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(en) France, Alternative Libertair #219 - Interview with Patrick Champagne: Bourdieu, state and domination (fr) [machine translation]

Date Sun, 21 Oct 2012 09:46:44 +0200


During the publication of Pierre Bourdieu at the CollÃge de France on the issue of State 1 gives us the opportunity to return with Patrick Champagne on the release of this impressive volume and in particular the specific contribution of the sociology of Bourdieu, disappeared Ten years ago, to the knowledge of the state and the relationship between the state and domination. ---- AL: Although no book has been published on the subject matter of the State was already present in the work of Bourdieu, Masculine Domination in it already said his astonishment at "the fact that the world order as it is, with its one-way and turn restrictions, literally or figuratively, its obligations and sanctions, roughly respected (...) that the conditions of the most intolerable existence can so often appear as acceptable and even natural "...

Patrick Champagne: This quote raises the problem very well: we see that there is no permanent revolution of the world and what dominates is a pure observation is the social order and social reproduction that can not be sustained by the insured only force because, as the saying goes, "you can not put a policeman behind every citizen." And we should add, a policeman behind every policeman to ensure that the gendarme gendarme behaves well, etc.. This is the concept of habitus, which explains why there is no need to make an infinite regress. Indeed, against the tendency to reduce the forms of domination to the most brutal (military force in most cases), Bourdieu shows that there are mild forms of domination, and that these forms of domination - he calls "symbolic" in the sense that it is the case that the categories of perception of individuals - are so fundamental that we can even say that there would be no social order possible without the existence of these forms of domination. If the balance of power were only reports of physical strength, military or economic, they would be much more fragile and very easy to reverse.

But then how to explain this spontaneous support of people in the world as it is?

The answer to this question, Bourdieu has long been found in an article by Durkheim and Mauss showed that the relationship between homology mental structures and social structures or to say quickly that mental structures are the expression, the retranslation at the symbolic level, social structures. People accept the world as it is because the mental categories through which they perceive are largely produced by the same social world, and because the mental categories that apply to all of those are dominant. In other words, there are forms of thought in our brains that are the product of the incorporation of social forms, the enforcement resulting from the circularity of the process: social structures produce habitus structured turn reinforce these social structures that produce habitus structured ... These power relations are also reports of communication, that is to say, symbolic relationships, because they are inseparably reports of sense, dominated as being someone who knows acknowledges and thanks the language with which he perceives the world.

One who submits, obeys, which folds to an order operates a cognitive action, an action that implements categories of perception, principles of vision and division. Bourdieu introduced in the analysis and symbolic power, that is to say that power is exercised so invisible if we forget the very existence and those affected, this is what makes efficiency, are the first to ignore its existence.

And so to return to the specific question of the state?

Bourdieu examines the state contribution to the production of these cognitive structures that make common sense of a social group, the undisputed portion. But instead of frontally address this complex thing that is designated by the word state, Bourdieu will take to activities which are very common what he called acts of state. [...] As defined state, Bourdieu goes, by adding the famous formula of Max Weber that the State is the institution that successfully claims the monopoly of legitimate physical violence (army, police) The fact that it also boasts successful monopoly of what he calls "legitimate symbolic violence." And it raises the order of the social world is actually provided by the legitimate symbolic violence of the state, rather than by physical violence, the latter assuming also legitimate symbolic violence to exercise as need soldiers and police agree to obey orders, accept suppress, refuse to switch on the side of the rioters, which refers to their categories of perception, sense or not behave improperly.

Socialization is more efficient than brute force?

Absolutely, most of domination through socialization, by imposing mental structures, principles of classification. And the state should be thought of as a producer who claims the monopoly of the principles of classification, that is to say, structuring structures can be applied to all things in the world, and especially social things. The specificity of the state lies in the fact that the more it grows, the less dominated by physical violence and it tends to be dominated by the symbolic violence because it manages to impose a universal way, the scale of a jurisdiction more extensive, common principles of vision and division, symbolic forms, principles of classification. Bourdieu proposes a new definition of the state: the state is the institution that has the extraordinary power to produce a large social world is ordered without necessarily giving orders and without permanent exercise of coercion. Disorder that arises here and there tends to forget the huge amount of shares every day that could be messy and are not, and there are a livable world, predictable, which is that can anticipate what people will do. Public order, says Bourdieu, is not based on the threat, but on consent. [...] And this kind of violence, because it is internalized, because it is buried in the head, in the unconscious, because it incorporated, it allows to obtain obedience without asking, without threat : one might almost say because it is almost natural obedience.

But think how the state while we are, as Bourdieu reminds us, "nationalized"?

To use the metaphor of Heidegger Bourdieu already quoted in The Love of Art, the State is our glasses to see the world. We have to think about the social world, a thought which is the product of a social world nationalized. And we are the product of the world we are trying to understand. First understanding that we have, we owe it to our immersion in this world. However, this understanding first, immediate, is dangerous because it is alienated in the sense that it is an understanding that does not understand itself, which does not include the social conditions of its own possibility. The State says Bourdieu, remains unthought of most of our thoughts, including and perhaps especially our thoughts on the state.

But then Bourdieu himself is nationalized, how to get out of this impasse?

To exit this real trap, Bourdieu uses two techniques, denormalisation and the genesis of institutions, that is to say the use of history. By denormalising, it is obvious to stop this finding should not be, cease to consider as not problem that should be a problem. [...] In addition to de-normalization, Bourdieu uses history to overcome amnesia beginnings that is inherent in the process of institutionalization, as returning to the initial discussions, we can see that where he remained one can seen as natural, there were initially more. [...] To fully understand the genesis of the state, and it is on this point that Bourdieu distinguishes itself from those who have tried to think of the state before him, he must give priority to the symbolic capital that is to say this form of capital that arises from the relationship between any species of capital and socialized agents to know and recognize. Symbolic capital is membership, recognition, legitimacy. [...] The state is a kind of central bank of symbolic capital, where engender and guarantee all fiat currencies that circulate in the social world, and all these are real fetishes school titles, legitimate culture , spelling, nation, etc.. where all or part of a country is ready to die. [...] Taking the example of cultural capital, Bourdieu shows that the process of concentration goes hand in hand with a process of dispossession: building a city as the capital as a place where focus all forms of capital, it is the form province as deprivation of capital, constitute a legitimate language, it is up all the other languages ââas dialects; issue diplomas guarantee the possession of a school culture warranty is denied the status of culture - in the sense that the one speaks of a man "cultivated" - in other cultures, in the ethnological sense.

Thus the constitution of the state is also the creation of a uniform generalized ...

Indeed, the genesis of the state is inseparable from the establishment of a monopoly of the universal, the prime example being the culture that is legitimate because it presents itself as universal, available to all, whereas the name of this universality, we can safely eliminate those who do not. Culture that unites apparently actually divides, and is one of the great instruments of domination as a minority in a monopoly, the constitution of the universal and its accumulation, is inseparable from the creation of a caste of nobility State, a category of social agents who monopolize the universal. To the genesis of the state, that is, ultimately, to the genesis of an institution that has succeeded in producing a wide area homogenized, unified, within which, for example, a mode of symbolic expression s imposes a monopolistic fashion: you talk, dress, hold "correct" way and this way only. This unified market of symbolic goods, it is the State which is by doing. This is one way for the state to do than be standardized spelling, as do the standardized weights and measures, than to the right standard, replacing the feudal rights of a unified law, etc.. This process of unification, centralization, standardization, homogenization, which the state is accompanied by a process that is repeated in every generation through the school system, the latter being of individuals standardized homogenized in terms of writing, spelling and way of speaking. [...] The state dominates instilling cognitive structures similar to the set of agents subject to its jurisdiction and the principle of a "logical and moral conformism" (...). By inculcating common cognitive structures - largely through the system (...) that are tacitly evaluative in the producing, reproducing, making them recognize, making them incorporate state makes an essential contribution to the reproduction the symbolic order which contributes significantly to the social order and its reproduction. The state is the largest producer of construction instruments of social reality.

However, for Bourdieu, the unification process by which the State is not unambiguous and has two inseparable faces ...

Indeed, after a long process of concentration and unification, we arrive at a single state with a single language, a single right. This process leads to uniformity, and the monopoly of those who benefit from the process, those who produce the State and are in a position to appropriate the profits that the state provides. There monopolization of everything produced in the state occurring. This monopolization of the universal and the reason involves relocation and de-particularization. More we go towards a unified state, the more we can understand and communicate. But at the same time, progress towards universalism is, at the same time, monopolization of the universal. In these times of questioning the role of the state in its actions more visible, we would like these courses delivered 20 years ago, that show how light that the state is everywhere, including where they least expected, may help break the political issues which include summaries only for purely budgetary reasons, to ask if there is "too much" or "not enough state."

Interview by David (AL Paris North East)
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