsis what makes it possible to raise.along with the habitus. They must have a sense of the necessity and logic of the game. I arrivedat what I believe to be the right intuitionof the practicallogic of ritual action by consideringit through analogy with our way of using the opposition betweenrightandleft in orderto evaluate and classify political views or persons. to catch the ball-for example. Ritualsand myths are logical. As I have shown in the Sens pratique. you cross the line between ethnology and sociology. But to return the possibleprinciples to of the productionof regulatedpractices. to someone who knows nothing and to whom they must speak as one speaks to a child." The rule as a simple regularitythatcan be capturedstatistically does not necessarily derive from the rule qua rule of law or "pre-law.the question of the relationbetween the regularity of practicesthat is based on dispositions. on a sense of the game. maxim. There is also. but only up to a certainpoint. the explicit. or. the habitus. P. our judgmentsof what are consideredthe supreme accomplishments of refined culture-historically formed judgments of taste-are basedentirelyon pairsof adjectives.g. Too much logic would often be incompatiblewith practice. One can do so providedone draws a clear distinctionbetween rule and regularity. These rules may even be formed into a coherent system.B. clearly stated rules which may be preservedby being transmitted orally or in written form. P. jurists. or even in conflict with practicalends.-Yes. the distinctionbetween sociology and ethnologypreventsthe ethnologist from subjectinghis own experienceto the analysiswhich he appliesto his object. The social game is a locus of regularities. Things happen in a regular way within it. pre-reflective state. in the sense that a piece of clothing is said to be practical.They are always ready to listen to the lesson-givers and rule-givers thatinformants become when they speakto the ethnologist. one must reflect on the different modes of existenceof the principlesof regulationand regularityof practices. In orderto constructa modelof the game which is neither simply a reproduction of explicit norms nor a statementof regularities. For example. in clearterms.B." a custom.

I merelywantedto show all that is covered by the word rule. the logic of things andthe things of logic. you also differ from the "structuralists"in the way you conceive of the action of juridical or economic "constraints. the same errorhauntsthe entire history of linguistics. themselves form the object of all sorts of strategies.e. which. particularly official situations. Being based essentiallyon the recording of exemplary "moves" or penalties placed on exemplary infractions (and thereby converted into norms). matrimonial strategies first of all.e. official.B. considers the form of operations without regardto the materialto which they are applied. of the properlysymbolic effect which the codificationproduces. rank by birth. But I will stop there. tends to confuse generative schemes functioning in a practical state and an explicit model. at least in the traditionsthat I have studied directly. This being said. There is a connection between juridicalformulasand mathematical formulas. i." P. But customs. the customary representationsof male sees thatit is not enoughjust to record the explicit rules on the one hand." I have in mind for example tautologies like the one that consists in saying about a man that "there's a man.. .-So. the family's social standingwhich must be maintained. The good "player" takes into account. an act objectively adjustedto the necessity of the game because it is orientedby a sense of the game.. these include sex. are those which result from the successional custom. really a man. which explains why one observes in European societies a rather close correspondence between the geography of modes of propertyinheritanceand the geof ographyof representations kinshipties. P. inheritsthe heir who inheritsit. even highly codified ones. the primacy of the land which.e. P.-Actually. this is becausethey learned a long time ago to play with the rules of the game. relating only to form). as formal logic..L. The successional channelsthatare designatedby custom are laid down as "natural" and they tend to orient-it would still be necessary to understandhow-matrimonial strategies. the precedence of the older brothersand.especially the Neo-Marxistones.formal situationsas one says in English.e. sought in is the objectivityof structures achieved in every responsible act. and the French formel. i.INTERVIEWS115 ularity. in the sense of the English word responsible. which is rarely the case in presentsocieties. P. This distinction being clearly drawn. whetherit is codified. public. from Saussure to Chomsky. and to establish the regularities on the other. the ambiguity of which makes it possible to confuse.L. i. Yet this is in sometimesthe case." meaning a real man.If the Bearnese have managed to keep their alive in spite of two successionaltraditions centuriesof civil code.-Right. thus formed into a "normative fact. throughthem.or not. we the must not underestimate effect of codificationor simply officialization(which is what the effect of so-called preferential marriage comes down to). there can be more or less strictrules governing alliance and defining kinshipties. i. The juridicalformulais valid for all the values ofx..It forms the on object of all sorts of manipulations.In Bearn. written.So it is to necessaryin each case to return the reality of practices instead of relying on custom. that is. Law. custom idea of the ordinary gives a very inaccurate routineof ordinarymarriages.B.-The strongest of these constraints. i. again and again. a grammarconstructedin orderto explain utterances. in each matrimonialchoice. It is becausethe code exists thatdifferentagentsagreeon universalformulas-universal because they are formal (in the double meaningof the Englishformal. the whole set of relevantpropertiesin view of the structurethat is to be reproduced.e. As a matterof fact. as Marx said. One needs to constructa theory of the work of formulationand codification. among the constraintsthat define the social game. the occasion of marriagesin particular. It is through them thatthe necessities of the economy are imposed and it is with them thatthe strategies of reproduction must reckon. The famous articulationof "instances" which the structuralists..

I am thinkingof.-Ethnology no longertreatspeasants or anyoneelse as "barbarians. and particularlythe history of previous marriages. in particular. thatit was a preoccupation with stylisticelegance on the partof the editorsof the Annales that resulted in my article's being called "Les strat6giesmatrimonialesdans le systeme de reproduction" (which doesn't make a great deal of sense)."My pointhere is that matrimonial strategies cannot be dissociated from the whole set of strategies."I believe. investments. One's sense of the game in this case is. is treated. Monique de Saint Martinhas observedin the Frenchhigh arstrategiesquite simistocracymatrimonial ilar to those I observed among the Bearnese peasants. Reading Saint-Simonor Proust no the doubtprepares betterto understand one subtle diplomacy of Kabyle or Bearnese peasants than does reading Notes and Querieson Anthropology. being more sensitive to symbolic capital. or economic strategies.. whether we like it or not. savings. she tends to strengthenher position by looking for a marriage partner in her lineage. It attemptsto reproducethose of its attributesthat enable it to keep its position. in a state of the social game. is not exactly the same as the Kabyle sense of honor which. reputation.-Let me say.renown (gloire. for example.-Matrimonial strategies are therefore an integralpartof the system of strategies of reproduction.-I realize I am overstating things . when the grids of ethnology are applied to him. It is rather an act integratingall the necessities inherthat ent in a positionin the social structure.B. is. For example. as I wanted.B. The relationsbetween families that are entered into on the occasion of marriages are as difficult and as importantas the negotiationsof our most refineddiplomats.L. interveneson the occasion of every new marriage.B. P. The struggle between the husbandandthe wife may be pursued through an intermediary mother-in-lawor the husbandmay find it to the advantageous strengthen cohesionof the lineage by means of an internalmarriage.educative strategies as strategiesof culturalplacement.-Not at all. domestic life? P.-By talking about the family and its strategies.theirstrategiesof investment or saving. And aren't you ignoring the tensions and conflicts that are inherentin. Matrimonialstrategies are often the result of relations of force withinthe domestic group. in Kabylia when the woman comes from outside. in a completely differentdomain. But the B6arnesesense of honor. modelhas a very genThis theoretical eral value and it is absolutelynecessaryin order to understandthe educative strategies of's sense of honor. notwithstanding the analogies. In short.aren'tyou postulatingthe homogeneity of this group and its interests. Marriage is not that punctual. thatis. as truly alien. P. abstractoperationbased solely on rulesof filiationandalliance. by way of anecdote.L. and so forth-by which the family aims to reproduceitself biologically and above all socially. by virtue of the "negotiators"syntheticsense of the game. as people said in the 17th century) pays less attentionto economic capitaland to land in particular. its studiesdealing with Franceand a Europeprobablycontributed good deal to this evolution!' the historyof previousmarriageswithin it. and not.L. its standing in the social world being considered. it is via such synchronicrelations of power between the membersof the family thatthe historyof lineages. P. which the structuralist tradition describes. or. roughlyspeaking.But not all readers of Proust or Saint-Simonare equally to prepared recognize a Monsieurde Norpois or a Duc de Berry in a peasantwith coarse featuresand a crude accent or in a montagnardwho. as a barbarian. Her chances of succeeding will be greaterthe more prestigiousher lineage is.. for example. P. These relations can be understoodonly by appealingto the history of this group and.. "dans le systeme des strategiesde reproduction.116 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY etc. for example. strategies of procreation. In fact.

L. As in the heyday of "primitive mentality. it would seem. bals selects. When one loves. I have shown how.INTERVIEWS117 somewhat.-In reality. [A bal is a scheduled event for dancing and socializis ing.L.B. which are responsiblenowadays for a large percentage of marriagesor intimaterelationships and thereforeowe a good deal to the effect of the affinityof habitus(particularly in the operationsof co-optationand selection).-To come back to the logic of matrimonial strategies. P. so thatone can understand if one knows the balancesheet of these exchanges at the time being considered and also. of course. matrimonialor otherthem only wise.etc. hence the most prestigious ones. There is something I had learnedby studyingBearnesemarriages. There is additionaleffect of closure that is linked to the existence of socially and culturallyhomogeneousgroups. It may be asked whether the same can be said of societies like ours where the "choosing of marriage partners" is left to the individuals concerned as a matterof free choice. The refusal of ethnocentrism which forbids the ethnologist to relate what he observes to his own experiences-as I did earlier by comparingthe classificatoryoperationsdeployed in a ritual act with those we deploy in our perception of the social world-leads him. P. along with the historyof their past dealings.-Exactly. there is always an element of loving in another person a differentrealizationof one's own social destiny. the most difficult marriages. that love can also be described as a form of amorfati.L. hence productsof similar social conditions and conditionings. P. Yet I maintain that there is something unhealthy in the existence of ethnology as a separate science and that because of this separation one risks accepting all that was inscribedin the initial division that gave rise to it and which is perpetuated-as I believe I have shownin its methods (for example." this is the case even if they happen to be peasants or workers in our societies. But the surestguarantee of homogamy. parties.-I think it would be ratherrash to propose a universal paradigmand I have been carefulnot to do so on the basis of the two cases-rather similarones after all- . (Translator's note).-Yes. or reservedfor privategroups (bals selects). But this holds true. in your opinion. such as groups of fellow students. I showed at length. why the resistance to statistics?)and above all in its modes of thought. to establish a distance from the populationunder study that cannot be crossed. under pretenceof respect. through a car kind of protectionism: rallies. in La Distinction. Levi-Strausssays that "to doubtthat structural analysis can be applied to some [societies] means that one must question whetherit can be appliedto any society. in each marriage that results from the confrontationof their strategies? P. P. of the paradigmof strategy? P. the laissez-faire of the free markethides necessities from view.] The appealto the notion of habitus is called for in this case more thanever: in fact. universityfaculties.B. I showed this in the case of B6arnby anafroma plannedtype of lyzing the transition matrimonial system to the free market which is embodied in the bal.given the habitusof the actorsand their sense of the game." Couldn't the same thing be mean to say thatthe whole structureand history of the game is present. secondary school classes. in the case of Kabylia. Participation open to the public on paymentof an individualentrancefree. and hence of social reproduction. how else does one explain the homogamy that is maintained in spite of everything?Thereare of course all the social techniquesaimed at limiting the field of possible choices. mobilize almost all the membersof the two groupsinvolved.B. only so long as the marriageis the concernof the families.-Defending the structuralistparadigm. is the spontaneousaffinity (experienced as kindredfeeling) that brings together agents endowed with a similar habitus or similar tastes. everythingthatdefines the position of the two groups in the distribution of economic and symbolic capital. The great negotiatorsare those who know how to make the most of all that.

and that genealogies themselves. neithertoo muchfuzziness is often indispensable. P. I believe should be seen as a danceor a gymnastics. all material or symbolic exchanges. particularly in negotiations-nor too little.etc. instead of being content to draw up nomenclaturesof kinship terms and abstractgenealogies and to reduce relations between husbandand wife to genealogical distance alone.oppositions between high and low.The intellectualism of ethnologists.B.-In the Sens pratique. masculine (or manly) and feminine. linguistic analysis of place suggest thatit is the ethnologistwho createsan artificial distance. when I describedwhat appearsto me to be the real logic of mythological or ritual thought. a foreignness. are guided by practicaltaxonomies. as Bensa does. or classify professions or politicians-obeys a logic very similar to that of "primitives" who classify objects in terms of dry and wet.-I had not read the merciless criticism which Wittgensteinaddressesto Frazer andwhich appliesto most ethnologists. are the object of manipulationsdesigned to promote or prohibiteconomic or social relations. in the social sciences. especially ourperceptionof the social world. such as the handingdown of firstnames. etc. What some people have seen as an algebra. One thinksof the work of Bateson who prepared the groundin Naven by talkingaboutthe strato tegic manipulations which the names of places or lineages can be subjected.L. The classificationswhich these practicaltaxonomies produce owe their value to the fact that they are "practical. involving a host of parameterswhich the genealogical abstraction that reduces everything to the kinship relation dismisses without even knowing it. Certain studies of typically "cold" societies seem to show that matrimonialexchanges are the occasion of complex strategies. lend themselves more readilyto the games of strategy? . high and low. prevents them from seeing thattheirown practice-whether they kick the rock thatmakes them stumble.-But could it not be the case that there exist objective differences between societies such that certainof them. etc. economic analysis of the circulation of land holdings. I am inclined to thinkthat.L. One of the sourcesof the division betweenthe two "paradigms" may be in the fact that one has to spend hours and hours with informantswho arewell informedandfully prepared to gather the informationnecessary a for understanding single marriage-or at for least to reveal the pertinentparameters constructing a statistically grounded model-whereas one can establish in one afternoon a genealogy comprising a hundred and marriages in two days a list of terms of address and reference. Our perceptionand our practice. Or of AlbanBensa's quite recentstudieson New Caledonia. because he is incapableof reappropriating own rehis lation to practice. far from controlling economic and social relations. in parand ticularthe most differentiated the most complex. can be understood in these termsas well. hot and cold. methodologicalinquiryinto the most quotidianpolitical strategies.118 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY that I have studied. More generally. P.according to Wittgenstein'sexample. right and left. before concluding in favor of monism or pluralism. the languageof rules is often the refuge of legitimatethem or condemn them. This is evident providedthatone goes into the details. one would have to make sure that the structural vision that has been dominantin the analysis of societies without writing is not the effect of the relation to the object and of the theory of practice that are encouraged by the ethnologist's position of exteriority.As soon as the ethnologistprovides himself with the means to grasp in their subtlety the social uses of kinshipby combining. P.-he discovers thatmarriagesare complex operations." that they make it possible to bring in just enough logic for the needs of practice.As a matter of fact. because life would become impossible.which is increasedby their concernwith giving theirwork a scientific appearance. Yet I believe it likely that matrimonialstrategiesare universally integratedinto the system of strategiesof social reproduction. and on the subjectof ritualin particular.

theoretical part of Sens pratique. the necessities of kinship. also operatedin the most typ- .B.. But this would requireverification. for example. hence their existence as a group. This was so evident. etc. historical societies/societies without history.L.-So you thinkthat.relations of alliance-which themselves sanction affinities of life style-can carry more weight thanpurelyeconomic determinants or reasons. the chances of true events appearing. P." "one can't let feelings interfere with business") and as the more or less explicit principles which govern relations between relatives cease to apply beof yond the boundaries the family. And more generally. and particularly units with a genealogical basis. Yet I would suggest that as societies become more differentiatedand as those relatively autonomous"worlds" which I call fields develop within them.-A majorrole. Perinto auhaps in societies less differentiated tonomous spheres. as the economic field becomes established as such. bring into play in orderto produceand reproduce themselves. that of business.for me that I went so far as to place the chapter dealing with classes. of the maximizing of materialprofit ("business is business. the great heads of corporations. or classes. families.-The theory of strategies of reproduction is thereforeinseparablefrom the genetic theoryof groups. and those of politics. instituting the necessity that characterizesit. in order to createandpreservetheirunity.and that in certain economic decisions of the greatestimportance. it is certain that the dominantgroups. in the work thatI did with Monique de Saint Martinon Frenchemployers.providedthey are rethoughtand redefined. such as companymergers.L.-Exactly.INTERVIEWS119 P. aristocratic riages.B. hot societies/cold societies. not having to reckon with any principle from a competing sphere. in a commarpletely differentuniverse. all my work over the past 20 years has been aimed at abolishingthe oppositionbetweenethnologyandsociology. that the affinities that are connected with alliance are the source of certain of the solidarities that unite those perfect embodiments of homo oeconomicus. can assert themselves in an undivided way. only the complex strategiesof a habitus shaped by variousnecessities can integratethe different necessities into coherentcourses of action. and important. are examples of this sort of integrationof diverse. In short. which is almost always. etc. which aims to account for the logic according to which groups.that is. integrating necessities of differenttypes. P.studiesof kinship have a role to play in the interpretation of our societies? P. so does the freedom that is granted to the complex strategies of the habitus. those of kinship. of economic calculation. P. encounters between independentcausal series. This residual. the problemsof the specific logic of the strategies which groups. at the end of the first.-I am distrustfulof great dualist oppositions. steadily increaseand. ThereI triedto show thatgroups. It is in this way that. relatively irreducible necessities. especially families. the precondition for maintainingtheirposition in the social space. Bearnese marriage or.B. bluff. hoped in this way to show thatthe logic which I had discernedin connection with groups having a genealogical basis. consequently. for example. those of the economy. and in particular the great families-great in both senses of the word-ensure theirperpetuation by means of strategies-foremost among which are the educative strategies-which are not so differentin principle from those which Kabyle or B6arnese peasantsbringinto play in orderto perpetuate theirmaterialor symbolic capital. in every society.and in their representations all the strategies and of bargaining.. whose purpose is to modify reality by I modifying the representations. form and breakup. I have shown. which I had intendedto make the conclusion of La Distinction. existed both in the objective reality of institutedregularitiesand constraints. vestigial division prevents ethnologists and sociologists alike from adequatelyframingthe most fundamental of the problemsthat all societies pose. negotiation. that is. clans. tribes.

And the same is true of classes. practicalunits. In both cases. such as ours.) 'Hereafter termis translated "sense this as of the game. in othersocieties. one must transcend the opposition between the voluntaristic subjectivismand the scientistic and realistic objectivism that coexist in the Marxist tradition. They were subjectto the hazardof conflicts or. aversionsand incompatibilities. rigidly hierarchizedand limited. what does it mean for a group to exist?). Carnets du PatrimoineEthnologique.Here again. which certaintraditionalworks made into a typical. so the theoretical classes that sociological science carved out in order to account for practices are not necessarily mobilized classes.just as. . ventured. because I knew from experience that the groupsof "neighbors. Membership is constructed. conductedby PierreLamaison. in short. Mars 1985. In short. I had always regardedwith suspicionthe delimitationsof ethnologists. a struggle aimed at imposing such and such a way of carving up this is also representationand volition. on the contrary. one is dealing with paper groups. This interview. unit of Bearnese society. when they exist in any significantway (afterall. or mobilized classes. but which has a chance of being embodied in things only if it brings near that which is objectively near and keeps its distance from that which is objectivelydistant.The class are is never given in things." lou bestiat.In some societies. do not necessarily correspondto real. It is in the struggleover classifications. proximities and affinities.negotiated. were actually completely different. of which marriageconstitutesone moment. those designatedby the termclasses. Permission to reprintit is gratefully acknowledged. was originally publishedin TerrainNo." which betterconveys Bourdieu's emphasis on the cognitive dimension of the habitus.120 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY ical groupingsof our societies. ethnology teaches us that groups-familial or other-are things which people do. etc. at the cost of a constant labor of maintenance. at unifying or dividing. distancesare measuredin amountsof capital.. clubs. 4.bargained over. Justas the theoretical units which genealogical analysis carves out. that real rapprochements defined. families. Notes Acknowledgments.dependenton exchanges calculatedto maintain relations. genealogical space defines distances.probabilities enteringinto truly of unified groups. (Translation RobertHurby ley. on paper.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful