Merleau-Ponty's Many-Layered Presence in Bourdieu's Thought

Authors

  • Josep Maria Bech UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA

Keywords:

Merleau-Ponty, Bourdieu, Operant intentionality, Embodied significance, Habitus, Field, Diacriticism, Structuralism, Embodiment, Cultural capital, Scholastic fallacy, Reflexive sociology

Abstract

Why has Pierre Bourdieu's thought come to matter so much in our time? This paper intends to prove that the answer lies in the (partly concealed) presence of Merleau-Ponty's philosophical tenets in many aspects of Bourdieu's manifold oeuvre. They steer it decisively and, though formerly undetected, give access to their deeper meaning. Besides, most obscurities in Bourdieu's output become dispelled only if we scrutinize its roots in Merleau-Ponty's thought. Accordingly, the thorny Bourdieuan notions of habitus, field, diacritical standpoint, structure of position-takings, cultural capital, scholastic fallacy, or reflexive sociology are to be elucidated with the aid of intellectual tools supplied by Merleau-Ponty, like operant intentionality, embodied significance, the invisible, the pensée de survol or hyperdialectics. We conclude that, at odds with most social theories, Bourdieu's account preserves the existential inscrutability of human demeanour thanks to its Merleau-Pontian ingredients.

Author Biography

Josep Maria Bech, UNIVERSITY OF BARCELONA

Departament d'Història de la Filosofia

Professor

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Published

30-07-2021

How to Cite

Bech, J. M. (2021). Merleau-Ponty’s Many-Layered Presence in Bourdieu’s Thought. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 17(1), 243–264. Retrieved from http://www.cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/journal/article/view/912