The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.64
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 57%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (10) from $9.64   
  • New (6) from $14.00   
  • Used (4) from $9.64   


Confined in their governmental ivory towers, their actions largely dictated by public opinion polls, politicians and state officials are all too often oblivious to the everyday lives of ordinary citizens. These persons, who often experience so much hardship in their lives, have few ways to make themselves heard and are obliged either to protest outside official frameworks or remain locked in the silence of their despair.

Under the direction of Pierre Bourdieu, France’s foremost sociologist, a team of 22 researchers spent three years studying and analyzing the new forces of social suffering that characterize contemporary societies—the daily suffering of those denied the means of acquiring a socially dignified existence and of those poorly adjusted to the rapidly changing conditions of their lives. Social workers, teachers, policemen, factory workers, white-collar clerks, farmers, artisans, shopkeepers—no one seems to be immune from the frustrations of today’s life, not to speak of the institutions of the family, work, and education.

The book can be read like a series of short stories, which include: a steel worker who was laid off after 20 years and now struggles to support his family on unemployment benefits and a part-time job; a trade unionist who finds his goals undermined by the changing nature of work; a family from Algeria living in a housing tract on the outskirts of Paris who must cope with pervasive forms of racism; and a schoolteacher confronted with urban violence. Reading these stories enables one to register these people’s lives and the forms of social suffering that infuse them.

The original publication of this book was a major social and political event in France, where it topped the best-seller list and triggered a widespread public debate on inequality, politics, and civic solidarity. It offers not only a distinctive method for analyzing social life, but another way of practicing politics.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804738453
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 656
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Pierre Bourdieu was Professor of Sociology at the Collège de France.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Translator's Preface.

To The Reader: Pierre Bourdieu.

The Space of Points of View: Pierre Bourdieu.

Jonquil Street: Pierre Bourdieu.

A Displaced Family: Abdelmalek Sayad.

Everyone in a Place of their Own: Rosine Christin.

The View from the Media: Patrick Champagne.

The Order of Things: Pierre Bourdieu.

An Integrated Family: Patrick Champagne.

A Bad Investment: Gabrielle Balazs.

Renovation: Gabrielle Balazs.

The Last Difference: Patrick Champagne.

Site Effects: Pierre Bourdieu.

America as Social Dystopia: The Politics of Urban Disintegration: Loic Wacquant.

Inside "The Zone": the Social Art of the Hustler in the American Ghetto: Loic Wacquant.

Homeless in El Barrio: Philippe Bougois.

The Abdication of the State: Pierre Bourdieu.

An Impossible Mission: Pierre Bourdieu.

Institutional Bad Faith: Pierre Bourdieu.

Double Binds: Pierre Bourdieu and Gabrielle Balasz.

The View from the State: Patrick Champagne.

'Costs' and 'Benefits' of Immigration: Abdelmalek Sayad.

Disorder Amongst Agents of Order: Remi Lenoir.

Woman and Cop: Remi Lenoir.

A Living Reproach: Remi Lenoir.

On the Way Down.

Permanent and Temporary Workers: Michel Pialoux and Stephane Beaud.

The Old Worker and the New Plant: Michel Pialoux.

The Temp's Dream: Stephane Beaud.

Working Nights: Rosine Christin.

Possession: Rosine Christin.

The End of a World: Pierre Bourdieu.

The Shop Steward's World in Disarray: Michel Pialoux.

The Stolen Work: Sandrine Garcia.

A Silent Witness: Rosine Christin.

Such a Fragile Equilibrium: PierreBourdieu and Gabrielle Balazs.

Hanging by a Thread: Pierre Bourdieu.

A Life Wasted: Pierre Bourdieu.

On the Way Down: Patrick Champagne.

Broken Careers: Louis Pinto.

Outcasts on the Inside: Pierre Bourdieu and Patrick Champagne.

Those Were the Days: Pierre Bourdieu.

Paradise Lost: Sylvain Broccolichi.

Cogs in the Machine: Sylvain Broccolichi and Francoise Œuvrard.

A Double Life: Rosine Christin.

French Class: Rosine Christin.

The Upper Hand: Sylvain Broccolichi.

Institutional Violence: Gabrielle Balazs and Abdelmalek Sayad.

The Contradictions of Inheritance: Pierre Bourdieu.

Academic Destiny: Alain Accardo.

A Compromising Success: Charles Soulie.

The Spirit of Contradiction: Emmanuel Bourdieu and Denis Podalydes.

Wife and Collaborator: Jean-Pierre Faguer.

The Curse: Abdelmalek Sayad.

Emancipation: Abdelmalek Sayad.

The Sick Person as Object: Francois Bonvin.

Solitude: Gabrielle Balazs.

Understanding: Pierre Bourdieu.

PostScriptum: Pierre Bourdieu.


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)