Religion and cultural politics: Islam and Bourdieu

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Robbins, Derek (2013)
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications

This text follows closely a paper given in May 2007 to the third seminar, held at University College London, of an ESRC seminar series co-organized by the author, Nirmal Puwar (Goldsmiths College, University of London) and Azzedine Haddour (University College London) entitled ‘Pierre Bourdieu in Algeria: Testimonies of Uprooting’. The paper offers a preliminary discussion of Bourdieu’s analysis of Islam in his first book, Sociologie de l’Algérie (1958). It suggests that, as a young philosopher aspiring to undertake social anthropological or sociological research, he sought to reconcile the legacies of Durkheim and Weber. The methodology and conceptual apparatus deployed in this early text did not enable Bourdieu to appreciate the function for social agents of their religious practices and affiliations in a way which might have been possible for him in his later, ‘post-structuralist’ phase. As a ‘Research Note’, the text is reproduced so as to encourage further detailed study of Bourdieu’s work within the Algerian context and to suggest lines of inquiry in relation to his early intellectual formation.
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