The Sociologist in the Strip Club

There’s a wonderful essay in the New Yorker reflecting on Howard Becker’s life and work. Among many other features, it contains a trenchant critique of Bourdieu:

“Bourdieu’ s big idea was the champs, field, and mine was monde, world—what’s the difference?” Becker asks rhetorically. “Bourdieu’s idea of field is kind of mystical. It’s a metaphor from physics. I always imagined it as a zero-sum game being played in a box. The box is full of little things that zing around. And he doesn’t speak about people. He just speaks about forces. There aren’t any people doing anything.” People in Bourdieu’s field are merely atom-like entities. (It was Bourdieu’s vision that helped inspire Michel Houellebecq’s nihilistic novel of the meaningless collisions of modern life, “The Elementary Particles.”)

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/01/12/outside-game


Categories: Committing Sociology

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