Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action / Edition 1

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Do social classes really exist? Is disinterested action really possible? What do the family, the church, and the intellectual world have in common? Can morality be founded on hypocrisy? What is the “subject” of action? In this new volume, one of France’s foremost social thinkers of our time responds to these major questions and to others, thus tracing the outlines of a work that could be called “Pierre Bourdieu by himself.”
In these texts, the author tries to go to the essential, that is, the most elementary and fundamental, questions. He thereby explains the philosophical principles that have led to his social science research and the idea of the human that guides his choices there. With the lucidity allowed by retrospect, Bourdieu brings out the fundamental theories of his greatest books, notably Outline of a Theory of Practice and The Logic of Practice (Stanford, 1990), and, with an eye to the future, presents the first results of his most recent work on the state, the anthropological moorings of the economy, and male domination.
Bourdieu’s theory is both a philosophy of science dedicated to revealing the objective relations that shape and underpin social life, and a philosophy of action that takes account of agents’ dispositions as well as the structured situations in which they act. This philosophy of action is condensed in a small number of key concepts—habitus, field, capital—and it is defined by the two-way relationship between the objective structures of social fields and the incorporated structures of the habitus.
All in all, this book should be an indispensable introduction to Bourdieu’s work, not only to students and scholars in sociology, anthropology, political science, and philosophy, but throughout the social sciences and humanities generally.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804733632
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 168
  • Sales rank: 1,107,003
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Pierre Bourdieu is Professor of Sociology at the Collège de France. Stanford University Press has published nine other books by Bourdieu, most recently The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field (1996).
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Table of Contents

1 Social Space and Symbolic Space 1
App The "Soviet" Variant and Political Capital 14
2 The New Capital 19
App Social Space and Field of Power 31
3 Rethinking the State: Genesis and Structure of the Bureaucratic Field 35
App The Family Spirit 64
4 Is a Disinterested Act Possible? 75
5 The Economy of Symbolic Goods 92
App Remarks on the Economy of the Church 124
6 The Scholastic Point of View 127
A Paradoxical Foundation of Ethics 141
Index 146
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