Bourdieu Sports - C hapter 30 Pierre Bourdieu HOW CAN ONE...

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Chapter 30 Pierre Bourdieu HOW CAN ONE BE A SPORTS FAN? EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION T HIS ESSAY HAS BEE N chosen as much an example of Pierre Bourdieu's thought and method as for its argument concerning sport. Indeed the value of the latter is rather diminished because sport in France (Bourdieu, of course, is a French theoristl has had a different social function from that in the US, Britain or Australia. Also the essay's historical claim that "sport" emerged a partially autonomous fleld when elites began to organize folk games is problematic in the British context. It underestimates the pressures for profession- alization and organization from "below" - especially with football and cl'icket during the nineteenth century, Bourdieu's is an analysis heavily dependent on notions of class and class frac- tions, especially that between the dominant (economic and symbolic capital-rich) and dominated (cultural capital-rich) fractions of the middle class. He argues, for instance, that workers engage in sports which depend upon, place at risk, sheer bodily strength whereas the middle classes vallJe sports which develop the body and skiils as ends in themseives. He has made similar arguments abolJt class differentiations aesthetic taste <Bourdieu 19861. Indeed such homologies of dispositions and values constitute what he calls a "habitus." For him, class frac- tions differ by the amount of economic capital, symbolic capital (i.e., prestige) and cultural capital (tastes] they inherit or are In a position to acquire. Through strategies to gain advantage or to reconci',e themselves to their conditions of life, a particular lifestyle "grounded in the unity of dispositions" (i.e., habitus) emerges for each group. These strategies involve "symbolic violence" - struggles between fractions of the middle class over sport's value.
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428 PIERRE BOURDIEU Bourdieu's work is Ilaving increasing influence in Anglophone cultural studies and e:.:changes between this rather sociologically inclined research and adherents of the "culture of difference" are of vital importance for tilE' discipline in the near future. Further reading: BourdietJ 1990, 1993, 19'16; H. Cunningham 1980; Frow 1995; Garnham and Williams Guillory 1993; D. Robbin~ 1991; J. B. Thompsol"' 1984. I think that, without doing too much violence to realit)" it is possible to consider the whole range of sporting .:Icti\'ities dnrl entertainments offercd to slKial agents rughy, !QotbalI, swimming, athletics, t('nnis, golr etc. - as a \lJPP~V irltended to med J sOcial demand. II' such.:l illudel is adopted, 1\\<1 ~ets of qu';,ti'om arise. Fir,t, is th,;re an arta of proouction, ~'IHlowed with its o\\n lOgiC and its own history, in which 'sporb products' are gener<lted, i.e. the unin"rse of the sporting activi- ties and entertainments socially realiLed and acceptahic at a given rnOllwnt in tim!'?
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Bourdieu Sports - C hapter 30 Pierre Bourdieu HOW CAN ONE...

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