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Algerian Sketches

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4694-7
400 pages
November 2013, Polity
Algerian Sketches (0745646948) cover image

Description

In the late 1950s, like tens of thousands of young men of his generation, Pierre Bourdieu, having recently passed the agrégation in philosophy, found himself immersed in the Algerian war. Motivated by an impulse that, as he himself says, ‘was civic rather than political’, nothing seemed more important to him than to understand the Algerian situation and provide the elements that would enable others to come to an informed judgement about it.

In extremely tough conditions and along with a small group of students, Bourdieu undertook a series of studies across an Algeria that was tightly patrolled by the army, leading him to discover the shocking reality of the resettlement camps and to analyse the mechanisms of destruction of Algerian society of which they were emblematic. To achieve the objectives he had set himself, Bourdieu had to carry out a genuine intellectual conversion, acquiring an ethnographic understanding of Algerian society, learning sociological analysis at a breakneck pace and inventing new instruments - both theoretical and empirical - that would enable him to understand the relations of domination specific to colonialism. These new tools also enabled him to analyse the nature of the crisis that the war had both produced and manifested.

This unique volume brings together the first texts written by Bourdieu in the midst of the Algerian conflict, as well as later writings and interviews in which he returns to the topic of Algeria and the decisive role it played in the development of his work.
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Table of Contents

Presentation
Bourdieu and Algeria, Bourdieu in Algeria
At the Origins of a Singular Ethnosociology
Colonization, Culture and Society
The Clash of Civilizations
Traditional Society’s Attitude towards Time and Economic Behaviour
The Internal Logic of Original Algerian Society
War and Social Mutations
From Revolutionary War to Revolution
Revolution in the Revolution
War and Social Mutation in Algeria
Workers and Peasants in Disarray
Uprooted Peasants: Morphological Upheavals and Cultural Changes in Algeria
The Algerian Sub-Proletarians
Haunted by Unemployment: The Algerian Proletariat and the Colonial System
The Making of Economic Habitus
The Ethnology of Kabylia
The Right Use of Ethnology
Dialogue on Oral Poetry in Kabylia
A Reflexive Definition of Anthropology
Participant Objectivation
Return to the Algerian Experience
For a Sociology of Sociologists
Between Friends
For Abdelmalek Sayad
Seeing with the Lens: About Photography
Appendices
Letters to André Nouschi
Chronology of Historical Events
Map of Investigation Sites
Publications of Pierre Bourdieu on Algeria
Bibliography
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Author Information

Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) was one of the most influential sociologists and anthropologists of the late twentieth century. He was professor of sociology at the Collège de France and Director of Studies at the École des hautes études en science sociales. His many works include Outline of a Theory of Practice, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, The Rules of Art, The Logic of Practice and Pascalian Meditations.
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The Wiley Advantage

  • Pierre Bourdieu is one of the most influential sociologists and anthropologists of the late twentieth century.
  • This important new volume brings together his key writings on Algeria, where he did his first major fieldwork in the late 1950s and 1960s.
  • His extensive studies in Algeria lead him to develop a deeper understanding of the relations of domination specific to colonialism.
  • This major work by one of the greatest social thinkers of our time will be of great interest to students and scholars in sociology, anthropology and the social sciences and humanities generally.
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