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Jonathan Loesberg

Pierre Bourdieu's theoretical project begins--not precisely chronologically, but with an intrinsic logic--as the attempt to formulate a method of sociological and anthropological analysis that mediates between simply reproducing the perceptions of the culture studied and a scientific codification of those perceptions that gives them objective shape, but not a shape that corresponds to anything in the workings of that culture. 1 Driven by the exigencies of that project, Bourdieu has ended up defining a series of concepts and concerns that has recently revivified among literary critics and theorists an interest in the sociology of literature. In particular, most centrally in Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, he has offered a powerful explication of "taste," in all its meanings from choices in art through choices in dress, furniture, and the like, to taste in food, both as a unified subject matter and as a method for producing and reproducing power differences among social classes. 2 In Language and Symbolic Power, he has focused the same analysis on the subject of language, claiming that meaning, both linguistic and literary, depends on the same activities of power and social differentiation. 3 And a series of articles on Flaubert in particular and aesthetics in general-which he promises as a next book--has again discussed aesthetics and aestheticism in nineteenth-century France in terms of the same sociological analysis.

All of these works explicitly contest formal theories of culture, of language, of aesthetics, of literature, with an analysis that argues the main force of these discourses as creating and maintaining hierarchies of power and domination. Bourdieu, himself, talks of this analysis as fundamentally transgressive, remarking in the English language preface to Distinction that, "although the book transgresses one of the fundamental taboos of the intellectual world, in relating intellectual products and producers to their social conditions of existence--and also, no doubt, because it does so--it cannot entirely ignore or defy the laws of academic or intellectual propriety which condemn as barbarous any attempt to treat culture, that present incarnation of the sacred, as an object of science" (D, xiii). This claim to transgress is fairly absurd. Bourdieu's project is surely now a central one in literary studies. But the claim of his analyses upon our attention is not the novelty of thinking that literature, canon formation, [End Page 1033] culture and language have some connection to the manifestation of social power, rather the methods he has given for articulating that connection more clearly. Bourdieu, in other words, has said with theoretical detail and precision, something that literary critics have been looking for a way of saying for some time.

In working out the connections among the various aspects of Bourdieu's theories in this essay, I do not really want to dispute this central sociological claim in the service of some reformulated formalism. Rather, I want to look at its dependence upon another aspect of my title, not the sociological analysis of aesthetics, but the kind of sociological analysis that aesthetics produces. Without trying to trump Bourdieu by showing that he reproduces the aesthetics he ostensibly contests, I will argue that at crucial moments, at the moments in which he most pointedly moves from the anthropological to the literary and in which he most clearly leads to the uses literary critics have made of him, hedeploys the aesthetics he simultaneously analyzes. This dependence shows not some formalist problem of infinite reflection, but rather that the politics critics want from Bourdieu's analysis of culture can only be fully outlined through an analysis of the sociology that determines the turn to such discourse, an analysis that like Bourdieu's is simultaneously aesthetic and sociological.

Both Bourdieu's argument about how culture works and the mode of analysis he applies to culture and aesthetics to make that argument have their roots in the theory of practice that he opposes to anthropological structuralism. To understand the basis of Bourdieu's cultural concerns, then, we must first understand the goal of that theory. He begins by proposing three modes of knowledge of the social world, which exist in a dialectical relationship with each other. The first form, which he variously calls primary or phenomenological, "sets out to make explicit the truth of primary experience of the social world, i.e. all that is inscribed in the relationship of familiarity with the familiar environment, the unquestioning apprehension of the social world which, by definition, does not reflect on itself and excludes the question of the conditions of its own possibility" (O, 3). This mode of knowing is the experience that participants of a particular social world have of it. It is neither available to an observer, since he does not know as a participant, nor describable by a participant without his ceasing to experience it as a participant: "One cannot really live the belief associated with profoundly different conditions of existence, that is, with other games and other stakes, still less give others the means of reliving it by the sheer power of discourse" (L, 68 ). Effectively, this primary knowledge creates the subject for research and discourse, [End Page 1034] but it has no other relationship to theoretical or anthropological knowledge, either as goal or as method.

The structuralism that Bourdieu spends most of his theory criticizing, he nevertheless sees as providing a necessary beginning to anthropological knowledge: it is "a necessary moment in all research" because of "the break with primary experience and the construction of objective relations which it accomplishes" (O, 72). Structuralism, which Bourdieu also calls objectivism, accomplishes this break by abandoning the impossible task of reproducing primary experience for a description of the connections and relations among the practices it observes without experiencing: "The philosophical glosses which, for a time, surrounded structuralism have neglected and concealed what really constituted its essential novelty--the introduction into the social sciences of the structural method or, more simply, of the relational mode of thought which, by breaking with the substantialist mode of thought, leads one to characterize each element by the relationships which unite it with all others in a system" (L, 4). And Bourdieu never abandons the task of describing relations. His dissatisfaction with structuralism pertains to the status of the relations and structures it posits.

Essentially, for Bourdieu, structuralism falters because it produces the structures it uses to explain experiences and practices with an attention to logical relationship that has no connection with the rules that actually produce practice. The relations structuralism proposes come from outside practice: "The `grouping of factual material' performed by the diagram is in itself an act of construction, indeed an act of interpretation... the difficulty was made all the greater by the fact that interpretation cannot put forward any other proof of its truth than its capacity to account for the totality of the facts in a completely coherent way" (L, 10-11). In effect, diagrams and logical structures provide coherence to a mass of primary experiences but nothing shows that the coherence determines how the practices occur. They are external superimpositions, designed to comprehend, but with nothing that shows the comprehension to be other than an interpretive construct.

But Bourdieu argues objectivism's arbitrariness from more than the mere fact of its structures' externality. The structures and diagrams proposed derive from a logic that in principle has no connection to practices they structure:

In contrast to logic, a mode of thought that works by making explicit the work of thought, practice excludes all formal concerns. Reflexive [End Page 1035] attention to action itself, when it occurs (almost invariably only when the automatisms have broken down), remains subordinate to the pursuit of the result and to the search (not necessarily perceived in this way) for maximum effectiveness of the effort expended. So it has nothing in common with the aim of explaining how the result has been achieved, still less of seeking to understand (for understanding's sake) the logic of practice, which flouts logical logic. (L, 91)

Because an agent engaging in a practice has no interest in a formal explanation of that practice but merely in "maximum effectiveness of the effort expended," any formal explanation simply cannot correspond to anything within the practice that produces it or determines its shape. Even a subconscious design or motivation, still could not correspond to the kinds of formal diagrams structuralism proposes, because the rules that govern practice simply do not follow formal logic, "logical logic." 4 We seem to have reached a familiar impasse for which relativist critics of claims to objective knowledge have shown considerable fondness. On the one hand, one cannot describe primary experience and still convey the feeling that makes it primary. On the other, the descriptions one can offer lack accuracy precisely because, lacking the feeling of primariness, they do not correspond to primary experience. 5

Refusing to abandon structuralism's turn to relation and connection, Bourdieu must define a mode of describing these relations and rules that neither imposes them from the outside nor turns from the actual working of practice toward a formalism imposed by its own logic. He wants then a description that both accepts its separateness from primary experience, that provides objective explanations, but whose explanations in fact explain the rules that govern a practice as it is engaged in. Practice, he argues, follows no formal rules of logic, flouts logical logic, but it does have certain kinds of systemic regularities that agents follow, even if unconsciously. Bourdieu's theory of a Logic of Practice describes what such regularities look like, how one generates them, how they differ from the rules of structuralism. One can get an idea of the difference between the regularities of structuralism and the practical logic that his theory tries to articulate in a moment in which Bourdieu sums up the differences between structuralism's theories of kinship and marriage and his own:

This takes us a long way from the pure--infinitely impoverished- of the `rules of marriage' and `the elementary structures of kinship'. Having defined the system of principles from which the agents are able to produce (and understand) regulated, regular matri- monial practices, we could use statistical analysis of the relevant [End Page 1036] information to establish the weight of the corresponding structural or individual variables. In fact, the important thing is that the agents' practice becomes intelligible as soon as one is able to construct the system of principles that they put into practice when they immediately identify the socio-logically matchable individuals in a given state of the matrimonial market; or, more precisely, when, for a particular man, they designate for example the few women within practical kinship who are in a sense promised to him, and those whom he might at a stretch be permitted to marry. (L, 199)

In other words, when one knows how an agent knows who he might marry and how he might make his choices, one can describe the system of principles he uses unaware that actually guide his practice. This sounds more different from structuralism than perhaps it actually is. The principles Bourdieu proposes involve the homologies, symmetrics and transferences familiar to reader's of structural diagrams, either anthropological or literary critical. Bourdieu certainly describes his subjects with greater specificity and refers more to particular situations. The externality of structuralism, though, results not from its abstractness but from its formalism. And specificity of reference does not reduce the formalism of principles.

The real difference between Bourdieu's logic and structuralism's lies in the concepts and methods Bourdieu develops that allow him to produce the regularities he defines. These ideas and practices have not only been those that have influenced literary critics, but also they are, I will argue, permeated by aesthetic modes of interpretation and evaluation. In this light, Bourdieu's turn from marriage and kinship structures to the topics of culture and aesthetics becomes comprehensible not merely as a contingency in his intellectual development but as an absolutely logical development in his practice. If he can produce a sociology of aesthetics, if he can comprehend aesthetics within a sociological explanation, then the aesthetics that permeates his key anthropological concepts and ideas will be contained within the sociology of that larger practice. I will detail the aesthetic elements in Bourdieu's concepts of the habitus and of symbolic capital, and in each case, will argue the potential destructiveness for the task of analyzing the sociology of aesthetics in the dependence of these concepts on aesthetics. I will then show how the project of containing culture and aesthetics within a larger sociology both recuperates the aesthetics of his practice but also finally comes to rest in a process that enacts both sociological and aesthetic analysis simultaneously. Finally, I think, an analysis of Bourdieu's project shows that one can see the politics of aesthetics only by accepting the aesthetic quality of that project. [End Page 1037]

Bourdieu's definition of the habitus practically designs the concept for use by literary and cultural critics. Like Foucault's discursive formation or Jameson's structurally articulable political unconscious, it proposes structures that determine individual action, thus allowing the political analysis of language, works of art and cultural institutions without necessary reference to the beliefs or awareness of specific individuals caught up in those larger structures. As with the opposition between his logic of practice and structuralism's logic, though, Bourdieu insists on the specific, unformal element of the habitus:

The conditions associated with a particular class of conditions of existence produce habitus, systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures predisposed to function as structuring struc- tures, that is, as principles which generate and organize practices and representations that can be objectively adapted to their outcomes without presupposing a conscious aiming at ends or an express mastery of the operations necessary in order to attain them. Objectively `regu and `regular' without being in any way the product of obedience to rules, they can be collectively orchestrated without being the prod of the organizing action of a conductor. (L, 53)

The habitus is thus a system that generates action, but does not correspond to any definable rules. The actions it produces have regularity but the regularity has no external shape; thus the activity has orchestration but no conductor. Because the habitus regulates very specific, practical choices of individual agents, and because it corresponds much more closely to the specificity of the historical or social situations it analyzes than do more overarching concepts such as the discursive formation, it is clearly attractive to historicist literary critics or literary critics of ideology and culture. The habitus seems to describe just the kind of concrete detail that frequently elicits literary or cultural interest. Thus Toril Moi praises Bourdieu precisely for the potential specificity of his explanations: "Bourdieu's originality is to be found in his development of what one might call a microtheory of social power. Where Gramsci will give us a general theory of the impositions of hegemony, Bourdieu will show exactly how one can analyze teachers' comments on student papers, rules for examinations and students' choices of different subjects in order to trace the specific and practical construction and implementation of a hegemonic ideology. 6

But literary critics may be comfortable deploying the concept of the habitus for historical and sociological analysis, as much because its working is thoroughly familiar as because of the greater specificity of analysis it [End Page 1038] allows. The habitus in fact constructs the field in which practice occurs and is read as that most familiar of literary objects, the organic whole that operates purposively without purpose:

In other words, if one fails to recognize any form of action other than rational action or mechanical reaction, it is impossible to understand the logic of all the actions, that are reasonable, without being the product of a reasoned design, still less of rational calculation; informed by a kind of objective finality without being consciously organized in relation to an explicitly constituted end; intelligible and coherent without springing from an intention of coherence and a deliberate decision; adjusted to the future without being the product of a project or a plan. (L, 51)

"Finality" and "end," are the French renderings of the words in Kant's Critique of Judgment that get translated in English as "purposiveness" and "purpose." 7 Thus "informed by a kind of objective finality without being consciously organized in relation to an explicitly constituted end" comes fairly close to Kant's definition of beauty as "the form of purposiveness of an object, so far as this is perceived in it without any representation of a purpose." And the final clause above virtually paraphrases Kant's application of the aesthetic judgment to the perception of nature as having a teleology that is neither mechanical nor intended, but simply part of its internal constitution. 8 The habitus, creating of practice an orchestrated activity without a conductor, makes of it an aesthetic object, readable by the same interpretive methods. Indeed, the logic of practice as constructed by the habitus, finally, distinguishes itself from the rules of structuralism in terms of the artistry of its patterning: "The coherence without apparent intention and the unity without an immediately visible unifying principle of all the cultural realities that are informed by aquasi-natural logic (is this not what makes the `eternal charm of Greek art' that Marx refers to?) are the product of the age-old application of the same schemes of action and perception which, never having been constituted as explicit principles, can only produce an unwilled necessity which is therefore necessarily imperfect but also a little miraculous, and very close in this respect to a work of art" (L, 13). Bourdieu's difficulty in precisely describing the rules for interpreting the logic of practice or for adducing a habitus finally comes down to the aesthetic patterning of the practice by the habitus. One does not recognize such patterns scientifically. But, then, literary critics might not normally feel that as a difficulty.

Despite the difficulty of describing the concept of the habitus precisely, [End Page 1039] it functions centrally in Bourdieu's argument in the way that Kant's concept of aesthetic disinterestedness functions, sociologically, as mode of distinguishing dominating from dominated classes. And this significance makes its own aesthetic patterning at least somewhat ironic. The core argument of Distinction against Kant is twofold. First, one finds Kant's criterion of disinterestedness only in the aesthetic ideas of the elite: "When one sets about reconstructing its logic, the popular `aesthetic' appears as the negative opposite of the Kantian aesthetic... the popular ethos implicitly answers each proposition of the `Analytic of the Beautiful' with a thesis contradicting it" (D, 41). But, second, the popular aesthetic, which affirms the importance that art appeal to pleasure and moral interest, does not merely oppose an elite aesthetic. That elite aesthetic uses the internal difference that disinterest creates between art and everything else to create a social distinction: "It should not be thought that the relationship of distinction (which may or may not imply the conscious intention of distinguishing oneself from common people) is only an incidental component in the aesthetic disposition. The pure gaze implies a break with the ordinary attitude towards the world which, as such, is a social break" (D, 31). In other words, regardless of the intention of the individual, the elite experience of perceptual disinterest, as taught by Kantian aesthetics, creates the experience of social distinction. But a theoretical difference between two aesthetics (the difference being one's affirmation of difference, the other's denial of it) could only function as an experience of social difference for those who believed in difference if the theories that each class held were not theories at all but practices determined by habitus (Bourdieu uses the word both as a singular and as a plural).

And indeed, the habitus works in Distinction to allow us to misinterpret learned and acquired aesthetic tastes as natural to us and therefore as creating natural distinctions. The habitus confuses the learned with the natural as part of the way it works, without regard to aesthetics particularly: "The habitus is necessity internalized and converted into a disposition that generates meaningful practices and meaning-giving perceptions; it is a general transposable disposition which carries out a systematic, universal application--beyond the limits of what has been directly learnt--of the necessity inherent in the learning conditions" (D, 170). In effect, the habitus allows us both to think that we have chosen what is necessary to us and to think that what we have learned is actually natural to us. When this transformation determines our modes of living in the general area of taste as well as the specific area of aesthetic taste, it allows us to misinterpret acquired tastes as primary, experiential preferences: [End Page 1040] "Even in the classroom, the dominant definition of the legitimate way of appropriating culture and works of art favours those who have had early access to legitimate culture, in a cultured household, outside of scholastic disciplines, since even within the educational system it devalues scholarly knowledge and interpretation as `scholastic' or even `pedantic' in favour of direct experience and simple delight" (D, 2). Thus the political effect that arises from the way the habitus constructs the aesthetic: early experience of "legitimate culture" occurs in the dominating classes and with it the sense of the aesthetic as a natural pleasure. Consequently one can distinguish one class from another in terms of its greater possession of this more elite natural pleasure.

The aesthetic shape of the habitus has a devastating implication for this argument, if one takes it seriously. Bourdieu has been arguing that the Kantian aesthetic of disinterest is, on the one hand, simply a taste of the elite and on the other a social tool of domination, and that a taste inherent in a single class gets transformed into a tool that distinguishes classes because of the way the habitus makes over the learned into the natural. But if the habitus in general works according to the rules of the aesthetic, having purposiveness without purpose and the coherence and unity of works of art (Kant defines all of this integral shaping as the way that artistic perception is separate from pleasure or moral judgment and therefore disinterested), then the preference of the dominating classes for a Kantian experience of the aesthetic is not a simple class preference constructed by the habitus. A Kantian aesthetic allows one to recognize the larger shaping forces of society and thus to write the work that seemingly questions that aesthetic. At the moment of placing the aesthetic as a political force, he deploys its most characteristic distinguishing acts of interpretation. One critic has argued that Bourdieu's is a "project which from the outset has necessitated an unequivocal negation of all idealist conceptions of art." 9 This negation does not seem to have stopped him, however, from having artistic conceptions at the outset.

Perhaps even more important to the literary critical deployment of Bourdieu's theories is his concept of symbolic capital and the related idea of symbolic power. 10 Like the idea of the habitus, this idea has clear value for sociological analyses of literary works and history. One may circumvent the debate over whether economic or historical explanations of literary works and forms ever succeed in comprehending their subjects or whether there will always be something in excess of the economic, the sociological or the historic that constitutes the literary, by redescribing that excess, in its very aesthetic purity, as embodying a symbolic capital, distributing a symbolic power. According to one definition, despite its [End Page 1041] label, symbolic capital does not, unlike the habitus, operate in a particularly literary way. Symbols--linguistic, literary and cultural--simply get exchanged in a way analogous to economic exchange, and dependent upon economic value or some other manifestation of material base, for their working. Working with Bourdieu's early explanation in Outline of a Theory of Practice, for instance, one article distinguishes between the working of symbolic power and capital and what Bourdieu calls the "economism" of Marxism in this way:

The classical Marxist tradition emphasises the political functions of symbolic systems, and explains the connections between these systems in the interests of the dominant class, and the problem of false con in thedominated classes. From Bourdieu's perspective this approach tends to reduce power relations to relations of communica- tion. The real political function which he sees symbolic systems as fulfilling is their attempt to legitimate domination by the imposition of the `correct' and `legitimate' definition of the social world. 11

Here, classical Marxists describe symbolic systems essentially in terms of their propaganda value, while Bourdieu sees them as more powerfully creating a social space in which the interests of the dominant class get legitimated for everyone. Still these systems finally function to legitimate some power structure that lies beneath their symbolism and gives it its power. They exist in an homologous or an analogous relation to the power--still essentially economic--that they legitimate.

Bourdieu frequently does use the concept in this way, and to great effect. Arguing that language has a symbolic power in excess of its power to communicate, for instance, Bourdieu contends that "utterances are not only (save in exceptional circumstances) signs to be understood and deciphered; they are also signs of wealth, intended to be evaluated and appreciated, and signs of authority, intended to be believed and obeyed" (LSP, 66). And he further contends that language's communicative power frequently depends upon the authority and wealth it also signifies. Discussing the dependence of felicity in J. L. Austin's theory of performative speech on institutions of social power and hierarchy, he remarks that "only a hopeless soldier (or a `pure' linguist) could imagine that it was possible to give his captain an order. The performative utterance implies `an overt claim to possess such or such power', a claim that is more or less recognized and therefore more or less sanctioned socially" (LSP, 75). As long as behind the symbolic power of symbolic capital is some real power (usually in some definable relation to real capital), this method works quite well and provides suggestive explanations of certain kinds of [End Page 1042] cultural and stylistic effects. Bourdieu's explanation of the political significance of Heidegger's style avoids the usual discussions of the connection between his philosophy and his Nazism by noting that Heidegger's importance to the field of philosophy, in the first instance, related to a seemingly absolute split between what a text said and its simplest meaning. This split may have discouraged any consideration of political significance of what was said, but its form enacted another kind of political effect:

For academic logocentrism, whose limit is set by the verbal fetishism of Heideggerian philosophy--the philo-logical philosophy par ex is good form which makes good sense. The truth of the relation between philosophical aristocratism (the supreme form of academic aristocratism) and any other type of aristocratism--including the authentically aristocratic aristocratism of the Junkers and their spokespersons--is expressed in the imposition of form and the prohi- bition against any kind of `reductionism', that is, against any destruc- tion of form aimed at restoring discourse to its simplest expression and, in so doing, to the social conditions of its production. (LSP, 151)

Heidegger's style, by its refusal of social relevance, its insistence on an integral form as its value, validates a professional class of philosophers whose privilege in understanding Heidegger is analogous, in its philosophical aristocratism, to an "authentically aristocratic aristocratism." Bourdieu even goeson to explain the role of this academic aristocratism of philosophy for its practitioners in terms of their class background: "The petit-bourgeois elitism of this `cream' of the professorial body constituted by philosophy professors (who have often come from the lower strata of the petite bourgeoisie and who, by their academic prowess, have conquered the peaks of the hierarchy of humanist disciplines to reach the topmost ivory tower of the educational system, high above the world and any worldly power) could hardly fail to resonate harmoniously with Heidegger's thought" (157-58). In effect, Heidegger's style receives symbolic power from its ability to validate the professionalism of academic philosophy. And the validation has value because it marks the academic arrival of its practitioners into an elite (even if only an academic elite) class that they, as petite-bourgeoisie, have striven to occupy. Symbolic power, defined this way, must always be referred to some more "authentic" power.

Except to the extent that any analogical concept operates through figurative transfer, the concept of symbolic capital is not yet particularly literary or aesthetic--no more so, at any rate, than any other analogy. Its explanatory power, in fact, rests on its separation from the literary, its [End Page 1043] establishment of a ground beneath the linguistic or the stylistic that gives them value and power. By the same token, though, and for that reason, this version of symbolic capital does not manage to resolve the aesthetic into the social or the historical. All that Bourdieu says about the social significances of the linguistic, the literary, the stylistic, could be true and their value could still be constituted by some pure aesthetic content. Thus a reviewer ends a fairly favorable account of Distinction with the following complaint: "The assertion that aesthetic discrimination rests upon principles of social inclusion and exclusion in no way logically discounts the possibility of justifying universal norms of aesthetic appreciation." 12

Perhaps more importantly, this definition of symbolic capital cannot explain the working of culture or art when they cease to align themselves directly with economic or power benefits for which they can thus no longer be cashed in. Because Bourdieu wants precisely to explain that which seems to indicate the pure aesthetic, he is drawn to explain its definition sociologically in terms of symbolic power. But these explanations soon lead to a covert recreation of an intrinsic aesthetic value. For instance, Bourdieu explains the aesthetic disposition of disinterest generally in terms of its dependence upon a space freed from economic need; thus experiencing aesthetic disinterest will coincide with having the economic means to do so. But he also realizes that the aesthetic thus exists in a certain opposition to the concept, at least, of economic power. Thus a purer engagement in aesthetics become a way of claiming freedom from an economic domination that is part of one's field:

It is not surprising that bourgeois adolescents, who are both economi- cally privileged and (temporarily) excluded from the reality of eco- nomic power, sometimes express their distance from the bourgeois world which they cannot really appropriate by a refusal of complicity whose most refined expression is a propensity towards aesthetics and aestheticism. Tn this respect they share common ground with the women of the bourgeoisie, who, being partially excluded from eco- nomic activity, find fulfilment in stage-managing the decor of bour- geois existence, when they are not seeking refuge or refuge in aesthet- ics. (D, 55)

His explanation for the resistance of artists to comprehension even by upper-class patrons (228-29) and for the split at the upper registers of the dominant class between those with relatively high cultural capital and relatively low economic capital--teachers for instance--and those with relatively higher economic capital and relatively lower cultural capital-members of the professions--follows the same pattern (283-95). In each [End Page 1044] case, the cultural becomes an intrinsic value in terms of its opposition to economic domination.

But where does the symbolic power of cultural capital come from in this situation? Originally, the ability of culture to distinguish expressed its power by distinguishing the economically privileged, who had the leisure for obtaining cultural capital. But since its distinction can no longer be cashed in for economic privilege or political power (its value now belongs to relatively dominated groups: adolescents, women, teachers), it must inhere in the pure power either of the aesthetic or of distinction itself (which comes to the same thing if, as we have seen, the aesthetic is defined by the internal distinguishing power of disinterest). If Bourdieu ascribes to a thorough relativizing of cultural and aesthetic tastes, he can no longer explain the odd effects that occur when aesthetics becomes an activity that resists economic benefit (and the very theoretical comprehensiveness of his sociological aims forces his attention to these moments). But if on the other hand, he allows even the act of distinction that aesthetics enables to become a value that cannot be cashed in, he seems to have simply produced a new version of an intrinsic aesthetics. 13

Bourdieu's later definitions of symbolic capital solve this problem with regard to aesthetics by making symbolic transfer itself the grounding act of value (of which economic transfer is merely another version). Once one does not have to cash in symbolic capital to see its value, an analysis of aesthetics that analogizes its activities to the workings of economic capital becomes sufficient indication of its sociological effect. To escape economism as the ground of symbolic capitalism, Bourdieu argues the greater extension of uneconomic practices of exchange, making symbolic capital the larger category, of which economic capital is but one part. He argues that "economism is a form of ethnocentrism" (L, 112) because it treats all economics, even pre-capitalist ones, as if they were explicable in terms of capitalist economics. But such economic explanations often simply cannot comprehend how some exchanges work: "In the work reproducing established relations--feasts, ceremonies, exchange of gifts, visits or courtesies and, above all, marriages--which is no less vital to the existence of the group than the reproduction of the economic bases of its existence, the labour required to conceal the function of the exchanges is as important as the labour needed to perform this function" (L, 112). A labor that conceals the function of an exchange cannot of course be exchanged without the concealment being reified and thus undone. In such exchanges, the value can only occur if the basic economic exchange involving labor cannot occur. In order to create the value, a seemingly [End Page 1045] extraneous act of labor must occur, one that the value cannot reduce to but must depend on. Accordingly, Bourdieu can argue the priority of symbolic capital to economic capital in these terms:

In an economy which is defined by the refusal to recognize the `objective' truth of `economic' practices, that is, the law of `naked self and egoistic calculation, even `economic' capital cannot act unless it succeeds in being recognized through a conversion that can render unrecognizable the true principle of its efficacy. Symbolic capital is this denied capital, recognized as legitimate, that is, mis as capital. (L, 118)

Symbolic capital, then, is not merely a symbol for economic capital but the capital that exists when economic interests are denied or negated. This negation can occur in a pre-capitalist economy. But it can also occur in a capitalist economy when agents resist economic interests. Finally, capital per se amounts to the value that motivates any conversion, whether economic exchange or the disguise of economic exchange. One might argue that disguise is always a form of exchange, but this would be true only if exchange were always a form of disguise. From this perspective, then, capital just is symbolic.

Although this version of symbolic capital may remove any standpoint outside the misrecognized symbolic exchange from which to mount a straightforward political critique, it also removes the problem that in certain circumstances, one cannot cash in the symbolic or cultural capital of an aesthetic position to ground its value in some outside power. 14 After all, what need has one to cash in a symbol if the symbolic capital creates the relations of power and value in exchange rather than merely representing them. By accepting metaphoric transfer fully at the conceptual level of his theory, then, Bourdieu resolves the problems in his sociological analysis of the practice of aesthetics.

One can see this resolution at work most clearly in his recent discussions of Flaubert and the development of the concept of a pure art. Bourdieu posits three groups of writers in what he calls "the literary field" of mid-nineteenth-century France. The first of these, "the advocates of social art," demanded that literature fulfill a social or political function. For them, the value of art cashes in fairly easily in terms of the value of the political position it espouses. The second group, "the representatives of `bourgeois' art," wrote "in a genre that presupposed immediate communication between author and public and assured these writers not only significant material benefits... but also all the tokens of success in the bourgeois world." 15 This group presents even fewer sociological problems [End Page 1046] because their art cashes in for cash. The third group, however, seems to recreate the problems of evaluating an aesthetic that resists the forces that might give it sociological value:

The writers located outside these two opposing positions gradually invented what was called "art for art's sake." Rather than a position ready for the taking, it was a position to make. Although it existed potentially within the space of existing positions, its occupants had to invent, against the established positions and against their occupants, everything that distinguished their position from all the others. They had to invent the social personage without precedent--the modern artist, full-time professional, dedicated to his work, indifferent to the exigencies of politics as to the injunctions of morality, and recognizing no jurisdiction other than the specific norm of art. (F, 551)

Bourdieu also describes the ways the occupants of this group created internal sanctions and rewards, analogous to other social sanctions and rewards, but determined by a negating resistance to them. 16

The questions asked above of a similar analysis in Distinction of the role of aesthetics for marginalized groups within the dominating class do not quite evaporate in the light of the more central position given to symbolic capital, but they become local and historically specific rather than theoretical. We might still wonder why artists gave up the calculable social rewards available to bourgeois writers for the less evident rewards of prestige within asocially marginal group, or why the larger society proceeded to grant respect to that group by endowing their negations of surrounding social values with various kinds of institutional verifications of their status as a profession. But these are empirical questions about how an event occurred. In terms of what this group of artists does, their actions do not amount to exchange and creation of capital in terms of some incalculable analogy to economic capital and exchange. Rather, the activities the group engages in just constitute the value-creating activities of exchange and disguised exchange that found all capital. It may be that, in creating this socially definable group, artists must also create an object to which their immediate relation is one of disinterest, but if the purpose of that relation is to allow one to enter into a larger system of exchanges, then a full description of aesthetic activity has to comprehend various sociological interests.

Again, Bourdieu validates his sociological analysis of culture and aesthetics by accepting a certain aesthetic status for the tools of his analysis. His field reversal whereby symbolic capital, instead of being a specialized metaphorical version of economic capital, becomes the general category [End Page 1047] of which economic capital is a subset, re-enacts an almost archetypal deconstructive maneuver with the categories of literary and philosophical language. 17 Above, the aesthetic status of the habitus suggested that the aesthetic sensibilities of the elite class correspond in a confirming way to the ground from which the sociological analysis is performed. Here, the affirmation of a constituting symbolism to exchange, though it shows the interest in the symbolic investments that created the aestheticized art object, does so by creating a grounding space which, while not precisely interest free, cannot be calculated in terms of any form of external interest. Again, to place art and culture sociologically, Bourdieu has first aestheticized his sociology.

I do not mean, in the above analysis of the aesthetic bases of the habitus and of symbolic capital, to suggest an aesthetic reading of Bourdieu's sociology in order to capture it in some more generalized formalism. The rupture with that formalism occurs with what I take to be Bourdieu's most completely aesthetic, theoretical maneuver: the self-reflexive turn in his theory that both changed the content of his research from anthropological case studies to studies of the mores of academics and changed the concern of his theories more relentlessly toward cultural and aesthetic topics. Before delineating Bourdieu's reflexiveness in particular, though, I need to justify my claim that the gesture is a particularly aesthetic--even Kantian--one. Contemporary philosophy and literary criticism almost takes reflexiveness for granted as a defining literary moment. But since Bourdieu stands in a relation of bracing skeptical analysis to figures like Foucault and Derrida, who centralize interpretations of a painting of reflections or a poem by Mallarmé, we cannot assume their identification of reflexiveness with art as authoritative, even if his reflexiveness reproduces just these moments of their philosophy, thus making more complex his skepticism.

But if reflexiveness constitutes the inaugurating moment of Kant's Critique of Judgment, the aesthetic theory Bourdieu so persistently attempts to undo, perhaps Bourdieu's own reflexiveness may be seen in the same aesthetic light as the habitus and symbolic exchange. At first, Kant's definition of the role of judgment as a faculty which, having been given universal laws by other faculties, sorts particulars under those laws, makes it a distinctly subordinate and instrumental power. He concludes this opening definition with a sentence that changes this subordination: "But if only the particular be given for which the universal has to be found, the judgment is merely reflective." 18 This reflection is not yet really reflexiveness. It is qualified as mere because it is opposed to the determinations that the judgment that subsumes particulars under known universals [End Page 1048] exercises. It is merely the characterization of the mental act that extrapolates a universal from a particular in order to explain it.

Kant's definition of the reflexive judgment, however, makes clear both that his critique of judgment is an act of judgment and that the judgment that judges aesthetics does so by a law that is in the first instance aesthetic:

The reflective judgment, which is obliged to ascend from the particu- lar in nature to the universal, requires on that account a principle that it cannot borrow from experience, because its function is to establish the unity of all empirical principles under higher ones, and hence to establish the possibility of their systematic subordination. Such a transcendental principal, then, the reflective judgment can only give as a law from and to itself. It cannot derive it from outside (because then it would be the determinant judgment); nor can it prescribe it to nature because reflection upon the laws of nature adjusts itself by nature, and not nature by the conditions according to which we attempt to arrive at a concept of it which is quite contingent in respect of nature. 19

Unsurprisingly, the law the reflexive nature gives to itself is one that judges particulars in terms of a unity given to them neither by an a priori understanding nor by any actual knowledge of natural law, but as inherent in their appearance. But the particulars that Kant talks of might well be first the experience of beauty and then, more generally, the experience of teleology in nature--the topics of The Critique of Judgment. Neither of these have any universal laws that apply to them that could be given either by the pure reason, which cannot make any determinations about the natural world, or by the understanding, whose determinations about the natural world are never transcendental. Thus to determine their universal laws must be an act of the reflexive judgment, extrapolating universal laws from empirical particulars through the one transcendental principle given here.

Kant, of course, did not mean this reflexiveness to be a self-justifying and self-contained pleasure. The Critique of Judgment means to provide a crucial transition between the understanding's knowledge of natural law and the Reason's articulation of moral laws. 20 In this sense, he provides us with the opening logic for Bourdieu's own insistence on self-reflection. Both of Bourdieu's most explicitly theoretical books, Outline of a Theory of Practice and The Logic of Practice, present themselves as reflections upon past versions of their own theories and of Bourdieu's researches. And they do so because they insist that the route from objectivism to an understanding of the logic of practice goes through a reflection upon one's [End Page 1049] own practice. The Outline opens with the claim that an anthropologist can only exit objectivism by first realizing how his own role as anthropologist both enables and necessitates that stance (O, 1-2). In other words, the first practice the anthropologist must understand in order to understand practice truly is his own. The later Logic of Practice generalizes this situation into a philosophical rule:

This critical reflexion on the limits of theoretical understanding is not intended to discredit theoretical knowledge in one or another of its forms and, as is often attempted, to set in its place a more or less idealized practical knowledge; but rather to give it a solid basis by freeing it from the distortions arising from the epistemological and social conditions of its production. It has nothing in common with the aim of rehabilitation, which has misled most discourse on practice; it aims simply to bring to light the theory of practice which theoretical knowledge implicitly applies. (L, 27)

Neither merely negative, moving from reflection to skepticism, nor naively positive, moving from reflection on skepticism to a recuperated positive knowledge, Bourdieu's reflection reproduces his theory of practice by extrapolating the theory from its own practice. Thus Bourdieu insists both on reflecting on his own role as researcher and on thinking that that reflection will describe both the practice of such a role and the theory of how to elucidate such practices.

What the reflection has to say about the sociology of its own practice begins, for Bourdieu, in the consideration of the system that produces that practice, the French educational system. Quite early in his career, as part of thinking about his own role as a French observer of social practices in the one-time French colony of Algeria, Bourdieu turned his focus to the educational system that was the field of his own practice. This research led to two conclusions, one about the system, one about what might be called the habitus of the students and professors within it. First Bourdieu found that even within the French educational system, ostensibly rigorously structured along meritocratic lines, social origin consistently predicted educational success: "Social origin is doubtless the one whose influence bears most strongly on the student world, more strongly, at any rate, than sex or age, and certainly more than any other clearly perceived factor, such as religious affiliation." 21 This conclusion should not surprise anyone who has discussed the make-up of the student body in the United States educational system. Bourdieu, though, unlike many critics in the United States, while not objecting to programs that equalized access across social classes, does not think such programs will particularly [End Page 1050] change anything: "The mechanisms which ensure the elimination of working-class and lower-middle-class children would operate almost as efficiently (but more discreetly) in a situation in which a systematic policy of providing scholarships or grants made subjects from all social classes formally equal vis-\210-vis education" (I, 27).

What mechanisms work so surely that direct action on access to the system would be ineffectual? To answer this question, one has to turn to Bourdieu's second conclusion regarding the less empirically calculable issue of what cultural and intellectual practices produce success in the academic world. Here Bourdieu argues that the instrumentality that defines the roles of both the students and the professors, combined with the impossibility of recognizing that instrumentality and still performing the activities that enable its work, produce the particular practices in the educational field. In other words, in one obvious sense, "to be a student is to prepare oneself by study for an occupational future" (I, 56). But if students acted as if this were the case, "the professor's occupational task would then become merely an aspect of an occupational project of which he is no longer the master and whose full significance lies beyond him" (I, 58). The result is a double mystification: first students see their own principle activity as a kind of self-creation that can be enacted only by rejecting anything that might constrain that creation by suggesting that choice is not absolutely free: "The aspiration to create and choose oneself does not impose a determinate behavior, but only a symbolic use of behavior intended to signify that this behavior has been chosen" (I, 38). In addition to denying the students' own instrumentality, this mystification "enables the teachers to see themselves as masters communicating a total culture by personal gift" (I, 58). Thus students and professors each deny each other's and their own instrumentality by creating practices that distinguish themselves from the surrounding society in terms of an intrinsic concern with creation and culture.

There are three aspects of this conclusion worth noting. First, in one sense, the cultural and intellectual practices of students and professors do not, in fact, result directly from the class-distinguishing effects of the educational system. Even if the system were actually meritocratic, the role of students would still be instrumental, directed at fitting them for their future occupations, and professors would still be, in reality, auxiliary to that role. The double mystification of those roles that constitutes the academic field would still occur. Second, the content of that mystification leads directly to the conclusions of Distinction. The way in which students and professors distinguish themselves from their social roles creates a sense of culture that seconds the class-differentiating activities of the [End Page 1051] educational system as a whole. But because the content of academic intellectual mystification does not result directly from the full sociological role of education, does not simply function as an ideological mask of that role, an academic intellectual may, through reflection on his own practices, see their sociological effects even while he reproduces them. In effect, precisely the intellectual field he describes in both The Inheritors and in Distinction produces the research and the intellectual practices that led to those books, as Bourdieu well realizes.

Bourdieu's implication in the activities he places sociologically may compromise the political freedom of his analysis. One critic remarks that Distinction "would only be likely to be to be read by people situated in the top left corner [the dominated fraction of the dominating class, which is relatively richer in cultural capital than in economic capital]--as a lifestyle token, like the music of Boulez, of the possession of the kind of high cultural capital associated with university professors.... Because La Distinction could not possibly enable non-readers to reflect on the class disposition which ensured that they were nonreaders, it could not fail to be a book about non-readers for readers. 22 But also, because both writer and any reader, coming from the habitus of the university, will enact the distinguishing practices that separate them from non-readers, regardless of their intent to see those practices skeptically, they will still reproduce them. But paradoxically, by accepting that aesthetic presumptions govern one's own practices, one may describe the sociological working of those presumptions fully precisely because the aesthetic practice differs enough from the sociological ends to enable one to see them even as one produces them. If Kant's Critique of Judgment is a judgment on judgment, it is nevertheless a critical judgment on aesthetic judgment, and if this difference does not suffice to create the transcendental ground Kant wants, it works to allow an evaluation of the aesthetics on grounds more than merely that the judgment produced it. In the same way, Bourdieu's aesthetic reflection produces a sociology of aesthetics. If we do not demand transcendental grounds for our sociology, the fact of thereflection will not automatically disable the specific sociological conclusions; indeed as we have seen, it may be necessary to those conclusions.

The situation of Bourdieu's sociology of aesthetics, then, looks something like this. Bourdieu describes a habitus--a cultural or aesthetic field--that deliberately splits itself from social influence or effect, but within which professional interests operate in a sociologically describable, way. Within that field exist art objects whose aestheticization also deliberately drains them of immediate social interest. But the immediate freedom of that object from interest creates its professional interest for those [End Page 1052] who operate within the field. His sociology describes in this way both the political role of Heidegger's style--if we do not cash it in for the empirically questionable analysis of its particular value for the petite bourgeoisie--and the role of art or art's sake for Flaubert. That the tools of analysis--the habitus and symbolic capital--are themselves aestheticized concepts, though, seems to suggest an ultimate ground for aesthetic disinterest. Accepting the reflection in the analysis that produces this sociology as aestheticized, however, recuperates the sociological force of the analysis: by analyzing the sociological roots and effects of disinterested analysis--even the analysis doing the examining--one can attach the sociology back to the analysis that examines even as one accepts the necessity of its claim to an aesthetic disinterest.

This recuperation works, however, only when coupled with the acceptance outlined above, as we can see at moments in which Bourdieu tries to separate himself radically from the analysis he deploys. Distinction, for instance, ends with an attack on Derrida's reading of Kant in The Truth in Painting, an attack whose main interest is in determining its motive. Offering a summary of Derrida's argument that is surprisingly fair within the limits of its own confessed distillation, Bourdieu finds himself constrained to admit that Derrida raises, albeit in a very different stylistic register, many of the questions raised by his own sociological reading. Bourdieu, therefore, ends up simply attacking that style:

Although it marks a sharp break with the ordinary ritual of idolatrous reading, this pure reading still concedes the essential point to the philosophical work. Asking to be treated as it treats its object, i.e., as a work of art making Kant's object its own objective, i.e., cultivated pleasure, cultivating cultivated pleasure, artificially exalting this artifi- cial pleasure by a roue's ultimate refinement which implies a lucid view on this pleasure, it offers above all an exemplary specimen of the pleasure of art, the pleasure of the love of art, of which, like all pleasure, it is not easy to speak. (D, 498)

Since Bourdieu admits that Derrida analyzes the role of pleasure in a way consonant with his own skeptical view of it, his difference with Derrida must be in terms of a stylistic irresponsibility he sees there that can only amount to an indulgence in an elite pleasure, an irresponsibility that his own analysis would escape. But Bourdieu marks the main feature of this indulgence as Derrida's extreme attention to the form of his own argument (D, 495-97 ). This critique is as astonishingly self-consuming as his own elite rejection of the Nouvel Observateur in the light of his own [End Page 1053] obvious stylistic self-consciousness, which he justifies barely ten pages after his critique of Derrida in this way:
There remains one final problem, which would no doubt merit a long discussion: that of writing. The main difficulty, especially on such a subject, is that the language used must signal a break with ordinary experience, which is no less necessary in order to appropriate ade- quately the knowledge produced than to produce it. (D, 509-10)

Bourdieu thus claims that his own stylistic attention is necessary to produce a break, but Derrida's stylistic attention is culpable because, though an intellectual break, it fails to be a social break (D, 496 ). Speaking of his own project, he speaks in the language of awareness that he also quite consciously tries to analyze. Trying to separate himself from his academic competition, however, he targets his analysis in a way that renders his argument self-contradictory.

Finally, my argument about Bourdieu's sociology of aesthetics has, it seems to me, two implications. First its specific practices--definitions of habitus, specifications of symbolic capital and symbolic power--will not result in readings of literature or literary history that will have performed some decisive break with aesthetic evaluations, though such readings may have any number of other local values. But, second, its analysis of the sociology of academic practices, particularly in its most self-aware moments, has much to say about the cultural wars literary professors are currently fighting both with each other, and more recently with our own Nouvel Observateurs. Distinction offers a skeptical glance at culture that certainly offers support for the most skeptical readings of traditional canons and literary evaluations. But the cost of casting that glance is that its skepticism must always be based on the presumptions of the field that constructs the ability to cast it. Traditional canons and readings occupy that field in a close embrace with the analyses that attack them. Only by abandoning the desire to exit that field into a realm from which a pure political attack may be launched, and by doing so as considerably more than a matter of momentary rhetoric carrying with it no larger implications, may one coherently obtain the political implications many of us want from Bourdieu.

The American University


1 To discuss this project, I will use most extensively Bourdieu's The Logic of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1990), a translation of Le Sens Pratique, which came out in France in 1980; hereafter cited as L. This book postdates much of Bourdieu's writing on culture and aesthetics but also returns to some of his earliest anthropological studies. To make chronological matters more complex, it is also explicitly a revision of the theories worked out in Outline of a Theory Practice, trans. Richard Nice (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1977), which revises as much as it translates the original French version, Esquisse d'une Théorie de la Pratique, which came out in France in 1972, well before much of the writing on culture and aesthetics; hereafter, O.

2 Bourdieu's Distinction, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1984) was originally published in France in 1979; hereafter, D.

3 Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power, trans. Gino Raymond and Matthew Adamson, ed. John B. Thompson (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1991); hereafter, LSP. This book translates most of Ce Que Parler Veut Dire, published in France in 1982. But it adds articles published as recently as 1984 and includes articles from the original book that were first published as far back as 1975. Because Bourdieu not only revises books for translation, but fairly constantly revisits old books and articles in more recent books offering newer theoretical articulations, proposing chronological distinctions in his writing is always a fairly arbitrary task. Whether all his topics are as related to each other as he claims, he has effectively made them so in his work by his methods of revision, reinclusion and crossreferencing.

4 I had elided Bourdieu' s early and late versions of his critique here, as well as simplifying it. For a more extensive account as well as an explanation of the evolution from Outline of a Theory of Practice to The Logic of Practice, see Derek Robbins, The Work Of Pierre Bourdieu (Boulder: Westview Press, 1991), chapters 5 and 9.

5 To take a parallel from an entirely different field of criticism, Louis Renza has argued, in "The Veto of the Imagination: A Theory of Autobiography," in Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical, ed. James Olney (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1980), 280, that autobiographies must be fictive, cannot even accurately assert a connection between the writing self and the self being written about, because the text written cannot communicate the most vital aspect of the events described, their pastness, their having been experienced by a past self. One can easily imagine further extensions of such a critique of a text's or description's inability to carry the experience of subjectivity within it.

6 Toril Moi, "Appropriating Bourdieu," New Literary History, 22 (1991): 1019.

7 See the translator's footnotes to Derrida's discussions of this phrase in The Truth in Painting, trans. Geoff Bennington and Ian McLeod (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1987), 51 and 68.

8 For the definition of beauty, see, Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, trans. J. H. Bernard (New York: Hafner, 1951), 73. For the discussion of natural teleology, see 205-7.

9 John Cold, "Making Distinctions: the Eye of the Beholder," in An Introduction to the Work of Pierre Bourdieu: The Practice of Theory, ed. Richard Harker, Cheleen Mahar and Chris Wilkes (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1990), 151.

10 In a review article on Distinction for Diacritics 18 (1988): 47-68, Elizabeth Wilson centralizes that concept in her opening sentence: "In Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, Pierre Bourdieu elaborates a model of symbolic power describing the role of culture in the reproduction of social relations in contemporary France" (47). This description of the book, while certainly not inaccurate, focuses on the social functioning of cultural capital rather than on Bourdieu's attempt to redescribe what aesthetics and taste are, and how that indicates the primary interest of the book for the literary theoretical discussion that will follow.

11 Cheleen Mahar, Richard Harker, Chris Wilkes, "The Basic Theoretical Position," in Harker et al. (note 9), 5.

12 Anthony Giddens, "The Politics of Taste," Partisan Review 53 (1986): 304.

13 Critics who want to give Bourdieu a political power of resistance to the domination of the bourgeoisie through the unmasking of their aesthetic pretensions have particular problems with this aspect of the book. Toril Moi (note 6) quotes a particularly sniffy attack on the egregiously sniffy Nouvel Observateur as an example of Bourdieu's political critique, justifying the obvious self-contradiction of the moment, unpersuasively, by arguing that Bourdieu's lack of power with regard to the Nouvel Observateur removes the contradiction (1026, 1045). It, of course, does not if one wants to take Bourdieu's analysis of elitist aesthetic rhetoric as seriously comprehensive. Thus, in reverse, Elizabeth Wilson (note 10) concludes that Bourdieu's theories lack the ability to effect political intervention precisely because they don't offer modes of judging that are free from his critique of culture and aesthetics (58-60).

14 The emphasis here is on the word "straightforward." One feels an obvious political significance to Bourdieu's project. Bourdieu, however, quite pointedly resists drawing direct political implications. In an interview, his translator Richard Nice has said that "he situates himself outside conventional politics" and that "he's not very political in everyday life" (Cheleen Mahar, "Pierre Bourdieu: The Intellectual Project" in Harker et al (note 9), 53). This reticence, not just in "everyday life" (what would Bourdieu make of that category?), no doubt leads to the frustration of some of his critics discussed in calibrating the critique in Distinction.

15 Bourdieu, "Flaubert s Point of View," Critical Inquiry 14 (1988): 550, hereafter, F.

16 Bourdieu offers an essentially similar position in the more abstractly posed article, "The Historical Genesis of a Pure Aesthetic," in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 46 (1987): 208.

17 Given its concern with inability of philosophy to define metaphor without recourse to metaphor and its concern with the exchanges between metaphoric transfer and economic exchange, Derrida's "White Mythology," in Margins of Philosophy, trans, Alan Bass (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1982), 207-71, becomes an inescapable, if by this time somewhat stereotypical, reference.

18 Kant, Critique (note 8), 15.

19 Kant, 16.

20 I have discussed the crucial role Kant's aesthetics play in his critical philosophy in slightly more detail in Aestheticism and Deconstruction (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1991), 142-45.

21 Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron, The Inheritors: French Students and Their Relation to Culture, trans. Richard Nice (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1979), 8. This book was originally published in France in 1964; hereafter, I.

22 Derek Robbins (note 4), 28-29.

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