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that is. which is legitimized by the denial of borrowing. grants himself a discourse which he would deny (underthe label of 'sociologism") to anyone like the sociologist.' What has not yet occurred (although one of our postmodernists will surely come to it sooner or later) is for a philosopher-one perfectly "worthy of the name"-to treatthe question of what allows us to distinguish a philosophical discourse from an ordinaryone. inscribed in the is PIERRE BOURDIEU professor of sociology at the College de France. and the sociology of the artistic institution which the "de-constructor" can carry out only in the mode of Verneinung is never brought to its logical conclusion: its implied critique of the institution remains half-baked. although welldone enough to arouse delicious shuddersof a bogus revolution. this critique is likely to discourage the search for the foundationof the aesthetic attitudeand of the work of art where it is truly located.goes back to the most classical analysis of "forms of classifications" so dearto Durkheimand Mauss.2 The radical dissymmetry which philosophy thus establishes in its relationships with the human sciences furnishes it with. it seems to me that the philosophy labeled postmodern(by one of those labeling devices until now reserved for the artworld). namely. This masked appropriation. implicitly or explicitly. The art object.4 But one can not win at all the tables. among other things. against traditionalliterarycriticism. the philosopher.3It is a strategyanalogous to the "double jeu" which allows Derrida to take from social science (against which he is poised) some of its most characteristicinstrumentsof "deconstruction. a critique of binary oppositions.e. and to suggest with unflinching sociologistic daring (which they would never accept in a sociologist) that the principle of this ontological difference must be sought in an institution.merely readoptsin a denied form (i." While opposing to structuralismand its notion of "static" structurea "postmodernized"variant of the Bergsonian critique of the reductive effects of scientific knowledge. is one of the most powerful strategies yet to be employed by philosophy against the social sciences and against the threat of relativizationthat these sciences have held over it. is an artifactwhose foundationcan only be found in an artworld. He does this by using. indisputably. In fact.the model for this operation. which. ordinary things (I have in mind Arthur Danto). who is not a part of the philosophical institution. unfailing means for masking what it borrowsfrom them.5 Moreover.not only certain of the findings of the social sciences but also of historicist philosophy which is. they say. in a social universe that confers upon it the status of a candidatefor aesthetic appreciation. Such a question becomes particularlypertinentwhen. The Analysis of Essence and the Illusion of the Absolute What is striking about the diversity of a paradox. I.. Heidegger's ontologization of historicity is. Derrida can give himself the air of radicalism. Paris. ? 1987 The Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism . It has occurredto some philosophers to ponder the question of what enables one to distinguish between works of art and simple. in the history of the artisticinstitution. as in the case here. by claiming a radical break with the ambition of uncovering ahistoricaland ontologically founded essences.PIERRE BOURDIEU The of LET US BEGIN with Genesis Historical a Pure Aesthetic practice of these sciences. by way of Levi-Strauss. in the sense of Freud's Verneinung). designated and recognized as such by a certain philosophical world.
beginning with the philosophers who subject it to their reflections unawareof its social conditions of possibility. which is itself inseparable from the emergence of an autonomous artisticfield capable of formulatingand imposing its own ends against external demands. unwittinglyestablishes this singular experience as a transhistorical norm for every aesthetic perception. as form and not as function) is inseparablefrom of the appearance producersof artmotivatedby a pure artistic intention. enjoys a kind of twofold existence. was invented.6 of the work of art. to which they immediately adjustedthemselves. naively. etc. implicitly establishes as universal to all aestheticpracticesthe ratherparticular propertiesof an experiencewhich is the product of privilege.Instead of Durkheim's saying "the unconscious is history. This is so clearly the case that if the extraordinary question of the source of the artwork's value. in itself and for itself.. appears to the eye as immediatelyendowed with meaning and worth. in things and in minds. When things and minds (or consciousness) are immediately in accord-in other words. The pure thinker.through historical anamnesis. In things it exists in the form of an artistic field.e. a special experience would be required. capableof apprehendingthe work of art as it demands to be apprehended (i. that is. as such. when the eye is the productof the field to which it relates-then the field. nor to the analysis of the language ordinarily used to express this experience (inasmuch as it too is the historical productof a process of dehistorization). presupposes the analyst's understandingof himself-an understanding which can be submitted neither to simple phenomenological analysis of the lived experience (inasmuch as this experience rests on the active forgettingof the history of which it is a product).202 BOURDIEU responses which philosophershave given to the question of the specificity of the work of art is not so much the fact that these divergent answers often concur in emphasizingthe absence of function. a relatively autonomous social universe which is the productof a slow process of constitution. naively. . the puregaze. From the angle of phylogenesis. but ratherthat they all (with the possible exception of Wittgenstein) share the ambition of capturinga transhistoric or an ahistoric essence." Only if one were to mobilize all the resources of the social sciences would one be able to accomplish this kind of historicist actualization of the transcendentalproject which consists of reappropriating. Whatis forgottenin self-reflective analysis is the fact thatalthoughappearingto be a gift from nature. by taking as the subject of his reflection his own experience-the experience of a cultured person from a certain social milieu-but without focusing on the historicityof his reflection and the historicityof the object to which it is applied (and by considering it a pure experience of the work of art). which is an immediate comprehension. with all the products that it offers. such as the early frequentingof museums and the prolongedexposure to schooling and to the skhole that it implies. All of this means that the analysis of essence which overlooks these conditions (thus universalizing the specific case). by the analysis of essence. with all the aspects of singularitythat it appears to possess (and the feeling of uniqueness probablycontributesgreatly to its worth). it exists in the form of dispositions which were invented by the same movement through which the field. Now this experience. the product of the entire historical operation of which consciousness too is (at every moment) the product.the gratuitousness. the eye of the twentieth-century art lover is really a product of history. normallytakenfor granted. of exceptional conditions of acquisition. form of The comprehensionof this particular relationshipwith the work of art. Such an analysis is the only one capable of accounting simultaneously for the nature of the experience and for the of appearance universalitywhich it procuresfor those who live it. From the side of ontogenesis the pure gaze is associated with very specific conditions of acquisition. What the ahistoricalanalysis of the work of art and of the aesthetic experience captures in reality is an institutionwhich.were to arise at all.In minds. the impartiality." one could write "the a priori is history. is itself an institution which is the product of historicalinventionand whose raisond'etre can be reassessed only throughan analysis which is itself properlyhistorical. In the individual case this would include reappropriatingthe dispositions and classificationalschemes which are a necessary partof the aesthetic experience as it is described.
like the signatureof the fashion designer. plays the game and by playing it assures its existence. or of theory'? (Theory is a particularlyapt word because we are dealing with seeing-theorein-and of making others see. But. which a long exposureto artworks. The game makes the illusio. . it is throughthe competition among the agents with vested interestsin the game that the field reproducesendlessly the interestin the game and the faith in the value of the stakes. in other words. createsthe aesthetic disposition without which it could not function. even though it would be. The player. II. like the question of the specificity of aesthetic judgment. its ontological effectiveness upon his name. created the "creator" as a recognized and known producerof fetishes? And what confers its magical or. Specifically. increases the value of the object upon which it is affixed? That is. ex instituto as Leibniz would have said. This is demonstrated empirical researchand is also suggestedby Danto.) Where does this ultimateprinciple. by its very functioning. mindfulof the game's meaning and having been created for the game because he was created by it. (namely as a symbolic object endowed with by meaning and value) only if it is apprehended spectators possessing the disposition and the aesthetic competence which are tacitly required.The Historical Genesis of a Pure Aesthetic one which would be quite exceptional for a cultured person. But there clearly is no need for such a sign. if one prefers. along with all the great problems of philosophical aesthetics. the question of the meaningand the value of the work of art. The experience of the work of art as being immediately endowed with meaning and value is a result of the accord between the two mutuallyfounded aspects of the same historical institution:the culturedhabitus8and the artistic field. In orderto illustratethe operationof this collective endeavor and give an idea of the 203 numerousacts of delegation of symbolic power and of voluntaryor forced recognition through which this reservoir of credit (upon which the creatorsof fetishes draw) is engendered. Danto discovered the arbitrarycharacter. one must also remember immediately that this is possible only to the extent thatthe aesthetehimself is the productof This circle. a history which is linked to a sociology of the conditions of the establishment of the specific aesthetic disposition (or attitude)that the field calls for in each one of its states. The artisticfield. a recognized artist (recognized first and foremost as an artist) and not by a wine merchantor a plumber? If the answer is yes. sustaining itself throughthe informedplayer's investmentin the game. for example. which produces the sacred by introducingdifference. In short. one could then say that it is the aesthete's eye which constitutesthe work of art as a work of art. is sharedby every institutionwhich can function only if it is institutedsimultaneouslywithin the objectivity of a social game and within the dispositions which induce interest and participationin the game. on the contrary.7 Following a visit to an exhibit of Warhol's Brillo Boxes at the Stable Gallery. what constitutes the stakes in quarrelsof attribution and the authorityof the expert?Where is one to locate the ultimate principle of the effect of labeling. it will suffice to recall the relationship among the various avant-garde critics who anoint themselves critics by consecrating works whose sacred value is barely perceived by culturedart lovers or even by the critic's most advanced rivals. quite ordinary for all those who have not had the opportunity to acquire the dispositions which are objectively requiredby by the work of art.9 is one of belief and of the sacred. can be resolved only within a social history of the field. of the imposition of the value created by the field through an exhibit in a place which is both consecratedand consecrating. or of naming. Given that the work of art exists as such. Museums could bear the inscription: Entryfor art lovers only. a name whose very celebrity is the measure of his claim to exist as an artistand which. then isn't this simply a matterof replacing the work-of-art-as-fetish with the "fetish of the name of the master"? Who. it all goes without saying. The Genesis of the Artistic Field and the Inventionof the Pure Gaze Whatmakes the work of art a work of art and not a mundanething or a simple utensil? What makes an artist an artist and not a craftsmanor a Sunday painter? What makes a urinal or a wine rack that is exhibited in a museum a work of art? Is it the fact that they are signed by Duchamp.
The philosopher's analysis of essence only records the product of the real analysis of essence which history itself performs objectively.).periof ods. such as the emergence of the entire set of the specific institutionswhich are a necessary condition for the functioning of the economy of culturalgoods. critics. etc. and from there to the belief held by his followers. It is a question of describingthe gradualemergence of the entire set of social conditions which make possible the characterof the artist as a producerof the fetish which is the work of art. the artistic field. collectors.204 division.) and the techniques. within which. salons. in his Theory of Magic. Likewise. and thereforedated. art historians. and unable to make a break with the apparent subject.This would yield not only an inventory of the artist's indices of autonomy (such as those revealed throughthe analysis of contracts. etc. one must replace the ontological questionwith the historicalquestion of the genesis of the universe. etc. instancesof reproduction producersand conof sumers (art schools.reside? Such questions are quite similar in type to those raised by Mauss when.). namely the artist (or elsewhere the writer. styles. and which. the scholar).As long as paintingis measured by surface units and durationof production. the presence of a signature. but also an inventory by of the signs of the autonomyof the field itself. and found that he had to move back from the instrumentsused by the sorcerer to the sorcerer himself. institutionsof consecrationor sanction (academies. all of whom are endowed with the dispositions objectively required by the field and the specific categories of perceptionand of appreciation. mannerisms. historians. even the most critical among them) as the locus where the faith in the value of art and in the artist'spower of valuablecreationis continuallyproducedand reproduced. in order to consider the field of productionof BOURDIEU which the artist (socially instituted as a "creator") is the product. categories. and separation. is brutally recalled through strokes of genius a la Duchamp). that he had to confrontthe entire social universe in whose midst magic evolves and is practiced. thatis. He discovered. etc. one must make a similar stop. museums. History does this throughthe process of autonomization within which and through which the artistic field is gradually instituted and in which the agents (artists. It is not only a matter of exorcizing what Benjamincalled the "fetish of the name of the master" in a simple sacrilegious and slightly childish inversion-and whether one wishes it or not.art historiansare not able to replacethe ritualisticinquiryconcerning the place and the moment of the appearanceof the characterof the artist (as opposed to the craftsman)with the question of the economical and social conditions underlyingthe establishment of an artisticfield foundedupon the belief in the quasi-magical powers attributedto the modem artistin the most advancedstates of the field. Certain notions which have become as banal and as obvious as the notion of artist or of "creator. curators.). in particular professional ideology of the uncreated "creator" which was developed during the nineteenth century. etc. althoughcommonly forgotten.which are irreducibleto those in common use and which are capableof imposing a specific measureof the value of the artistand of his products. or affirmationsof the artist's specific competence. words." as well as the words which designate and constitutethem. the philosopher. And in order to explain this sort of miracleof transubstantiation (which is at the very source of the artwork's existence.). etc. little by little. critics. in the infinite regress in search of the primarycause and ultimate foundation of the artwork's value. or the recourse in case of a dispute to the arbitration peers. he pondered the principle of magic's effectiveness.).) which are characteristic this universe are invented. the value of the work of art is endlessly producedand reproduced. In other words it is a matterof constituting the artistic field (which includes art analysts. These include:places of exhibit (galleries. the name of the masteris indeed a fetish. Unable to question all that is implicitly involved in the the modem notion of artist. are the product of a slow and long historical process. and concepts (genre.or by the quantityand price of the materialsused . Art historians themselves do not completely escape the trapof "essentialist thought" which is inscribed in the usage-always haunted by anachronism-of historically invented. etc. and specialized agents (dealers. beginning with art historians. througha veritablecontinuous creation.
One can also understandwhy confusion does not diminish when it comes to concepts used to characterizethe work of art itself and the terms used to perceive and to appreciate it (such as the pairs of adjectives beautiful or ugly. points of view of their users-points of view which are quite often perfectly irreconcilable. This is probably due less to what it says aboutthe painterand his work than to the fact that the biographyestablishes the artist as a memorable character. refined or crude. collectors. are characterized (as Wittgenstein has observed) by the most extreme indeterminacy. these categories of judgments of taste which are common to all speakers of a shared language do allow an apparentform of communication. among all the inventions which accompany the emergence of the field of production. or classical). famous or unknown). all who have ties with art. sonnet.notablythe biography. the discourseof celebration. in fact. realist. critics of all persuasions(who themselves are established within the field). Among these are the producersof works classified as artistic (great or minor. using appropriatewords (often pairs of adjectives) which enable one to speak of pictorialart. comedy. Yet. worthy of historical account. clients. curators.) which structurethe expression and the experience of the work of art. the criteria of perceptionand appreciationfor their products. collectors. drama.The Historical Genesis of a Pure Aesthetic (gold or ultramarine). Due to the fact that they are inscribedin ordinarylanguage and that they are generally used beyond the aesthetic sphere. of speaking about him and about the nature of his work as well of the mode of remunerationfor his work. etc. which is affected by the image of themselves and their production that comes back to them through the eyes of other agents engaged in the field--other artists. but also critics. much like statesmen and poets. and who. participate in the production of the value of the artist and of art. rondeau. for example. who live for art and. that the interest in sketches and cartoons shown by certain collectors since the has quattrocento only helped to contributeto the artist's exalted view of his own worth. but rather the entire set of agents engaged in the field. to produce. also plays a determiningrole. historically and socially situated. (It is known that ennobling comparisons-ut pictura poesis-contribute to the affirmationof the irreducibilityof pictorial art.) Thus. if one can always argue about taste (and everyone knows that confrontations regarding preferences play an importantrole in daily conversation) then it is certain that . etc. despite that. or sonata).That is why. it becomes clear thatthe "subject" of the production of the artwork-of its value but also of its meaning-is not the producer who actually 205 creates the object in its materiality. then one can understandwhy the concepts used to consider works of art and particularly their classifications. with forms (ballad. If such is.) A genetic sociology should also include in its model the action of the producers themselves and their claim to the right to be the sole judges of pictorial production. to varying degrees. light or heavy." In short.. as the field is constituted as such.'0 This is probably because the use that is made of these terms and the meaning that is given to them depend upon the specific. That is the case with genres (tragedy. of pictorial techniques. that is. makes them completely resistant to essentialist definition. By the same logic. naturalist). or the novel).the artist-painteris not radicallydifferentfrom a house painter. one of the most significant is probably the elaboration of an artistic language. through which is established an autonomous definition of properly artistic value irreducible to the strictly economical value and also a way of speaking about painting itself. the logic of the field. such terms always remain marked-even when used by professionals-by an extreme vagueness and flexibility which (as has been noted again by Wittgenstein). or with movements (impressionist. themselves. (One can assume. the individual style of the painter whose existence it socially constitutes by naming it. This involves first establishing a way of naming the painter. at least for a time and until they become a hindranceto this. symbolist. through these struggles. the manifattura. and who confront each other in struggles where the imposition of not only a world view but also of a vision of the artworld is at stake. with periods or styles (Gothic. from it. middlemen. in short. baroque. Such a sociology should also take into account the way in which the artists' image of themselves and the image that they have of their productionand through this also their production itself.
-where games in which the universal is at stake are being played out. of decreeing (throughdecias sions as innocentin appearance the inclusion or exclusion of so-and-so from a corpus or list of producers)who is an artist and who is not. That is precisely what Austin was recalling when he analyzed the implicationsof the adjective "real" in expressions such as a "real" man. If there is a truth. this notion later found itself banished from art by Manet and by the impressionists. It is most frequently excluded from "bourgeois" taste. This last decision. for instance. all the more crucial. is the question of the legitimatebelonging to a field (which is the question of the limits of the world of art) and also because the validity of the conclusions. (Our term "categories" stems from the Greek kathegoresthaimeaning to accuse publicly.206 comunicationin these matterstakes place only That is with a high degree of misunderstanding. one could go on drawing endless lists of notions which.) These combativeconcepts gradually become technical categorems upon which-by grace of the amnesia of genesiscritical dissections. what realism really is. Thus it is possible for individuals. dissertations. The notion of "finite" is one example. in a manner not "really" justified) this same predicate. and giving oneself the satisfactionof pronouncingverdicts-of declaring. which one is able to establish apropos a universe depends on the validity of the category aproposof which these conclusions were drawn. in fact. Thus the categorieswhich are used in orderto perceive and appreciate the work of art are doubly bound to the historical context. even radically opposed meanings in the course of various periodsor as a resultof artisticrevolutions. Linked to a situated and dated social universe. a "real" artist or a "real" masterpiece. etc. or even. although unduly so (that is. Such a method involves settling conflicts which in reality are not settled.12 Situatedwithin the historicdimension. But in that case it is quite evident that "essences" are norms. quite simply.'3 "Essentialist thought" is at work in every social universe and especially in the field of cultural production-the religious. precisely so because the commonplaces which make communication possible are the same ones that make it practically ineffective. "real" courage or. because one of the majorstakes in these artistic struggles. The users of these topics each give different.a predicatewhich like all claims to universality is symbolically very powerful. to be able to give totally opposing meaningsand values to adjectiveswhich are commonly used to describe works of art or mundaneobjects. Having condensed into one the closely linked ethical and aesthetic ideals of academic painting.In all of these examples. scientific. is. at times diametrically opposed. The example of the adjective "'soigne" comes to mind. have taken on different. for all its apparentpositivistic innocence. they nevertheless are formulatedin the name of a claim to universality-to absolute judgment-which is the very negation of the relativity of points of view. to which other speakers assign. Of all the methods of entering such struggles-which BOURDIEU must be apprehendedas such from the outside in orderto objectivize them-the most tempting is and the most irreproachable undoubtedlythat of presentingoneself as a judge or referee.and academic theses confer an air of eternity. initially conceived for the most part as insults or condemnations. and legal fields. as is the case here. and many of the categories which art historiansdeploy in order to treat their subject are nothing more than skillfully masked or transfigured indigenous categories. probably because it embodies the taste of the petitbourgeois. beginning with the idea of beauty. holding opposing positions within a social space. meanings to the terms that they oppose. the word "real" implicitly contraststhe case under consideration to all other cases in the same category. The majority of notions which artists and critics use to define themselves or to define their adversariesare indeed weapons and stakes in the battle. they become the subject of usages which are themselves socially markedby the social position of the users who exercise the constitutivedispositions of their habitus in the aesthetic choices these categories make possible. it is that truthis a stake in the struggle. always and everywhere. . And although the divergent or antagonisticclassifications or judgments made by the agents engaged in the artistic field are certainly determined or directed by specific dispositions and interests linked to a given position in the field. notably statistical ones.
the field of production. have defended an art subordinatedto 207 moral values and didactic functions). by each potential consumer of the work of art. the technique. contents and sentiments to be banished (lyricism. one could maintain that affirmation of the autonomy of the principles of production and evaluation of the artwork is inseparablefrom the affirmationof the autonomy of the producer. with its categories. concepts and instruments of analysis. the sort of pure aesthetic posture described by essentialist analysis. is able to affirm his mastery over that which defines him and which properlybelongs to him. relativizing them by recalling that they have meaning solely through reference to a determined state of the field of battle.and just as they are inseparable from the historical conditions which set them in motion. offers the only real chance of escaping history. in other words. metaphor). or instead observe it within society today. toward any object. In more general terms. Just as the oppositions which structureaesthetic perceptionare not given a priori. now in a position to rebuff every external constraintor demand. is meant to be beheld in itself and for itself as a painting-as a play of forms. the evolution of the different fields of cultural productiontoward a greater autonomy is accompanied by a sort of reflective and critical return by the producers upon theirown production. According to the methodological postulate (which is constantly validatedby empirical analysis) of the homology between the space of the positions taken (literaryor artistic forms. as one may think. historicizing them not only means. one is led to historicize these cultural products. and psychology). as they do in the religious field. and all that. a truly generative definition. like the break with phonosemantic parallelism. In fact. and colors-and not as a discourse. to the most specifically poetic effects. in the course of successive revolutions which. it also means restoring to them their necessity by removing them from indeterminancy (which stems from a false eternalization) in order to bringthem back to the social conditions of their genesis. Like pure painting which. . a productwhich must be reproduced. concepts. and more so. all of which claim universality. and the space of the positions held in the field. in orderto reduce itself little by little. through a specific apprenticeship. Science can attempt to bring representations and instrumentsof thought-all of which lay claim to universality with unequal chances at success-back to the social conditions of their production and of their use. the historizationof the forms of thought which we apply to the historicalobject. Alexandrine). the camps. as Zola wrote apropos Manet. effusion. rhetorical figures to be demolished (simile. thus institutedas the exclusive aim of art. and the victories are determined. is a product of the entire historyof the field. in other words. One has thus observed poetry purify itself of all its accessory properties: forms to be destroyed (sonnet. until the end of the nineteenth century. It suffices either to observe the aesthetic attitude's distributionthroughouthistory (with those critics who.). so it is with the aesthetic attitude. which establishes as works of art objects socially designated for its use and application (simultaneously extending its activity to aesthetic competence. following a kind of historical analysis.a returnwhich leads them to draw from it the field's own proper principle and specific presuppositions. that is. independentlyfrom all references to transcendentmeanings. and which may be the product of that object. the strategies. that is. without recalling here the entire demonstration. but are historically produced and reproduced. 4 Far from leading to a historical relativism. the form. in a word. But. in order to be convinced that nothing is less naturalthan the disposition to adopt toward an artwork. and taxonomies). values. The invention of the pure gaze is realized in the very movement of the field toward autonomy. etc. always lead the new avant-garde to challenge orthodoxy-in the name of a returnto the rigor of beginningswith a purer definition of the genre. The aesthetic attitude. the pure gaze (a necessary correlateof pure painting) is a result of a process of purification. a true analysis of essence carriedout by history.The Historical Genesis of a Pure Aesthetic Science can do nothing but attemptto establish the truth of these struggles over the truth and while trying to capture the objective logic according to which the stakes. back to the historical structureof the field in which they are engendered and within which they operate. the art. if ever so little. This is firstly because the artist.
codified. and to frustrateor discredit all attempts at reducing them to a social context against which they were set up. who. an expert in the art of confounding the new aesthetic doxa. as an avant-gardepainter. the time of art history is really irreversibleand that it presentsa form of cumulativeness. the history that deciphering and appreciation practically put into play is gradually reduced to a pure history of forms. in orderto reverse the situation. Adequate perception of works-which like Warhol's Brillo Boxes or Klein's monochromaticpaintings. no one possessing advanced academic degrees) who does not know that any reality. the conscious and radical affirmationof the almightiness of the creative gaze. at the risk of appearing to be "naive" (in the manner of Rousseau or of Brisset) must inevitably situate themselves in relationto all the precedingattemptsat surpassing which have occurred in the history of the field and within the space of possibilities which it imposes upon the newly arrived. as the field closes upon itself. and analystsbecomes a part of the conditions of access into the field of production. the consumptionof works which are a product of a long history of breaks with history.which also holds for Manet. a pebble. among philosophers. along with literary and art historians. both contemporaryand past.208 BOURDIEU Flaubertin the domain of writing and Manet in paintingare probablythe first to have attempted to impose. but also to insignificant objects before which the "creator" is able to assert his quasi-divine power of transmutation. by exhibiting the ordinaryobject as it is. with tradition. thereis no culturedpersontoday (which means. can be the subjectof a work of art." unaware of the specific logic of the field. and canonized by an entire body of professionalexpertsin conservation and celebration. that it is wise to say that such is the case. What is forgotten in both cases is the historical process throughwhich the social conditions of . The result is that. and. tends to become historical through and through.Nothing is more closely linked to the specific past of the field. the works that stem from a pure concern for form seem destinedto establishthe exclusive validity of internal reading which heeds only formal properties. it is attentive to deviations from other works. exegists.owe theirformalpropertiesand their value only to the structureof the field and thus to its history-is a differential. as could be proven empirically. like production. This also resolves the apparently insoluble problemthat formalistaesthetics (which wishes to consideronly form in the receptionas well as the productionof art) presents as a true challenge to sociological analysis. The same is true of a philosophical aesthetics which records and ratifies this ambition. It is therefore more and more difficult to deduce it from the state of the general social world at the given time (as a certain "sociology. in orderto awaken today's aesthete whose artistic good will knows no limit. And yet. lays down the autonomy of form in relation to subject matter. including subversive intention-itself linked to a state of the field-than avant-garde artists who. the most generally accepted definition of aestheticjudgment. What happens in the field is more and more linked to the field's specific history and to it alone. it suffices to note that the formalist ambition's objection to all types of historicizationrests upon the unawareness of its own social conditions of possibility. In fact. by scholastic canons. and to re-evoke in him artisticand even philosophicalwonder. a rag peddler. the practicalmastery of the specific knowledge-which is inscribed in past works. at the very least. "Ecrire bien le mediocre. one must apply a shock treatment to him a la Duchamp or a la Warhol. contraryto what is taughtby a naive relativism.15 Who does not know. manage to prod in some way the creative almightiness that the pure aesthetic disposition (without much consideration)confers upon the artistas he has been defined since Manet. In effect. In fact. a rope. completely eclipsing the social history of the struggles for forms which is the life and movement of the artistic field. claims to do).a diacritical perception: in other words. made me observe. capable of being applied not only (throughsimple inversion) to lowly and vulgar objects as was the aim of Champfleury'sand Courbet's realism. and yet more and more totally dehistoricized. Attributionof artistic status is." This Flaubertian formula. The resultis that. The second reason for this introspectiveand criticalreturnof artunto itself is the fact that. at the cost of real subjective and objective difficulties. simultaneouslyassigning its fundamental norm to cultured perception. recorded.
no. "The Philosophical Establishment. which the lack of minimal mastery of the instrumentsof perception and of appreciation(in particularlabels and references like names of genres. Dickie. an attitudewhich. (I am thinking. p. " An acute awareness of the situation in which he is positioned could lead the analyst to ratherinsurmountable "aporia . Art and the Aesthetic (Cornell University Press. 1974). for example. For example.. how Nietzsche furnishedFoucaultwith "screening" concepts. even if one replaced an indigenous word such as 'province. how and why "deconstruction" goes only halfway. artists. even confusion.that is. ' One should show. 13 In other words. 1966). impartiality detachment (it separates past and future preoccupations). 1-8. by way of denial." 209 8 The concept of habitus. into an ontology of the work of art. 5 I have demonstratedelsewhere." Revue internationaledes sciences sociales 20. one could claim that sociological analysis does not in fact reduce and relativize these practices. etc. "Elements d'une theorie sociologique de la perception artistique. Sociological analysis rejects these theories without falling." Journal of Philosophy 61 (1964): 571-84. then the opposition between the center and the periphery which is used to analyze the effects of symbolic dominationbecomes a stake in the struggle within the field that is being analyzed." Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (1986): 91-1 10. 10 See R. is actually neithertheoreticalnor practicalbut ratherpurely contemplative. L'Amour de tart." in Freedomand Resentment[London. The example of Avignon illustratesthe fact that the artist cannot produce himself as such-here as an alternativecapable of effectively competing for the dominant position-unless he does so in relationship with his clients. See H. Distinction. Shusterman. with a more neutral concept such as periphery. Barbel. as does the Gadamerof Truthand Method. TheArt of Appreciation(OxfordUniversityPress. "Domination symbolique et geographic artistique dans I'histoire del'italian art. 494-98. 4 (1968): 640-64. Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge University Press. 19741. 3 See P. pp. and to generate acceptance for them.1976])." Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 5-6 (November 1975): 183-90 (and Die politische Ontologie Martin Heideggers [Frankfort. following the same logic. Bourdieu and A. in proposing an essentialist definition of the judgment of taste or in grantingthe universality requiredby a definition which (like Kant's definition) is in accord with his own ethic-behavioral dispositions. 2 See Pierre Bourdieu." in Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales 40 [November 1981]: 51-73. 'Wittgenstein and Critical Reasoning. 1977). a dispositional "structured structuringstructure" is elaborated at great length in P. the process of establishing the relatively autonomousfield of production and with it the realm of pure aesthetics or pure thought whose existence it makes possible. See also Danto. and to reject the subjectivism of theories of aesthetic consciousness (aesthetisches Bewusstsein). apropos an analysis by Derridaof Kant's Critique of Judgment. but without forfeiting them. G. "Postscript: Towards a 'Vulgar' Critique of 'Pure Critiques'. which is nevertheless very clearly situated within social space and historicaltime. Danto. but rather removes them from arbitrariness and absolutizes them by makingthem both necessaryand uniqueand thusjustified in existing as they exist." Especially since even the most neutrallanguage appearsinevitably-as soon as naive readingmakes it a part of the social game-as a standwithin the very debate which he is only trying to objectify. and their effort to convert a peripheralposition into a central one or at least to make of it a willed gap. Bourdieu. see P. and on the other hand the resistance of the "peripherists" against their lowered status implied in this classification. 'The Artworld. He thus renounces the plebian methods of the social sciences. Bourdieu. 1 A. for example. Montefiore." a word which is too charged with pejorative connotations. as it confronts the thing. modes of thinking which are typical of a genetic sociology. Bourdieu. Osborne.) These concepts have allowed Foucaultto accept. 14 Contrary to the dominant representation which claims that by relating each manifestation of taste to its social conditions of production sociological analysis reduces and relativizes the practices and representations involved." in A. Castelnuovo and C. pp.) visits upon the culturally deprived museum-goers. P.pp. of the notion of genealogy functioning as a euphemistic substitute for social history.) 12 See Bourdieu. Bourdieu. one could simply recall an ideally typical example of the essentialist constitutionof the aesthetic throughan enumeration of the traits which characterizean aesthetic experience. of schools. and indifference towards the existence of the object. 194." in Distinction [Harvard University Press. (See E. 178-88). 9 Sociological analysis allows one to escape the dichotomouschoice between subjectivismand objectivism. Les musees d'art europeens et leur public (Paris. by suspendingdiscursive and analyticalactivities (it disregards and sociological and historicalcontext). of periods. Ginsburg. "The Artworld. the philosopher distances himself less than he imagines from ordinarymodes of thinking and from the propensitytoward making the relative absolute which typifies them. for whom the aesthetic attitudeis typified by the of following: a concentration attention(it separates-frames apart-the perceived object from its environment). 1984]. 1983). Thus. (See P. "L'ontologie politique de Martin Heidegger. Such theories reducethe aestheticquality of a naturalthing or of a human work to a simple correlate of a deliberate attitude of consciousness. 1970). ed. Philosophy in France Today (CambridgeUniversity Press.) 6 Without calling forth all the definitions which are merely variants of Kantian analysis (such as Strawson's view that the function of the work of art is to have no function. 7On the disconcertment. Such an example is Harold Osborne.The Historical Genesis of a Pure Aesthetic freedom from regard to "external determinations" get established. One could in fact posit that two people whose habitus are different and who have not been . see "Aesthetic Appraisaland Worksof Art. on the one hand there is the wish of the "centrists" to describethe positions taken by those who occupy the peripheralsites as an effect of a delay. and in Distinction.
pp. arrive at the same judgment of value. 34-41. Distinction.210 exposed to the same conditions and stimulations(because they constructthem differently)do not hear the same music and do not see the same paintings and cannot. The author and guest editor gratefully acknowledge ChannaNewman's work in translatingthis text. 15 BOURDIEU See Bourdieu. . therefore.