Bourdieu and Historical Analysis (Politics, history, and culture)

Putting Bourdieu to work for class analysis: reflections on some recent contributions.
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G orski , editor. Bourdieu and Historical Analysis. According to Philip S. Gorski, Pierre Bourdieu has mistakenly been treated as a reproduction theorist rather than as a historical analyst concerned with explaining social change beyond the dualism of structure and event. This orientation, he argues, guided Bourdieu's empirical studies of Algerian and French peasants, literary fields, and May ; it was also built into his dynamic concepts.

But is this volume's aim to revise our understanding of Bourdieu or to elaborate new approaches to historical analysis? David L. Unfortunately, Swartz does not directly discuss what these principles might mean for historical analysis. Most users should sign in with their email address. If you originally registered with a username please use that to sign in. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.

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The shift from material to cultural and symbolic forms of capital is to a large extent what hides the causes of inequality. Organization Science, v. View Metrics. Stanford: Stanford University Press, This article is structured in five sections, starting by presenting a classification of the dominant trends in the study of culture. Create an account Forgot your password? Sign In.

It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Acknowledgments vii Introduction. Gorski 1 Part I. Situating Bourdieu 1. Swartz 19 2. Theoretical Engagements 4. Historical Extensions 9. Gorski Gorski Appendix 1. English Translations of Bourdieu's Works Appendix 2. Rights Back to Top.

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Cruel Optimism. The Affect Theory Reader. Preliminarily, the author understands that functionalist approaches tend to see culture in an organization as an expression of social engineering, whose management makes it possible to solve problems of order. When organizational culture is considered to be valid regarding its functionality, it will be administered and taught to new members of the organization. According to Parker , the assumption is that such basic premises can be managed from the top if they are sufficiently understood.

For Parker, this is a vision that converges towards the creation of consensus, neglecting the possibility of culture to create or reinforcing tensions that are endemic to the organization. As far as radical structuralism is concerned, organizational cultures are seen as "superstructural legitimation of economic inequalities" PARKER, , p.

Culture, in this perspective, acts in organizations as a control mechanism, aiming for the intensification of labor, the proletarianization of employees and disguising class disparities, presenting itself as a product of capital. There is, therefore, a limitation of the concept of organizational culture, which acts only as a mechanism of repression.

According to the interpretative paradigm, the notion of culture moves away from a normative system, contemplating the local nature of cultural micro-processes, in which the agent plays a preponderant role. In this context, culture, says Parker , p. In this way, culture ceases to be a prescriptive artifact and is materialized in the meaningful action. Finally, according to the radical humanism, organizational culture is the situation of contesting meanings, considering "the distinctive understanding of a particular social group which may conflict with those of other social groups" PARKER, , p.

The studies in this paradigm emphasize the disputes, and the culture of an organization is then determined by the effort the different subcultures employ in order to establish hegemony. Bourdieu's theoretical framework, on the other hand, seeks a dialectic relationship between actor and structure. Thus it not only preserves, but surpasses the objective knowledge, adding the first knowledge of the social world, inherent to phenomenology. The so-called praxiological knowledge is consolidated BOURDIEU, , advancing by transcending the usual paradigmatic typologies in scientific research on culture.

In this article, the idea of organizational culture refers to a subsystem of culture itself, which is the result of the particular history of a specific organization through which specific webs of significance are obtained, webs that provide meaning to interpretation, experiences and interactions of its members GEERTZ, The concept of organizational practices - embedded in the category of social practices - adopted here refers to Bourdieu's conception, regarding the product of a dialectical relationship between a concrete situation and the habitus.

Practice, in this sense, moves away from both a direct and mechanized action arising from the structural characteristics, and from the purely intentional action driven by the actors' goals. At this point, it is important to present the main elements of Bourdieu's theory of practice ; , which is the objective of the next section. The theory of practice conceived by Bourdieu is based on the dynamics inherent of three main concepts: habitus, field and capital. These concepts and their interrelationships are presented as follows.

For Bourdieu , p. In discussing this concept, Bourdieu emphasizes the mutual relationship between past experiences and the habitus. For Bourdieu, because the habitus is product of history, it is through it that the conformity of practices and their constancy over time are guaranteed.

Why and How History Matters

In the historical process of habitus construction, Bourdieu , p. This is because " habitus tends to ensure its own constancy and its defence against change through the selection it makes within new information by rejecting information capable of calling into question its accumulated information, if exposed to it accidentally or by force, and especially by avoiding exposure to such information.

However, as noted by Reay, Crozier and Clayton and Oliver and O'Reilly , Bourdieu highlights some possibilities of the habitus to reinvent itself, especially in situations where the individual is confronted with unfamiliar situations.

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In the same sense, Thiry-Cherques , p. Bourdieu , p. For Bourdieu, habitus is responsible for creating middle ground in practices, between a total freedom of the agent and a mechanical determinism. According to Bourdieu a, p. In organizational terms, the applicability of the concept of habitus would not be adequate, because it presents a level of analysis restricted to the individual.

In this way, Bourdieu conceives what he calls class or group habitus , justified by the fact that "each member of the same class is more likely than any member of another class to have been confronted with the situations most frequent for members of that class" BOURDIEU, , p. Bourdieu clarifies the relationship between the individual habitus and the group habitus , considering the latter as an expression of the class in the form of a subjective but not individual system of interiorized structures, presenting common schemes of perception, conception and action.

The individual habitus is thus a singularity, a specific variation of the collective habitus , a "deviation in relation to the style of a period or class" BOURDIEU, , p. In organizational terms, for example, the organization's habitus is historically shaped based on the shared experiences of its members, which remain with their specific individual habitus. In addition to the notions of capital and habitus - "incorporated history", Bourdieu , p. For Bourdieu, the field is an "arbitrary social construct, an artefact whose arbitrariness and artificiality are underlined by everything that defines its autonomy - explicit and specific rules, strictly delimited and extra-ordinary time and space" BOURDIEU, , p.

It is a space replete with positions whose properties are independent of their occupants, and which refers to a specific state of power relations BOURDIEU, For Mangi , p. In this sense, Peci , p. Misoczky , p. Lopes , p. According to this view, the field, when mediating the relationship between social structure and cultural practice, is seen as a space constructed and organized around "specific types of capital or combinations of capital" MANGI, , p. Bourdieu , a , b , shows the relations of power as central to the structuring and functioning of the social world.

For the author, the accumulated history regarding the distribution of forms of power in a given society is crucial to dictate its functioning. This promotes unequal capacities of influence and success, as well as maintain temporal inertia. The social world is accumulated history, and if it is not be reduced to a discontinuous series of instantaneous mechanical equilibria between agents who are treated as interchangeable particles, one must reintroduce into it the notion of capital and with it, accumulation and all its effects.

Capital is accumulated labour in its materialized form or its 'incorporated', embodied form which, when appropriated on a private, i. It is a vis insita , a force inscribed in objective or subjective structures, but it is also a lex insita , the principle underlying the imminent regularities of the social world. Bourdieu, , p. Bourdieu analyzes that, depending on the field in analysis, and the potential for conversion to economic advantages or to its mere perpetuation or reproduction, capital can come in three forms: economic, cultural and social.

The economic form can be converted directly and immediately into pecuniary advantages, and may be formalized as property rights. The concept of cultural capital, per se, shows significant scope when it comes to the different forms of power coming from factors such as: i tastes, domain of language and information assimilated over time incorporated state ; ii material objects and media, such as books, works of art, paintings, tools, etc.

Social capital, in Bourdieu's theory , p.

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These are the prerogatives arising from belonging to a particular social group, made effective through the connections established between its members, providing material and symbolic benefits. After exposed the concepts of habitus , field and capital, the next section addresses their interrelationships, which give form to Bourdieu's theory of practice. The treatment of the opposition between objectivism and subjectivism - the core of Bourdieu's philosophy of action - is developed from the "two-way relationship between objective structures social fields and incorporated structures of habitus " MISOCZKY, , p.

According to Peci , p. By assuming a dialectic relationship between the subject and society, or between the individual habitus and the structure of a field, actions are no longer derived from simple rational calculations, but from the result of the pressures and stimuli of a conjuncture over structures of the agents SETTON, Thiry-Cherques , when discussing the system of concepts used by Bourdieu, understands that the dynamics between the field and the habitus is centered on the search for the maintenance or change of the relations of force and distribution of the forms of capital.

According to this view, in each field, the habitus , formed by confrontations between individuals and groups, would determine the positions in society and, on the other hand, the set of positions would determine the habitus. According to Bourdieu, the "sense of the game" - the product of the experiences of the game space - implies a meaning, a reason for being and an orientation to those who participate in it.

In this sense, Bourdieu , p. To the individual who is endowed with the "sense of the game", everything that goes on in the field of the game seems to make sense. However, when suspending the adhesion to the game, the actions that take place in it lose significance, reducing to become absurd. In social fields, Bourdieu , p. There is, in this case, a practical belief - or a practical sense illusio - just as natural and immediate as affected by individuals' primary learning. The bridge between interest illusio and action itself is brought by the notion of strategy.

This concept is defined by Bourdieu , p. The practice aims at certain purposes, guiding the conduct of the social actor. The internalization of the "sense of the game" allows the creation of strategies for the achievement of certain interests. Habitus thus works as a "system of strategies-generating schemes", which conforms to the objective interests of its actors" PECI, Thus, the strategies would be inspired by the stimuli of a certain historical situation, tending to be adjusted to the needs imposed by a specific social configuration.

For Setton , this concept encompasses practices characterized as unconscious, without, however, depriving them of agents' ability to reflect. In the same direction, Peci , p. The relevance of considering the role of the field in social practice - coming from a deterministic view - is the understanding that it mediates the relationship between social structure and cultural practice, constituting spaces built and organized around "specific types of capital or combinations of capital" MANGI, , p. According to Bourdieu , the lack of consonance between the habitus and the objective conditions of a field entails greater reflexivity on the part of the agents on what structures the actions, provoking a change in the practices.

In addition, for the purposes of organizational studies, Emirbayer and Johnson stress the possibility of adopting the concept of organization-as-field. Such is Bourdieu's , p. A synthesis of the dynamics of the theory of practice is presented in figure 1. The interrelationship of its main concepts is represented by a hypothetical autonomous field. Sources: Adapted from Hurtado According to Hurtado , the conditions of the structure of a given social group are seen based on the amount and distribution of capital. Socialization in these groups generates a class habitus , whose dispositions are manifested through practices, producing the "sense of the game".

In this context, the arena of conflict between groups produces results that act on the stratification of power in social unity, usually reinforcing the objective conditions of the field. In methodological terms, the applicability of Bourdieu's theory of practice lacks specific approaches.

According to the analysis by Emirbayer and Johnson , the organizational study based on the Bourdieu's theoretical framework demands, initially, the in-depth knowledge of the organization's history, as well as in-depth knowledge of the field in which the organization is inserted.

Ethnography is pointed out as a suitable method for research on the habitus , whereas relational and social network analysis are appropriate for the research on intra and inter-organizational capital dynamics. In addition, the use of questionnaires requires the segmentation of individuals into groups of likely analogous representativeness in the organization, making it possible to "characterize the positions of power through the properties and powers of their holders" BOURDIEU, , p.

In Memory of Couze Venn

Bourdieu and Historical Analysis (Politics, History, and Culture) [Philip S. Gorski] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The French sociologist. Politics, History, and Culture Gabriel R. Ricci, History: Reviews of New Books Bourdieusian Theory and Historical Analysis: Maps, Mechanisms, and.

For Emirbayer and Johnson , p. In the present study, this fact led to a look more focused on the state-of-the-art of the organizational studies based on the theoretical tools developed by Bourdieu in order to delineate an overview of how their contributions have been effectively employed. In order to establish the state of the art use of Bourdieu's theoretical framework in organizational studies, an analysis of articles published in scientific journals was conducted, considering issues released between January and December ORG, accessed through the online portal of journals provided by Capes.

They were chosen because they cover the most prominent journals in the literature subject of the study, and because they are in the field of Applied Social Sciences - sub-area of business management, public administration and accounting, according to classification provided by the research tool of Capes online portal. The research was conducted using Bourdieu as keyword, which avoided any possible limitation of the survey's coverage. The criteria adopted for the selection of articles among those retrieved by search engines were: a published between January and December ; and b the centrality of the conceptual study of Bourdieu's theoretical framework or its application in a given organizational analysis.

The search on the system of the Capes portal for the most relevant studies, as well as the search on journals' websites, resulted in articles that had their abstracts analyzed. The articles that did not refer to organizational studies, especially those focused on class conflicts and research in the area of education and literary and linguistic analysis were disregarded.

The final sample was reduced to 74 articles, of which 24 were published in Brazilian journals and the others in non-Brazilian publications. The next step was the analysis of the content of the articles in the sample. The studies were grouped according to two perspectives, established according to the way in which the theoretical framework inherent to the theory of practice was used. The conceptual perspective refers to articles dedicated to the analysis of the theoretical tools proposed by Bourdieu, rather than the application of these tools in a specific situation of the organizational reality.

The articles circumscribed in this perspective seek to analyze the main concepts of the theory of practice per se , or to analyze the relationship or contribution of Bourdieu's theoretical framework in a broad way; including, regarding methodological aspects. On the other hand, the applied perspective brings together articles whose approach refers to the use of Bourdieu's theoretical tools in the analysis of organizational aspects, or the organizational environment. In this group were classified the articles aimed at elucidating power relations in organizations, the study of organizational practices understood as cultural expressions or organizational phenomena through practices, as well as the description of organizational fields, the dynamics between structure and agency, and the relationship between habitus and socialization processes.

The analysis of the articles selected was carried out in two clusters - those published in Brazilian journals and those published in non-Brazilian journals - in order to obtain a view of the scientific production in these two contexts, evaluating the similarities and eventual singularities. As for the sample of non-Brazilian articles 50 articles , the distribution of the production was homogeneous. The articles were classified as 'conceptual' or 'applied' regarding the researchers' perspective. The content was analyzed and separated according to the sub-categories listed in table 2.

In the conceptual perspective, the majority of articles focused on the isolated analysis of the theoretical framework related to the theory of practice. In this last sub-category, the following studies stand out, with the following concepts on the agenda: Oliveira - illusio ; Lizardo and Navari - practice; Wacquant - habitus.

In addition, it was possible to identify articles dedicated to clarifying the relationship between Bourdieu's theoretical framework and contributions from other authors or other organizational theories. In this sub-category, the work of Benson and Mangi , focused on the relationship between neo-institutionalism and Bourdieu's theory, is worth highlighting. Still concerning the conceptual perspective, two articles were identified using Bourdieu's central concepts in exhibiting specific research methods.

It is the work of Sweetman that, based on the concept of habitus , defends the use of visual methods eminently photographs in the research in an area called visual sociology; and the article by Feldman and Orlinowski , which discusses the empirical, theoretical and philosophical approaches inherent in research methods centered on organizational practices.

The applied perspective, on the other hand, gathered a greater diversity of categories. Three of them are worth highlighting in terms of quantity: behavioral, praxeological and political. Preliminarily, the behavioral category - in which a micro-sociology focused on individual actions prevailed - showed two biases: the dynamics between agency and structure; and the socialization processes discussed from the concept of habitus. In a different point of view, Peci's work is cited, to whom Bourdieu "is characterized by a stronger propensity to structuralism" Ibidem, 31 , showing "a considerable degree of determinism, expressed, perhaps with greater force, in the search for homologies between different fields" Ibidem, In the praxeological category, articles were found that take practice as a unit of analysis or that turn to the analysis of specific organizational practice through Bourdieu's theoretical tools.

Still in the praxeological category, three articles were identified that apply the concepts of habitus and capital in the study of specific organizational practice. They are: Kita , who aims to study the psychodynamic therapy in incarcerated patients; Scott and Wilson , who analyze a support program for mentally ill individuals; and Schueler , who investigates a specific practice in the area of information technology and communication.

In the political category, articles that deal with intra or inter-organizational power relations were identified and Bourdieu's concept of capital symbolic is dominant in these works.