slow but steady progress on paper


I clearly won't make the deadline of having it done today, but I've made a lot of progress on the paper, and am confident that I'll have a reasonably well-thought-out version to post online by the time I get to the conference (11 days).

Here's the quote from Bourdieu's book Homo Academicus that I'm using to begin the paper:

There are surely few social worlds where power depends so strongly on belief, where it is so true that, in the words of Hobbes, "Reputation of power is power."

Not hard to see the connection to the blogosphere, is it?


Could Bourdieu have been more short-sighted? The entire power of the religious world (pick ANY religion) depends on belief (or is the religious world not a "social" world).

The entire system of politics depends almost solely on belief (or, again, is the political world not defined as "social" in the Bourdieu dictionary?)

It seems I can find almost no social system at all in where power is not strongly (if not solely, dependent on belief (reputation)).

Surely I am missing something - probably a specialized jargon in which "power", "belief" and "social system" are defined in such a way as to "make" Bourdieu's claim a reality.

Certainly in the "blog" world power is solely based on the "belief" of "reputation".

Could reputation be a mathematical function of the number of links to a particular author? Or is it our belief that a certain author carries a lot of "street/blog" cred.

Without a doubt I am clueless as to what he is saying.

Could you hallucinate some more?


I will be hallucinating about this regularly for the next few days. I'll give you the paper draft, which puts that quote in better context.

Briefly, his model gets applied to specific cultural "fields" in which one can define "habitus" (basically the rules of the game, the established interaction patterns and activites) and "cultural capital." He's looked at academia (which he's referring to in the passage above), as well as fine art (production and criticism).

It's the cultural capital piece of his model that I find most interesting in the context of blogs, and that's what I'm trying to explore. Capital, of course, requires some kind of regulating authority (governmental, financial, etc), and that's where things like "number of links" and "a-list" bloggers start to factor in.

not to be heavily contextual, but 'depends so strongly on beleif' is the key here. nearly all social worlds depend on this belief, but in the case of academia in the 70's in france.... and you look at how he measures it, and i think you'll tend to see that the quote makes alot of sense.

actually, capital, if it is symbolic capital does not need a regulating authority necessarily, that is one of baudrillard's insights in for a critique of the political economy of the sign.... however for bourdieu, i agree, symbolic capital is governed by its milieu, culture, etc.

Perhaps some of the questions raised by -g can be elucidated by referring to the full sentence that Bourdieu draws from Hobbes:

Reputation of power is power, because it draweth with it the adherence of those that need protection. [from Chapter 10 of the first part of Leviathan "Of Power, Worth, Dignity, Honour, and Worthiness"]

The academic habitus is certainly characterized by an interesting set of players that do and do not need protection or invest differently in Grades and Tenure.

Perhaps more apt for the networked environment of computer-mediated communication is this other Hobbes sentence:
"Also, what quality soever maketh a man beloved or feared of many, or the reputation of such quality, is power, is a means to have the assistance and service of many."

Little bits of power can affect great movement. Is this where the paper is going, Liz?




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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on October 5, 2003 4:24 PM.

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