Symbolic Violence

Conversations with Bourdieu

Book Pages: 240 Illustrations: Published: October 2019

Author: Michael Burawoy

Politics > Political Theory, Sociology > Social Theory, Theory and Philosophy > Marxism

In Symbolic Violence Michael Burawoy brings Pierre Bourdieu into an extended debate with Marxism—a tradition Bourdieu ostensibly avoided. While Bourdieu's expansive body of work stands as a critique of Marx's inadequate account of cultural domination, Burawoy shows how Bourdieu's eschewal and rejection of Marxism led him to miss out on a number of productive theoretical engagements. In eleven “conversations,” Burawoy outlines the intellectual and biographical parallels and divergences between Bourdieu and the work of preeminent Marxist thinkers. Among many topics, Burawoy examines Bourdieu's appropriation and silencing of Beauvoir and her theory of masculine domination; the commonalities as well as differences in Bourdieu's and Fanon's thought on colonialism and revolution; the extent to which Gramsci's theory of hegemony aligns with Bourdieu's notion of symbolic violence; and both how Freire and Bourdieu understood education as the site of oppression. In showing how Bourdieu has more in common with these thinkers than Bourdieu himself cared to admit, Burawoy offers a critical assessment of Bourdieu's work that illuminates its paradoxes and reaffirms its significance for the twenty-first century.


“Michael Burawoy sets up an illuminating series of conversations between Bourdieu and some of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century (including Karl Marx, Antonio Gramsci, Frantz Fanon, Paulo Freire, Simone de Beauvoir, and C. Wright Mills) that seek to ‘bring to life some of the combatants that Bourdieu has repressed.’ Through these conversations Burawoy makes an intriguing case for Bourdieu as a revitalizing force for twenty-first-century Marxism.” — Kate Crehan, author of Gramsci’s Common Sense: Inequality and Its Narratives

“Offering systematic comparisons between Bourdieu and several leading thinkers, Symbolic Violence represents first-rate scholarship from a seasoned thinker and will be of interest to all those who read Bourdieu.” — David L. Swartz, author of Symbolic Power, Politics, and Intellectuals: The Political Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu


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Open Access

Fall2020 Online Sale
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Michael Burawoy is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of numerous books, including Manufacturing Consent, The Politics of Production, and The Extended Case Method.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Prologue: Encountering Bourdieu  1
1. Sociology Is a Combat Sport: From Parsons to Bourdieu  18
2. The Poverty of Philosophy: Marx Meets Bourdieu  33
3. Cultural Domination: Gramsci Meets Bourdieu  59
4. Colonialism and Revolution: Fanon Meets Bourdieu  76
5. Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Freire Meets Bourdieu  94
6. The Antinomies of Feminism: Beauvoir Meets Bourdieu  110
7. The Sociological Imagination: Mills Meets Bourdieu  133
8. The Twofold Truth of Labor: Burawoy Meets Bourdieu  148
9. The Weight of the World: Bourdieu Meets Bourdieu  172
Conclusion: The Limits of Symbolic Violence  191
Notes  201
References  209
Index  217
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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0647-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0580-3