Kigagis Educational capital, then cultural and economic capital, clearly affects the ability to interpret questions and make judgements. Domination is always symbolic, and acts of obedience have a social genesis, appearing as the incorporation of social structures, usually reinforced by the State. Bourdieusian meditations Here practice is the key term. The control of waiting is important in exercising power [as in the stuff on role of the Ph. In the Renaissance, further specialisms emerged, leading to a further scholastic turn with philosophy. So what I have done here is to vulgarise, no doubt, and, as usual, to pick themes that I think are particularly important.

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Start your review of Pascalian Meditations Write a review Shelves: philosophy , social-theory This book is sort of a why Im not a Marxist explanation from Bourdieu. He warns you right at the start that this is what this is going to be. Im going to quote that now from pages one and two: For a long time I had adopted the habit, when asked the generally ill-intentioned question of my relations with Marx, of replying that, all in all, if I really had to affiliate myself, I would say I was more of a Pascalian.

And Pascal knew that acting as if you believe will very soon mean you actually will believe. As I said at the start, in many ways this book is a response to Marxism. But what might be called the idealist side of Marxism. That is, how Marxists answer the question about just why there has been such a delay in the revolution. If capitalism is so bad, and it is clear that it is so bad to so many people inequality is rising, we produce crap no one needs at remarkable costs to the planet - and even our possible survival on this planet then why do people go out of their way to support a system that is so decidedly opposed to both their immediate and long term interests?

The media in particular is so heavily dominated by the interests of the capitalist class that it spends virtually all of its time both distracting people from their own true interests and in making the interests of the ruling class seem completely normal. Really, there is very little question that there is something to this — it is hard to watch television and not be struck by how much all aspects of it reinforce the existing order. My current favourite example is police dramas.

The revolutionary task, then, is to try to explain to people why their interests are not the same as those of the ruling class. The problem is that, on some level, they also believe that they deserve the treatment they receive.

This is, in fact, something Pascal discusses quite extensively — and hence why Bourdieu aligns himself with Pascal. Weighing all of the alternatives is impossible if we are to get on with living. We need to act, for a large part of the time, as if we were automatons. This sounds terrible, but it is also relatively obvious too.

The rest of the time we respond on remote control — and that is a good thing. There is an amusing test where they ask people who drive to sit in front of a camera and, as realistically as possible, to hold their hands up as if there was a steering wheel in front of them and to indicate, and then to change lanes.

What the researchers did was to use how much these subjects moved their hands on the pretend steering wheel - they then showed what would happen if they had been driving a car.

And yet, if you do drive, you would have changed lanes endless times. All that there is that makes any sense at all is the game and our position in that game.

Here practice is the key term. If you want to change society you need to understand what it is that people do as automatons, what they do as reflex and unthinkingly. It is only when you are armed with this knowledge that you might have a hope of being able to disrupt those automatic practices in such a way that might allow new habits to form.

People need to live these new habits for them to become part of their lived experience and to have any hope of overturning the ready-made habits of a lifetime — habits structured by how they have lived their lives and therefore so much more difficult to brush aside or to change.

I think this is part of the reason why Bourdieu is often criticised for being fatalistic or an extreme determinist.

But I think his point is to stress just how difficult social change, fundamental social change, that is, really is.


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