Thompson Studies In The Theory Of Ideology Notes

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Chapter Two - Symbolic Violence: Language and power in the writings of Pierre Bourdieu Reproduction of legitimate language
* Bourdieu attacks the separation of language from the social conditions of its production
* to practice this separation is 'tacitly to accept the official definition of the official language of a political unit'
# so linguistic practices represent power structures
* we must reconstruct the historical process by which a unified and asymmetrically structures linguistic market was formed
* In France, this process began with the promotion of the Ile de France dialect to the status of official language
* this gave the bourgeoisie de facto monopoly over the political apparatus and central power
* this was pushed forwards by the educational system, which came to be seen as the principal means of access to the labour market
* this leads to symbolic domination, where those dominated apply the dominant criteria of evaluation to their own practices
# i.e. judge their shortcomings in terms of their position in the language market etc. Power and the performative utterance
* Speakers do not just acquire linguistic competence, whereby they can use grammar correctly
* the also acquire practical competence, whereby they can produce the appropriate sentence
* philosophers (e.g. Chomsky) who hold the former doctrine neglect the social conditions for the establishment of communication
# in some situations certain individuals or groups of individuals, are effectively excluded from communication - there are relations of force here
* Utterances such as 'I do' and 'I name this ship the Queen Elizabeth' Bourdieu calls performative utterances
* the efficacy of performative utterances cannot be separated from the institution which defines the conditions to be fulfilled for the utterance to be effective
# there must be authority, or symbolic capital, behind the statement
* Authority comes from outside language, so we must examine the structures and properties of the linguistic markets within which expressions are exchanged Linguistic Markets
* Linguistic markets (in which expressions are exchanged) have certain structures
* these markets are the site of struggles between entrants, who seek to alter its structure in their favour, and established agents/groups, who seek to preserve the order
* hence the structure of the market is a certain state of the relation of force between the agents/groups engaged in struggle
* There are different markets to represent different kinds of capital - symbolic, economic, cultural etc
* capital acquired in one market can be converted into capital in another market
# e.g. educational qualifications can lead to lucrative jobs
* Despite the antagonism, those engaged in struggles share an interest in preserving the market (why?)
* hence they help to reproduce the game

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