David Swartz, Sociologist

B  O  O  K  S

Symbolic Power, Politics, and Intellectuals: The Political Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. University Of Chicago Press, 2013.

"Power is the central organizing principle of all social life, from culture and education to stratification and taste. And there is no more prominent name in the analysis of power than that of noted sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Throughout his career, Bourdieu challenged the commonly held view that symbolic power—the power to dominate—is solely symbolic. He emphasized that symbolic power helps create and maintain social hierarchies, which form the very bedrock of political life. By the time of his death in 2002, Bourdieu had become a leading public intellectual, and his argument about the more subtle and influential ways that cultural resources and symbolic categories prevail in power arrangements and practices had gained broad recognition. In Symbolic Power, Politics, and Intellectuals, Swartz delves deeply into Bourdieu’s work to show how central—but often overlooked—power and politics are to an understanding of sociology. Arguing that power and politics stand at the core of Bourdieu’s sociology, Swartz illuminates Bourdieu’s political project for the social sciences, as well as Bourdieu’s own political activism, explaining how sociology is not just science but also a crucial form of political engagement."

Table of Contents

1: Reading Bourdieu as a Political Sociologist
2: Forms of Power in Bourdieu's Sociology
3: Capitals and Fields of Power
4: For a Sociology of Symbolic Power
5: Bourdieu's Analysis of the State
6: For an Intellectual Politics of Symbolic Power
7: Critical Sociologist and Public Intellectual
8: For Democratic Politics

After Bourdieu: Influence, Critique, Elaboration. Swartz, David L.; Zolberg, Vera L. (Eds.) Partly reprinted from THEORY AND SOCIETY, 332:5-6, 2004, VI, 371 p., Hardcover. ISBN: 1-4020-2588-2

The most significant French sociologist since Durkheim, Pierre Bourdieu's influence on intellectual life shows no sign of abating. He was a prolific and consequential scholar whose impact can be measured by the Social Science Citation Index and international surveys of academics. Conceptualizations, such as habitus and field, his heuristic treatment of cultural, economic, political, social and symbolic capital to analyze the uses of power, and his insistence upon melding the usually separated micro and macro levels of societal theorizing are now embedded in the basic vocabulary of sociology and anthropology. Whether or not in accord with his outlook, serious scholars are obliged to test themselves against his challenges. Bourdieu also played a considerable role as a public intellectual, taking positions on questions vital to France and to the world more generally. Many of his contributions stem from his important research projects: colonialism, educational inequality, the social foundations of taste in the arts and life styles, social reproduction of status relationships, and more recently, the impact of unchecked globalism on the disadvantaged. The articles in this book represent a sampling of the most recent and durable of the ongoing conversations, debates, and research orientations that Bourdieu launched. This collection offers insight into central features of Bourdieu's sociology as well as examples of original research inspired by Bourdieu's work. It will be of great relevance to students of social theory, French culture and theory, political sociology, sociology of culture and education. This volume is based in large part on a special issue of the journal Theory and Society [The sociology of Symbolic Power: A Special Issue in Memory of Pierre Bourdieu] edited by David L. Swartz, with the editorial collaboration of Vera L. Zolberg Vol. 332/5-6 (December 2003) Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Culture and Power: The Social Theory of Pierre Bourdieu. University of Chicago Press, 1997.

From the University of Chicago Press website: "Pierre Bourdieu is one of the world's most important social theorists and is also one of the great empirical researchers in contemporary sociology. However, reading Bourdieu can be difficult for those not familiar with the French cultural context, and until now a comprehensive introduction to Bourdieu's oeuvre has not been available.

"David Swartz focuses on a central theme in Bourdieu's work--the complex relationship between culture and power--and explains that sociology for Bourdieu is a mode of political intervention. Swartz clarifies Bourdieu's difficult concepts, noting where they have been misinterpreted by critics and where they have fallen short in resolving important analytical issues. The book also shows how Bourdieu has synthesized his theory of practices and symbolic power from Durkheim, Marx, and Weber, and how his work was influenced by Sartre, Levi-Strauss, and Althusser.

"Culture and Power is the first book to offer both a sympathetic and critical examination of Bourdieu's work and it will be invaluable to social scientists as well as to a broader audience in the humanities."

Table of Contents:

  • Acknowledgements
  • 1: Introducing Pierre Bourdieu
  • 2: Career and Formative Intellectual Influences
  • 3: Bourdieu's Metatheory of Sociological Knowledge
  • 4: Bourdieu's Political Economy of Symbolic Power
  • 5: Habitus: A Cultural Theory of Action
  • 6: Fields of Struggle for Power
  • 7: Social Classes and the Struggle for Power
  • 8: Education, Culture, and Social Inequality
  • 9: Intellectuals and Intellectual Fields
  • 10: The Scientific Intellectual and Politics
  • 11: The Struggle for Objectivity: Bourdieu's Call for Reflexive Sociology
  • 12: Conclusion
  • References
  • Author Index
  • Subject Index

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