This paper presents theory and practice of French sociology in practice after Pierre Bourdieu and the impacts that his work had to sociologist and the society at large, as a preparation for a journal article. It had started by analyzing the life of Bourdieu when young who hardly known in the society who advocated for purely scientific view of sociology and was against sociologically oriented journalism developed by his mentor Raymond Aron. Bourdieu was not known unlike other intellectuals in society of the time. However, him together with his co-writer Jean-Claude Passeron gained instant fame after they wrote two provocative books titled The Inheritors (1964) and Reproduction (1970) that forecasted on events that happened past 68, May. The books were criticized by Marxists who had dominated the social contexts with their thinking and ideology and criticized the work of Bourdieu and Passeron’s theory that it leads to fatalism and political inertia. Bourdieu offered an escape from overheated debated and new political constraint put on academic thinking by the ideology of total liberation. He was skeptical abut new social movements shown through his commitment to minorities. Choosing him as a patron was viewed as a bad idea because he was not known in academic circles and could not launch a successful career. Bourdieu followers were proud to be different from the mainstream majority in academic traditions and countercultural. The group considered itself as counter as heterogeneous because its members came from different backgrounds. Some came from the working class and others from elite schools that were devoted to “hard science”. It also had upper- middle class with average school records. His creativenesses worked well among his disciples and followers and were considered as a master who treated all people that he worked with equally, both beginners and advanced ones. He learned a lot from a small social world he had created that worked as an experimental field that mixed both foreign and local concepts and ideologies such as achievements of American Sociology and French conceptualization of sociological philosophy. Followers of his theory were meant to believe that his theory was pure innovation that brought new knowledge. That resulted from mixing known and old ideas. His reassuring strangeness determined success and negative attraction, as well.
The paper later presents different views that opposed Bourdieu ideologies that led to methodological and epistemological splits in three different analysis that include The Particular limits of a general theory; Public space, ethics and sociology; and Temporality and sociology. In the first analysis, Bourdieu is criticized for building a generalized framework that allowed explaining all types of actions in three concepts of habitus, field and capital. This it is argued out limits sociological practice to the actualization of the inbuilt disposition. He presents habitus as simultaneously being produced and producing which according to critiques it is more on the reproductive side than on the productive side and one that does not innovate as Bourdieu puts it. They further note that Bourdieu further, stuck to his earlier definitions of concepts because it allowed him to study all types of social fields in the same way and to construct homologies. The essential notion of transportability is the main operator in the theory and habitus acts in the same way everywhere irrespective of the circumstances and situations in the society that is not practical and true. It is also noted that pre-reflexivity is one of the main features of habitus that does not change too much from the point of a totally deterministic standpoint. It is exemplified to the ‘‘orchestration without a conductor’’. His work is affirmed as one that presupposes the homology between objective structures and subjective dispositions that result from the unthinkable character of the unlikely situations. Bourdieu’s work was as much as it tried to relate to past historical events; it failed to take into account the fact that much of history is precisely the result of gaps between objective structures and subjective expectations. His work it is also noted lacked empirical evidence making it challenging to believe in his ideology and philosophy regarding the society. This led to more empirical evidence to be developed against habitus theory among his other works in the recent times unlike in the past. They argued that the habitus became a flagship concept for a highly integrated group of sociologists who most of them had been coercively influenced in obeying their master’s theoretical voice who was Bourdieu (Bourdieu, & Passeron, 1967). The theory is presented as an example of an over socialized conception of man that credited too much to the powers of the socializing order. The element of universalization of particular socializing processes and belief of maximal efficiencies of the domination apparatuses located in the origin of extraordinary that is viewed as fictional. He analyzed legitimating effects n cultural worlds as exact counterparts of domination in schools, due to his stance on homology and his strong belief in symmetry of all fields (Lahire, 1993). He did not finish his study of “a general theory of fields” due to the difficulties he encountered in presenting a totally integrated conceptualization of hypothesis of all positional spaces in all social worlds. The main problem said to have been encountered by Bourdieu was low capacity to analyze historical processes because he equated the field to a structure that determines all forms of interaction. The field has been described as a battlefield where groups compete to gain or to secure positions. He is criticized for failing to note the definition of a game despite being an expert in rugby. He never left room for uncertainty in his theoretical frame that failed to include foreign concepts (Fabiani, 1992). From his two books, his standpoint remained the same that failed to take into account social condition of experience, which made him get support and recognition locally.
In the second part of public space, ethics and sociology, continuation of critique of Bourdieu’s work continues. This is mainly done by methodological individualists, conservative philosophers and Marxists circles. They failed to recognize his work related to discovery of new social objects. New style in writing as well as renewed attention paid to social conditions of production in social sciences. Bourdieu’s friends and disciples are also shifting and changing their arguments by challenging their masters Bourdieu. The argument is that no theory of social stratification can be built without regard to the peculiar history of real groups. For instance, Bolstanski argued differently in relating epistemological background (Boltanski, 1982). The scientific concepts are as a result of successive reconstruction and refinements of ordinary knowledge (Grignon, 1996). It is noted that the continuous shift and change from the criticism have led to change of sociological attitudes implies that the sociologists do not have any longer the monopoly of the right interpretations of situations (Menger, 1997). Sociologists main target has turned to arguments and disputes as displayed through the challenges that Bourdieu is facing from those that he worked with, and the central question has turned to the dispute process from the domination one (Lemieux, 2000 ). The limits of the critical theory are fairly obvious that has shifted from the explicit that Bourdieu had in his main theory. Later, other writers have produced works that try to get rid of the contradictions.
Finally, the third section of ‘temporality and sociology’ presents a critical analysis that majorly presents comparisons to other sociologists in France, and their views regarding the subject that acknowledges the importance of history. Durkheim notes that the history was also a territory to colonize (Simiand, 1903). Also, Braudel was highly critical of two tendencies that were contradicting in French sociology of ‘disdainful of all types of history’ and disregarding time to build a science based upon ‘quasi non-temporal structures’ which is a constant sociological feature in France. There is renewed interest in historical sociology that led to continuous discussion of habitus theory and political commitment. As a result, pragmatism and interactionism gained a surprising appraisal in the recent years, in France. Linking of temporality and practice over time about ecological and natural resource issues Is presented in the conclusion part where I present my own perspective and view regarding the subject (Durkheim, 1938 ). It is noted also that most of the time there is a conflict between the different levels of temporality. Social practices about the natural environment if considered as a whole may lead to a diffracted vision of the contemporary self and to the questioning of about how rational we are in the contemporary times (Braudel, 1993). The closing remarks note my opinion on French philosophy in general. I have tried to understand the articulation between the almost immobile organization of the institution and the proper dynamics of the philosophical events. A suggestion of getting other peoples opinion regarding French sociology to be brought to limelight to help out people further understand in the subject in a broad manner.
Boltanski, Luc. 1982. Les cadres. Paris: Minuit.
Bourdieu, P. & Passeron, J. (1967). "Sociology and Philosophy in France since 1945: Death and Resurrection of a Philosophy without Subject". Social Research XXXIV 1. Pp. 162-212
Braudel, Pierre. 1993. Ecrits sur l'histoire. Paris Flammarion.
Durkheim, Emile. 1938. L'Evolution pédagogique en France. Paris:Alcan.
Fabiani, Jean-Louis. 1992. "La sociologie et le principe de réalité". Critique 545. Pp. 790-801
Grignon, Claude. 1996. "L'examen d'une désillusion". Revue européenne des sciences sociales XXXIV 103. Pp. 81-98.
Lahire, Bernard. 1993. La raison des plus faibles. Lille: Presses universitaires de Lille
Lemieux, Cyril. 2000. Mauvaise presse. Paris: Metaili
Menger, Pierre-Michel. 1997. "Temporalités et différences interindividuelles : l'analyse de l'action en sociologie et en économie". Revue française de sociologie. XXXVIII, p. 587-633.
Simiand, François. 1903. "Méthode historique et science sociale". Revue de synthèse historique. Pp. 129-157.