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Horizons of Engagement: Eternalizing Pierre Bourdieu
22 December 2020. - 23 December 2020.
The conference “Eternalizing Bourdieu” is organized on the occasion of the ninetieth anniversary of the birth of Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002), the world’s most cited sociologist. The achievements of Bourdieu’s academic work are reflected in the high institutional positions he held, such as the position of the general secretary of the Centre de sociologie européenne, the position of the studies director of the École des hautes études en sciences socials and the position of the professor of sociology at Collège de France. His academic work has also been awarded with numerous accolades like the “Golden Medal”, the highest acknowledgement of the French Centre national de la recherche scientifique and the “Huxley” medal, the highest acknowledgement of the Royal Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. The greatest indicator of the scope of Bourdieu’s influence is the fact that we are talking about the world’s most cited sociologist, ahead of Émile Durkheim and the worlds second most cited author in social sciences and humanities, after Michel Foucault and ahead of Jacques Derrida. As LoÏc Wacquant pointed out: “Bourdieu became a name for a collective research endeavour that transcends the borders of states and disciplines”.
All of Bourdieu’s major works contain a thorough critique of the elements of the established social order: from the school system (in “Reproduction”), to the aristocratic pretensions of the dominant class (in “The Distinction”) and the state as the instrument of the dominant class (in “State Nobility”). Establish and publicly announce the reality of the social world becomes, in his vision, the main stake of the social struggle. Precisely because of that he criticises the artificial separation between scientific work that produces knowledge and intellectual engagement that introduces that knowledge into the public sphere. After rarely taking a stand on current political issues with the publishing of “The Weight of the World” in 1993. – in which he pleads for a ‘different way of doing politics’ – Bourdieu became one of the most engaged French intellectuals. The support for strikers, support for the unemployed who blocked École normale supérieure, supporting Algerian intellectuals and supporting European social movements are just some of the most famous of Bourdieu’s public appearances through which he earned the status of the “main enemy” among the most prominent defenders of the neoliberal order in the French intellectual eld.
The aim of this conference is to familiarise the domestic and regional audiences with the work of Pierre Bourdieu, by presenting his academic work alongside his public engagement. The conference will consist of several thematic segments which will introduce some basic concepts and methodological approaches that appear in his work and Bourdieu’s relationship with some of the most significant authors from his intellectual milieu, as well as with the most important theoretical approaches in sociology. The last segment of the conference will deal with Bourdieu’s public engagement and his understanding of the public roles of intellectuals.
Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade
Center for Advanced Studies Southeast Europe, University of Rijeka
École Normale Supérieure, Paris
Institut français de Serbie
Ivica Mladenović, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade
Zona Zarić, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade
Milan Urošević, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade
Marc Crépon, École Normale Supérieure, Paris
Ivana Spasić, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
Laurent Jeanpierre, University of Paris I (Sorbonne)
Adriana Zaharijević, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade
Philip Golub, American University of Paris