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phalangingle in theoryishotcrew

Can I just substitute an interpretive dance in place of a list?

Although I am generally of the opinion that I would never be a member of a club that would have someone like me as a member, I decided to give this a try.

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  1. "Foucault" in "Dictionnaire des philosophes" 1984, - Maurice Florence


  1. Distinction - Bourdieu


  1. El Laberinto de la Soledad - Paz


  1. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life - Goffman


  1. Borderlands/La Frontera - Anzaldua


  1. The Interpretation of Cultures  - Geertz


  1. Aberrations in Black - Ferguson


  1. Ain't I a Woman  - bell hooks


  1. Giving an Account of Oneself - Butler


  1. Selections from the Prison Notebooks - Gramsci

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I agree with you on the characterization of dumb vortexes that tend to pop up around Bourdieu. The question should not be "would someone who like Maurice Chevalier in France in the 60s be more like someone who like Tom Cruise in the 80s or like someone who liked Tom Cruise in Eyes Wide Shut?" , I think the questions would have to be: would someone who liked Tom Cruise in the 80s also like Steven Segal, would they drink beer, soda, juice, or water while watching films. Is this person from the middle class, if so born in the working, middle, or upper class? If this person is from the middle class and then becomes working class will they like Vanilla Sky years later? What position does Tom Cruise occupy in the film industry: what types of films has he been in, high budget, indie, etc? What is the relation between the film industry and other media industries within the field of cultural production (film industry compared to the press, television, internet)?

That is only the beginning set of questions. It does not make sense to ask what are the equivalent positions of someone in 1960s France and 1980s America in terms of the tastes for popular culture. They occupy different fields! Boourdieu is not a theorist that is highly amenable to hypothesis testing because the notion of a field (of forces, of strategies, of resources) requires that the positions within the field be mapped out, the position of the field to other fields detailed, and the relation of the particular field to the overall field of power must be taken into account.

In the English preface to Distinction, Bourdieu notes the particularity of the French case. The promise of a case for the comparative method, Bourdieu states, is that it demonstrates a "particular case of the possible." Bourdieu notes that France is different from America because of the traces of aristocratic society and the notion of an 'art of living.' What Distinction offers is an outstanding analysis of habitus and a theory of culture and social stratification. Just like in Rules Of Art, where Bourdieu develops the concept of 'field' through a rigorous analysis of the emergence of the literary field in France, Bourdieu's work offers theoretical concepts, but more important, demonstrates how one can use them through concrete empirical studies. The use of empirical studies does not warrant dismissing Bourdieu as parochial to the French situation (positions of intellectual and struggles within and between French universities, figures of popular culture), because the value of the concept of field is that it must be reconstructed with every study.

In my work I take the concept of field and symbolic power, but I do not relate community development (a project I am currently working on) to either the literary field in 19th century France, or the popular tastes of various French social groups in the 1960s. But the procedures and theoretical links that Bourdieu makes between taste, class, social fragment, habitus are useful in constructing my own project because the concepts are formed in dialogue with theoretical antimonies (structure/agency, subject/object/, social reproduction/change) and in direct connection with empirical studies.

Are you a sociologist?