All posts tagged agency

  • Bourdieu | Language & Symbolic Power

    Literature review // Bourdieu, Pierre (1991) Language & Symbolic Power. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (38-89)

    Read in Language & Culture class

     First, I want to remind future-Jacklynn how poorly-written this article was. Bourdieu seemed to have a phobia of ending a sentence and would avoid them at all costs. Loved interjections, hated interjections. Take this sentence chosen at random:

    ” What guides linguistic production is not the degree of tension of the market or, more precisely, its degree of formality , defined in the abstract, for any speaker, but rather the relation between a degree of ‘average’ objective tension and a linguistic habitus itself characterized by a particular degree of sensitivity to the tension of the market: or, in other words, it is the anticipation of profits, which can scarcely be called a subjective anticipation since it is the product of the encounter between an objective circumstance, that is, the average probability of success, and an incorporated objectivity, that is, the disposition towards a more or less rigorous evaluation of that probability. ” (81)

    Now just imagine reading 60 pages of that. 

    Anyway, on to the analysis:

    This paper introduced me to many interesting concepts that I can imagine using throughout the class and hopefully in the work I’m doing through my thesis.

    So first, we compared Bourdieu and Saussure and how Bourdieu built off of this background in his work. Saussure, apparently, is now accepted as a more dated theory in linguistics but is important as a foundation. In summary Saussure kind of argued for linguists to focus and study on the dictionary, formal language (lange) instead of the spoken language, the language in use (parole).  With that in mind, Bourdieu definitely explored the parole side of things more in this work.

    “Grammar defines meaning only very partially: it is in relation to a market that the complete determination of the signification of discourse occurs.”  (38)

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