Posted by Jay Livingston
According to a story in today’s Guardian, Bourdieu is “the second most frequently quoted author in the world, after Michel Foucault.”
Sociology students the world over are familiar with concepts such as social reproduction, symbolic violence and cultural capital.Funny you should mention cultural capital, given another story in the Guardian (and elsewhere) about Dominique Strauss Kahn. I may be misinterpreting Bourdieu, but I think cultural capital includes the ability to distinguish what is of high quality from what is ordinary. La distinction is what characterizes the French elite.
As for Strauss Kahn, certainly a member of that elite, he’s being questioned by French police about his part in recruiting prostitutes for “soirées coquines” at a hotel in Lille. (In France, being a client is not illegal, but pimping is.) DSK is claiming that he didn’t know the women were prostitutes. As his lawyer said, shortly after the case came to light in France,
People are not always clothed at these parties. I challenge you to tell the difference between a nude prostitute and a classy lady in the nudeThat “classy lady” may not be le mot juste. Worse, this Times translation also loses the Bourdieu angle – distinction. Here’s what the lawyer actually said,
Je vous défie de distinguer une prostituée nue d'une femme du monde nue.I’ll have to reread Bourdieu to see if he makes the point that la distinction requires that people have their clothes on.