“THE HOPE OF EFFICACY”
ON TELEVISION (1997)
We say far fewer original things than we think we do.
P. BOURDIEU, On Television, p. 23.
Speaking freely about television, on television, talking at length (in terms of time) and talking fast (in terms of substance), Bourdieu emphasized the very great dangers that television presents to the various spheres of cultural production — art, literature, science, philosophy and law, to political life and democracy, and he expressed the conviction that the analyses that he was making during a television broadcast would contribute “in some part, to changing things” (p. 63). Always very critical when he objectifies others — pundits or “fast-thinkers”, or journalists, “spokesmen for a typically petty bourgeois morality” (p. 52), etc., Bourdieu shows himself, by contrast, “irredeemably” (as Lenin would say) optimistic in assessing the value of his “intervention”. “By raising the awareness of the mechanisms, [the sociologist] can help give a little free-