Bourdieu and the study of capitalism: Looking for the political structures of accumulation

Catégorie : Article dans une revue

Auteur(s) : Antoine Roger

Nom de la revue : European Journal of Social Theory

pp. 264-284

Année de publication : 2021

Résumé :

It is possible to draw upon Marx’s thinking without emphasizing an automatic relationship between an economic ‘base’ and a political ‘superstructure’. The development of capitalism must then be understood as resulting from the ‘conceptual separation’ of the economic and political issues. However, the research that favours this approach fails to provide the tools for a precise and systematic study of the political work which makes this separation possible. For his part, through the development of field theory and the emphasis on the notion of symbolic power, Pierre Bourdieu offers the means to analyse the political work of multiple agents, but he does not formulate a theory of capitalism tailored to his findings. It seems worthwhile to take up and extend some of his proposals to open up avenues of thought in this direction. It is then about considering that different fields coexist, each of which lends itself to a political struggle based on the assertion of symbolic power; each field contributes to a ‘conceptual separation’ of the economic and political issues, which is itself constitutive of capitalism. As a result, production and trade operations seem to be part of a natural and autonomous process. Capital can thus be accumulated without necessitating the direct use of force. The combination of fields can lend itself to certain variations. It always shapes the political structures of accumulation.

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