[...] a volume clearly focused on the specific topic of literature within Bourdieu's work is certainly timely. Speller's volume aims not only to provide an account of Bourdieu's main theories and analyses of literature, but also has the polemical aim of refuting critics who suggest that Bourdieu's view of literature, grounded as it is in an analysis of the social relations of the cultural field, is deterministic and reductive.
— Helen Finch, Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 20/4 (2012): 555-56
Bourdieu and Literature is a wide-ranging, rigorous and accessible introduction to the relationship between Pierre Bourdieu's work and literary studies. It provides a comprehensive overview and critical assessment of his contributions to literary theory and his thinking about authors and literary works.
One of the foremost French intellectuals of the post-war era, Bourdieu has become a standard point of reference in the fields of anthropology, linguistics, art history, cultural studies, politics, and sociology, but his longstanding interest in literature has often been overlooked. This study explores the impact of literature on Bourdieu's intellectual itinerary, and how his literary understanding intersected with his sociological theory and thinking about cultural policy.
This is the first full-length study of Bourdieu's work on literature in English, and it provides an invaluable resource for students and scholars of literary studies, cultural theory and sociology.
Since publication this book has been viewed over 3000 times. Last updated March 2013.
Title: Bourdieu and Literature
Author: Speller, John R.W.
Publication date: December 2011
Number of pages: 203
Dimensions: 6.14” x 9.21” | 234mm x 156mm
BIC Subject Codes: DSA (Literary Theory), JHBA (Social Theory), 2ADF (French)
Bourdieu and Literature , by John R. W Speller, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
The field of reception
The field of production
Lévi-Strauss and structuralism
The death of intellectuals
Appendix: the composition of Les Règles de l’Art
The author’s point of view
The field of power
The literary field
Habitus and trajectory
The space of possibilities
World literary space
Appendix: Reflexivity and reading
The evolution of the literary field
Art and money
Zola and the Dreyfus affair
Autonomy and value
4. Science and Literature
‘Le démontage impie de la fiction’
Fiction and realism
5. Literature and Cultural Politics
The production of the dominant ideology
‘La Pensée Tietmeyer’
On aesthetics and ideology
A politics of form
For a collective intellectual
6. Literature and Cultural Policy
Reproduction and distinction
Proposals for the future of education
Between the state and the free market
For a corporatism of the universal
John R.W. Speller is Head of Foreign Languages and teaches the sociology of organization at the International Faculty of Engineering, Lodz University of Technology in Poland. He is co-editor (with Jeremy Ahearne) of Pierre Bourdieu and the Literary Field (2012).
"...subtle and sophisticated. Particularly to be recommended are the detailed analyses contained in the fifth and sixth chapters which reveal elements of Bourdieu's thinking which are relatively little known in comparison with the much-used conceptual framework of ‘habitus’, ‘cultural capital’, and ‘field’ developed in the 1960s. Speller gives proper attention to the Liber European review of books project [...] in the first of these chapters. In the second, he pays unusual and praiseworthy attention to two reports on the future of education."
— Derek Robbins, Modern & Contemporary France, 20 (2012)
You can read the full review here