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Estudios sociológicos

versión On-line ISSN 2448-6442versión impresa ISSN 0185-4186


WACQUANT, Loïc. Four transversal principles for putting Bourdieu to work. Estud. sociol [online]. 2018, vol.36, n.106, pp.3-23. ISSN 2448-6442.

This article spotlights four transversal principles that animate Pierre Bourdieu’s research practice and can fruitfully guide inquiry on any empirical front: the Bachelardian imperative of epistemological rupture and vigilance; the Weberian command to effect the triple historicization of the agent (habitus), the world (social space, of which field is but a subtype), and the categories of the analyst (epistemic reflexivity); the Leibnizian-Durkheimian invitation to deploy the topological mode of reasoning to track the mutual correspondences between symbolic space, social space, and physical space; and the Cassirer moment urging us to recognize the constitutive efficacy of symbolic structures. I also flag three traps that Bourdieusian explorers of the social world should exercise special care to avoid: the fetishization of concepts, the seductions of “speaking Bourdieuse” while failing to carry out the research operations Bourdieu’s notions stipulate, and the forced imposition of his theoretical framework en bloc when it is more productively used in kit through transposition. These principles guiding the construction of the object are not theoretical slogans but practical blueprints for anthropological inquiry. This implies that mimesis and not exegesis should guide those social scientists who wish to build on, revise or challengethe scientific machinery and legacy of Pierre Bourdieu.

Palabras llave : Bourdieu; Bachelard; Weber; Leibniz; Durkheim; Cassirer; social space; symbolic power; social topology; epistemological vigilance.

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