My Parisian Academic Crush: Falling in Love with Pierre Bourdieu

The last social scientist that I fell in love with was Susan Strange, a political economist who questions much of the structure of the global economy and international politics. In fact, no one else deserves more credit for the birth of the study of ‘International Political Economy’ as a distinct field of inquiry than Susan.

During my studies here, however, I have stumbled across Pierre Bourdieu. In his case, he challenged his readers to question the social order of the world around them – and in the book that I am reading at the moment, “Language and the Structure of Power” he gives an extremely interesting argument to pay attention to the powerful role that language plays in the construction of social reality and the reverse. That is, the extent to which social realities influence language. He also spoke quite extensively on language as a tool and source for power – something I admit is not entirely new, but there is something compelling in how he presents concepts like a ‘linguistic market’ that makes his faith in language not only clear from what he writes, by also from the thoughtful construction of phrases that he uses to convey his message.

Well, this is all a simplification of a very enlightening and engrossing work – the best thing to do is to order one and read through these long and cold, cold nights!

I am officially falling deeply in love with Bourdieu’s work. It is by far the most liberating set of perspectives that I have come across over the past two years.

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