Symbolic Violence and Collective Identity: Pierre Bourdieu and the Ethics of Resistance

Social movement researchers have only recently begun to make use of the rich explanatory leverage offered by Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice. The normative implications of his framework remain almost entirely undeveloped. This paper seeks to redress these shortcomings by applying central concepts from Bourdieu’s work — symbolic violence and his realist philosophy of science — to social movement analysis. Using North American lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer collective identities to illustrate this application, the paper advocates shifting analysis of collective identities from models based on negotiation to one based on domination and advocates treatment of social movement organizations as sites of justice amenable to normative evaluation and critique.

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Read also: Bourdieu and Social Movements: Considering Identity Movements in Terms of Field, Capital and Habitus

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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