Deconstructing Pierre Bourdieu: Against Sociological Terrorism from the Left

By Jeannine Verdes-Leroux | Go to book overview

Chapter VI

WAR WITHOUT PEACE
ON THE RULES OF ART (1992)

The illusion of knowledge without limits is never belied so
clearly as in X's analysis of Flaubert's writings, in which
he reveals the limits to how well one can comprehend
another intellectual, i.e., oneself as an intellectual (p. 293).

In 1994, introducing a collection of speeches that he had presented to audiences abroad to prove the universal validity of the models that he had constructed using the case of France as a basis, Pierre Bourdieu explained that this was the essence of his work, “its most elementary and fundamental level”, and that this “essence often escaped readers and commentators”; “it's probably my fault”, he added.

In fact, he did not say where he was “at fault” or how he
shared in the blame for “reductive” readings, but he took
the trouble to denounce “the misplaced point of
(spiritual) honor” on the part of readers who resisted
sociological analysis and he summarized “the essence” of
his work: a philosophy of relational science, “in that it
gives primacy to relations”, “objective relations” that one
can neither prove nor put a finger on, and that it is neces

-173-

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