Marxism Engages Bourdieu




7:30–9 p.m.


Presidents Hall, Franklin Hall


The influence of Pierre Bourdieu has spread across disciplines and over the world. Like all the great sociologists before him, his theory emerges from a critique of Marx. In Bourdieu’s case the critique revolves around Marx’s failure to develop a theory of cultural domination. But, like his predecessor sociologists, Bourdieu reduces Marxism to Marx and, thus, never engages such figures as Lukács, members of the Frankfurt School, Beauvoir, Fanon, Freire and above all Gramsci, all of whom address the question of cultural domination. In this lecture I develop the comparison of Bourdieu and Gramsci, starting out from the difference between symbolic domination and hegemony that entails further contrasts: between the field of power and civil society; classification struggle and class struggle; academic and subaltern theories of knowledge; and traditional and organic intellectuals.  These divergent perspectives on cultural domination have dramatic implications for the critique of society and what is to be done.

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