Masculine domination is so anchored in our social practices and our unconscious that we hardly perceive it; it is so much in line with our expectations that we find it difficult to call into question. Pierre Bourdieu’s analysis of Kabyle society provides instruments to help us understand the most concealed aspects of the relations between the sexes in our own societies, and to break the bonds of deceptive familiarity that tie us to our own tradition.
Bourdieu analyzes masculine domination as a prime example of symbolic violencethe kind of gentle, invisible, pervasive violence exercised through the everyday practices of social life. To understand this form of domination we must also analyze the social mechanisms and institutionsfamily, school, church, and statethat transform history into nature and eternalize the arbitrary. Only in this way can we open up the possibilities for a kind of political action that can put history in motion again by neutralizing the mechanisms that have naturalized and dehistoricized the relations between the sexes.
This new book by Pierre Bourdieuwhich has been a bestseller in Francewill be essential reading for anyone concerned with questions of gender and sexuality and with the structures that shape our social, political, and personal lives.