After the Ball is Over: Bourdieu and the Crisis of Peasant society


Robbins, Derek 2009. After the Ball is Over: Bourdieu and the Crisis of Peasant society. Theory, Culture and Society. 26 (5), pp. 141-150.
AuthorsRobbins, Derek

This review article is stimulated by the publication by Polity Press in 2008 of a translation of Bourdieu’s Le Bal des célibataires, which had been published by Editions du Seuil in the year of his death — 2002. Le Bal des célibataires assembled three articles about his native Béarn which Bourdieu had written at roughly ten-year intervals, starting in 1962. Given that Le Bal des célibataires formally constitutes a new publication in that it juxtaposes the three earlier articles, adds a short introduction and republishes, as an appendix, a methodological article first published in the 1970s, the 2002 text provides access to four stages in the development of Bourdieu’s reflexive analysis of traditional society (dating from 1962, 1972, 1989 and 2002). The article draws attention to some of the objective socio-economic changes in Béarn society in the second half of the 20th century and asks whether the autonomous logic of Bourdieu’s conceptual development in this period was the product of his partisan participation in an originally traditional situation and whether his maintenance of this logic over time was a device to give scientific legitimation to that situation. Consideration of these microcosmic analyses of the Béarn raises questions relevant to international socio-economic development in general, about whether sociology is equipped to offer a scientific explanation of economic and technological changes in society or whether, by definition, it is categorally committed to a conservative value-orientation which criticizes ‘post-human’ postmodernity.

KeywordsBourdieu; Durkheim; Mendras; methodology; peasant society
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Journal citation26 (5), pp. 141-150
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Deposited20 Jan 2010
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Robbins, D. (2009) ‘After the Ball is Over: Bourdieu and the Crisis of Peasant society’ Theory, Culture and Society 26 (5) 141-150.

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