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Question: Bourdieu appears to argue that social actors are engaged in a constant battle to dominate each other

20 Mar 2024,7:19 PM


QUESTION: Bourdieu appears to argue that social actors are engaged in a constant battle to dominate each other. Those who do not take part in this game are simply denying what is denied to them. Does Gramsci offer a way out of this double bind?

Keywords: habitus; classification struggle; cultural capital; misrecognition; hegemony; war of position; ethical state; war of movement; civil society

You are expected to use at least FIVE of these concepts.

You need to address Bourdieu’s Distinction, Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, and Burawoy’s article on sociological Marxism. You need to refer to specific pages from each. You can also bring in Bourdieu’s Logic of Practice.




To answer the question effectively, it's essential to provide a structured response that addresses Bourdieu's perspective on domination and social actors, Gramsci's concept of hegemony as a potential alternative, and Burawoy's insights on sociological Marxism. Here's a suggested structure:

  1. Introduction

    • Briefly introduce Pierre Bourdieu's concept of domination in social interactions as portrayed in "Distinction" and "The Logic of Practice."
    • Highlight Gramsci's notion of hegemony from his "Prison Notebooks" as a potential alternative to Bourdieu's perspective.
    • Mention Burawoy's article on sociological Marxism and its relevance to the discussion.
  2. Bourdieu's Perspective: Domination and the Habitus

    • Explain Bourdieu's theory of habitus, which shapes individuals' perceptions, preferences, and behaviors based on their social position and experiences.
    • Discuss Bourdieu's notion of the classification struggle, wherein social actors vie for symbolic power and domination by asserting cultural capital.
    • Illustrate Bourdieu's argument that those who reject or abstain from this struggle may simply be denying what is already denied to them, reinforcing the existing power structures.
    • Reference specific pages from "Distinction" and "The Logic of Practice" to support these points.
  3. Gramsci's Alternative: Hegemony and the War of Position

    • Introduce Gramsci's concept of hegemony, wherein ruling classes maintain dominance not solely through coercion but also by gaining consent and legitimacy from subordinate classes.
    • Explain Gramsci's distinction between the war of position, wherein ideological struggle occurs within civil society to shape cultural norms and values, and the war of movement, which involves more overt political conflict.
    • Argue how Gramsci's perspective offers a potential way out of Bourdieu's double bind by providing a framework for challenging hegemonic structures through counter-hegemonic efforts within civil society.
    • Cite specific passages from Gramsci's "Prison Notebooks" to support this argument.
  4. Burawoy's Contribution: Sociological Marxism and Social Transformation

    • Discuss Burawoy's analysis of sociological Marxism and its emphasis on understanding social relations within the broader context of capitalism and class struggle.
    • Highlight Burawoy's exploration of how Marxist theory can inform strategies for social transformation, including both revolutionary ruptures and gradual reforms.
    • Evaluate how Burawoy's perspective complements and extends the discussions of domination and resistance presented by Bourdieu and Gramsci.
    • Reference relevant sections of Burawoy's article to illustrate his arguments.
  5. Conclusion

    • Summarize the key points made regarding Bourdieu's concept of domination, Gramsci's alternative of hegemony, and Burawoy's contribution to sociological Marxism.
    • Reflect on whether Gramsci's framework offers a viable way out of Bourdieu's double bind, considering the complexities of power relations and possibilities for social change.
    • Suggest avenues for further research or theoretical synthesis to address the ongoing challenges of domination and resistance in contemporary society.

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