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PIERRE BOURDIEU QUESTIONS FOR ENGLISH 492 THEORY, CSU FULLERTON

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PIERRE BOURDIEU, DISTINCTION AND THE RULES OF ART ....

Assigned: Bourdieu, Pierre. From Distinction: a Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste: "Introduction" (1664-70) and from The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field: Part I, from Chapter 2 and Part III, from Chapter 1 (1664-80 in Leitch, Vincent B. and William E. Cain. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd edition. Norton, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0393932928).

Introduction to Distinction: a Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste

1. On 1664 (lower middle) of the Introduction to Distinction: a Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Pierre Bourdieu asserts that "cultural needs are the product of upbringing and education." On 1665-66 of the Introduction, how does he explore the implications of this assertion in the context of aesthetic education? In responding, attend to Bourdieu's remarks about the privileged class's ideal way of coming by a proper appreciation of and attitude towards art as opposed to merely scholarly ("intellectualist") interpretation of it. Why is the latter devalued and the former exalted?

2. On 1666-68 of the Introduction to Distinction: a Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Pierre Bourdieu discusses what happens when artists begin to claim a high degree of autonomy as producers of aesthetic objects. What changes in doctrines of artistic representation and value consequently take place, and what demands are made upon the aesthetic sensibilities and perceptual abilities of those who come into contact with the works that are produced? In responding, be sure to include some comment on the opposition Bourdieu explores between "intellectuals" and "the people" as well as his remarks about Kantian aesthetics (both on 1668).

3. On 1669-70 of the Introduction to Distinction: a Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Pierre Bourdieu remarks upon the significance of his project, which he connects with "The science of taste and of cultural consumption" (1669 middle). What does he suggest must be done to advance this science, and why does it matter? Why, based upon what you can infer from the Introduction and these pages in particular, does Bourdieu believe that we need to historicize the definition, production and consumption of works of art -- what practical value would any insights thereby gained hold for us?

4. On 1670-73 of The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field, Pierre Bourdieu analyzes "the progress of the literary field towards autonomy" (1670 middle). How does he assess the distinguishing features of this increasing autonomy (that is, independence or self-sufficiency) and the relative standing of poetry, drama and long fiction (i.e. the novel) within the literary field? Furthermore, how are we to understand the "specific hierarchy established among works and authors within each genre" (1672 middle)?

TO BE CONTINUED . . . .


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