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Bourdieu and Literature

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John R. W. Speller

3. Autonomy

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1Having set out Bourdieu’s theory and method of literature analysis and introduced its latest developments, this chapter explores Bourdieu’s under-examined but central concept of autonomy, as the point at which the concepts of field, habitus, and capital intersect. The concept of autonomy is fundamental to Bourdieu’s thinking about literary fields, because it is through an historical process of autonomisation and differentiation that fields become constituted. It is also this process that leads to the constitution of the dispositions characteristic of the ’pure’ writer, motivated by literary ends alone, and to the birth of the literary ’intellectual’, first embodied by Zola. Autonomy is also bound inseparably to ’symbolic capital’ (the respect given to the literary vocation, the sacredness of literary texts and idols), which gives force to the field’s norms and injunctions, and also to ’cultural capital’, as one of the conditions of the production and transmission of specialist cultural knowledge and know-how.

2This chapter begins by tracing Bourdieu’s account of the emergence of the literary field as a long process of differentiation and symbolic capital accumulation. It does this in three phases. First, we will follow the evolution of the literary field through its main stages up to 1830, which Bourdieu identifies as a critical moment when a faction of writers turned their back on the buying and reading public and began a competition according to their own rules and standards. This section compares Bourdieu’s version of events to those of other literary critics and historians, and addresses some of the criticisms that have been made of it. The next section examines the opposition between art and money, which established itself, in the second phase of autonomisation, as one of the field’s fundamental ’mental structures’ and ’structuring principles’ in the years between 1830-1880. The third phase spans Zola’s intervention in the Dreyfus affair, the point at which, in Bourdieu’s account, writers broke out from their self-imposed isolationism, and brought the French literary field to what he describes as the high-point of its autonomy. We will then study the relations between autonomy and value, and follow Bourdieu’s attempts to build a more reasoned case for valuing literary works produced with an autonomous intention. The chapter closes with Bourdieu’s account of the reversals of autonomous gains occurring in the French literary and publishing fields, which, he warns, have now entered a period of ’restoration’ and ’involution’.

The evolution of the literary field

  • 1 ’At the very foundation of the theory of fields is the observation (which is already found in Spen (...)
  • 2 Bourdieu translates nomos (derived from the Greek νομός) in the usual way as ’law’, but also as ’c (...)
  • 3 ’an economic world reversed’ (trans. J.S.).

3’Au fondement de la théorie des champs’, Bourdieu writes, ’il y a le constat (qu’on trouve déjà chez Spencer, chez Durkheim, chez Weber...) que le monde social est le lieu d’un processus de différenciation progressive’ (RP,158).1 Beginning with tribal communities characterised, according to Durkheim, by an original state of homogeneity and the pervasiveness of religion, human societies have evolved into highly differentiated nation states, in which politics, economics, religion, and so on form separate ’spheres of activity’ (Weber). Picking up in particular from Weber, the second key term Bourdieu uses to understand this process is autonomisation. Insofar as each field becomes differentiated from the others, it imposes its own (auto-) nomos on its members: nomos signifying the ’fundamental law’ or ’rules of the game’ which determine the relative positions and possible position-takings of all the agents involved in each particular field.2 Bourdieu offers as particularly striking examples of alternative nomoi the artistic and economic fields, where the hierarchy in each is almost the opposite of that found in the other. The field of cultural production is ’un monde économique à l’envers’,3 in which writers can succeed according to its standards only by ignoring or flouting the demands of the market (RA, 139; 356).

  • 4 Pierre Bourdieu, ’Le Marché des biens symboliques’; ’Champ intellectuel et projet créateur’; MP, 3 (...)
  • 5 Bourdieu, ’Le Marché des biens symboliques’, p. 67. ’A total spectacle [unifying] each of the form (...)
  • 6 Bourdieu cites in support of this contention a long list of ethnographers and their work, includin (...)
  • 7 ’from analogical reason (that of myth or rite) to logical reason (that of philosophy)’ (Meditation (...)
  • 8 Bourdieu’s reference here is Ernst Cassirer, Individu et cosmos (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1983).
  • 9 Alain Viala, Naissance de l’écrivain (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1985).
  • 10 ’In effect, for a long time this process remains ambiguous, even contradictory, to the extent that (...)

4In several texts, Bourdieu sketches the history of French literature as part of this much vaster process of differentiation-autonomisation, which has proceeded at different rates and rhythms in different national traditions.4 In early societies, literary art was unified within ’un spectacle total et immédiatement accessible [unissant] toutes les formes d’expression, musique, danse, théâtre et chant’.5 Art was then a communal enterprise, and there was a fluid distinction between the ’performers’ and the ’audience’, whose roles were interchangeable.6 The first cultural field to form a specialist corps was probably Greek philosophy, in the fifth century B.C. Its social separation from the politico-religious field was accompanied by a mental shift ’de la raison analogique (celle du mythe et du rite) à la raison logique (celle de la philosophie)’ (MP, 27-28).7 After a hiatus in the Middle Ages, the process began again with the Renaissance in fifteenth-century Florence, where the fields of art, literature, and science separated from philosophy and religion.8 It was interrupted again by two centuries of absolutist rule by the European monarchies and the Counter-reformation. It was during this period, however, that writers received a measure of social recognition (above manual labourers, but without being integrated in the dominant class), which both fixed and consolidated their social position. In France, a significant gain was the establishment of the Académie française in 1635, which gave writers their own central authority, endowed with a specific literary legitimacy. Yet Bourdieu contests Alain Viala’s thesis, in Naissance de l’écrivain, that it was at this moment that the figure of the ’writer’ definitively appeared.9 ’En effet’, Bourdieu writes, ’ce processus reste longtemps ambigu, voire contradictoire, dans la mesure où les artistes doivent payer d’une dépendance statutaire à l’égard de l’État la reconnaissance et le statut officiel qu’il leur accorde’ (RA, 193, n. 1).10 It was not until the second half of the nineteenth century, on Bourdieu’s time-line, that the French literary field reached a degree of autonomy it has not exceeded since, with the almost total separation of cultural power from the state and the market.

  • 11 See Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism ( (...)

5Pascale Casanova embellishes and extends this account in her study of La République mondiale des lettres. World literary space was created, to follow Casanova’s schema, in the sixteenth century, when Joachim du Bellay’s La Deffense et illustration de la langue française declared that French was the equal of Latin, and sparked a competition for linguistic prestige between nations that has not ceased to spread since, and in which literary capital is one of the main stakes. This competition played an important part in the construction of national consciousness and identities (what Benedict Anderson calls ’the revolutionary vernacularizing thrust of capitalism’), which led at once to the linguistic and political unification of nation states.11 Literature became a source of national pride, and the ’classics’ part of a nation’s common culture. Since then, however, Casanova’s thesis is that the struggle for literary prestige (or capital) has proceeded relatively independently of the struggles for world economic and political power, and that literature therefore constitutes a relatively autonomous field of competition and interests.

  • 12 Bourdieu, ’Le Marché des biens symboliques’, p. 52.

6This is also a point emphasised by Bourdieu from one of his earliest articles on literature and art, ’Le marché des biens symboliques’. By an apparent paradox, the ending of writers’ dependency on the state and aristocracy was made possible by the appearance of an expanding market, itself tied to rising levels of literacy, advances in printing, and to the concentration of large populations in ever-expanding cities. In response to this new market, the population of writers expanded, diversified, and professionalised, to cater to the new classes and categories of reader (for example women, the urban middle classes, and later the working class). There was also a proliferation of publishers, newspapers, reviews, literary magazines, salons, academies, and learned societies, which decentred the circuits of legitimisation and opened multiple channels for dissemination.12 Despite imposing new rules and demands on writers (particularly those of the market), this diversification also opened new possibilities for artistic liberty, as the market offered an alternative source of income and a new principle of legitimisation, freeing writers from direct patronage and restrictive commissions, and from the thematic and linguistic limits imposed by the obligation of catering to the particular tastes and expectations of the aristocracy. Yet writers could not fail to notice, Bourdieu surmises, that they now faced an anonymous and impersonal market, whose judgments could be more pitiless than those of their paternalistic patrons, and could create between them unheard-of disparities. It was partly in reaction to the appearance of so-called ’industrial’ literature, which followed successful formulas and was produced on demand, that a fraction of writers began a competition between themselves in the stakes of ’originality’ and ’independence’, which did not respond to some external order, but took its cue from its own history, in a rupture that was inseparably a rupture with political and moral authority. For these writers, literature became a battle against conventions – with the result that they succeeded in alienating the vast majority of readers, and formed their own restricted market.

  • 13 Jean-Paul Sartre, Qu’est-ce que la Littérature? (Paris: Gallimard 1964); Roland Barthes, Le Degré (...)
  • 14 ’without precedent’ (Rules, 63).
  • 15 Saint-Jacques and Viala, ’À propos du champ littéraire’, in Le Travail sociologique de Pierre Bour (...)

7By dating the moment of rupture to the years around 1830, Bourdieu agrees with literary critics and historians including Sartre and Barthes.13 Yet there has been some controversy over what Bourdieu meant by proposing this apparently non-contentious cut-off point. Denis Saint-Jacques and Alain Viala point to the ’contradiction’ between Bourdieu’s mention in Les Règles of antecedents to literary bohemia (such as those identified by Roger Darnton in the eighteenth century), and his affirmation that what occurred in the nineteenth-century was ’sans précédent’ (RA, 98).14 These authors find the same ’confusion’ and ’discrepancy’ between the first and second parts of the book.15 On my reading of Les Règles, Bourdieu is quite clear on this point (and in both parts):

  • 16 ’Though it is true that one can locate the moment when the slow process of emergence (as Ian Hacki (...)

S’il est vrai que l’on peut repérer le moment où le lent processus d’émergence (comme dit, très justement, Ian Hacking) d’une structure subit la transformation décisive qui semble conduire à l’accomplissement de la structure, il est tout aussi vrai que l’on peut situer en chacun des moments de ce processus continu et collectif l’émergence d’une forme provisoire de la structure, déjà capable d’orienter et de commander les phénomènes qui peuvent s’y produire, et contribuer ainsi à l’élaboration plus accomplie de la structure (RA, 222-23).16

8In the case of the literary and artistic fields, Bourdieu writes:

  • 17 ’Although it has to be admitted that the slow process which made possible the emergence of differe (...)

Si l’on doit admettre que c’est seulement à la fin du xixe siècle que parvient à son accomplissement le lent processus qui a rendu possible l’émergence des différents champs de production culturelle et la pleine reconnaissance sociale des personnages sociaux correspondants, le peintre, l’écrivain, le savant etc., il ne fait pas de doute qu’on peut en faire remonter les premiers commencements aussi loin que l’on voudra, c’est-à-dire au moment même où des producteurs culturels font leur apparition, qui luttent (presque par définition) pour faire reconnaître leur indépendance et leur dignité particulière (RA, 423 n. 61).17

9There is thus a double error to be avoided: the illusion of first beginnings (’never before’), encouraged by the cult of originality, and the illusion of constancy (’nothing new’), encouraged by the rigid signifiers ’field’, ’avantgarde’, ’writer’, etc. What is new in the nineteenth century is the position or post of the ’pure’ autonomous writer and the associated dispositions of disinterest (indifference to the verdicts of the market), moral neutrality (not immorality), and political independence (and, since Zola, an independent ’political’ authority): a social position and personage inconceivable to earlier epochs and in previous states of the field. Yet although new, the position of the modern writer, and the corresponding dispositions, did not emerge from nowhere. They were the product of a long collective process, which continued without field autonomy being at all times its immediate, eventual, or even conscious aim, but through writers’ struggles for social legitimacy and distinction.

10We can pause to assess what Bourdieu brings to literary history, which has for a long time stressed the evolutionary character of literary production. Bourdieu himself claims that there has been a veritable ’amnesia’ of literature and art’s historical genesis, requiring a sociological work of ’anamnesis’ to bring these historical conditions back into awareness. As is sometimes the unfortunate case with Bourdieu, this gives an excessively dim view of literary scholarship, and casts his own work in too favourable light. The history sketched by Bourdieu himself is only skeletal, and reaches a significant degree of detail only in his studies of the French literary field in the nineteenth century. For this period, however, we have already the studies by Sartre and Barthes, mentioned above, as well as innumerable others, by which Bourdieu’s account would be complemented. Indeed, it is hard to escape the feeling that Bourdieu’s historical analysis fails to live up in practice to the hubris of his theory (or at least to his self-commentary). Perhaps, we can suggest, it is both more realistic and useful to use Bourdieu’s account as a potted-history or thumb-nail account, which provides a broad outline in which to situate any particular object, but needs to be supplemented with wider reading, as well as more detailed scholarship. The trouble with Bourdieu’s rhetoric is that he seems at times to hardly encourage such an approach, although he does at others stress the ’unfinished’ and ’open’ character of his work (RA, 303). Critics need to be wary of simply repeating Bourdieu’s selfcommentary, while researchers need to know they need always also to look further afield than Bourdieu.

Art and money

11At the end of the second phase of the constitution of the literary field, between the years 1830-1880, the literary field settled down into a ’structure dualiste’, split between a ’pure’ or autonomous pole and ’commercial’ or heteronomous pole. This split fixed itself in people’s minds as ’une des structures fondamentales de la vision du monde dominante’: the opposition between art and money (RA, 156). For Bourdieu, the imposition of this ’principle of vision and division’ (nomos) was a major step on the road to autonomy. Literature no longer needed to justify itself in terms of public popularity or political or religious approval. The field could now produce its own value and legitimisation, deemed to be ’disinterested’ and ’irreducible’ to monetary value. Yet Bourdieu argues this mental shift (Thomas Kuhn, in another context, would have spoken of a ’paradigm shift’), which saw the value of art for its own sake, was achieved at the cost of a wholesale repression of economic interest by everyone involved in literary production, who could no longer admit – perhaps even to themselves – any motivation other than their selfeffacing dedication to Art. Indeed, Bourdieu sees a sort of generalised ’euphémisation’ pervading both the literary and artistic fields, which exclude systematically economic vocabulary and all mention of money:

  • 18 ’The art dealer calls herself a gallery director; publisher is a euphemism for book dealer, or buy (...)

le marchand de tableaux se dit plutôt directeur de galerie; éditeur est un euphémisme pour marchand de livres, ou acheteur de force de travail littéraire (au xixe siècle, les écrivains se comparaient souvent à des prostituées…) L’éditeur dit à un jeune auteur aux fins de mois difficiles: ’Regardez Beckett, il n’a jamais touché un sou de ses droits d’auteur !’ Et le pauvre écrivain est dans ses petits souliers, il n’est pas sûr d’être Beckett et il est sûr qu’il a la bassesse de réclamer de l’argent… (RP, 198).18

12The discussion of money, especially the economic cost and value of artistic works, became somehow shameful or taboo, as art and money became ’compartmentalised’ (opposed in people’s minds). Indeed, economic logic, which makes money the ultimate aim of all practices, was for a time inverted (a state that was by no means eternal or inevitable). For ’pure’ writers, money became a means to an end, but art was an end in itself.

  • 19 ’a kind of ’economic’ capital denied but recognized, and hence legitimate – a veritable credit cap (...)
  • 20 Bourdieu, ’The (Three) Forms of Capital’, p. 253.
  • 21 ’all those who have an interest in it, who find a material or symbolic profit in reading it, class (...)

13Yet if writers sacrificed economic profit, they received a different form of ’symbolic’ capital, which offered its own rewards and gratifications, and which could even provide access to economic remuneration. Bourdieu defines symbolic capital ’comme capital ”économique” dénié, reconnu, donc légitime, véritable crédit, capable d’assurer, sous certaines conditions et à long terme, des profits ”économiques”’ (RA, 235).19 Indeed, Bourdieu sees a sort of ’loi de la conservation de l’énergie sociale’ (RA, 284), according to which ’profits in one area are necessarily paid for by costs in another (so that a concept like wastage has no meaning in a general science of the economy of practices)’.20 The investment of not simply money but, in the final instance, of time and energy (labour-time) – which is, however, always linked to economic expenditure due to the inter-convertibility of time and money – produces a symbolic form of capital, which can later be ’converted’ at varying rates and with various levels of difficulty (involving further loss or expenditure) into an economic form. This work is performed not just by the individual writer or artist, but by all those who have a hand in raising the value of the work, including critics, authors, enthusiastic booksellers, and readers: ’tous ceux qui s’y intéressent, qui trouvent un intérêt materiel ou symbolique à la lire, la classer, la déchiffrer, la commenter, la reproduire, la critiquer, la combattre, la connaître, la posséder’ (RA, 286).21 It can be compressed into a period of frenetic activity, as was the case, for instance, with Madame Bovary, which provoked a public scandal and a full-scale defence. Too rapid or easy success, however, is often seen as something suspicious, as if the ritual had been reduced to give-and-take (RA, 345-46). As in a gift exchange, it is the interval of time and the apparently gratuitous expenditure of effort (the paper, the bow…) that separate the initial act of creation from its economic remuneration, and allow the writer to experience his motivation as entirely ’disinterested’. Bourdieu writes:

  • 22 ’it is both true and false to say (with Marx, for example) that the market value of the work of ar (...)

Il est à la fois vrai et faux, on le voit, de dire (avec Marx par exemple) que la valeur marchande de l’œuvre d’art est sans commune mesure avec son coût de production: vrai, si l’on prend en compte seulement la fabrication de l’objet matériel, dont l’artiste (ou du moins le peintre) est seul responsable; faux, si l’on entend la production de l’œuvre d’art comme objet sacré et consacré, produit d’une immense entreprise d’alchimie symbolique à laquelle collaborent, avec la même conviction et des profits très inégaux, l’ensemble des agents engagés dans le champ de production (RA, 284).22

  • 23 ’ [Flaubert] was smarter than us, [...] he had the intelligence to come into the world with some p (...)

14In the interval between the production of the autonomous artwork and its imposition on the market, writers of course needed to find some way to survive. Bourdieu provides a useful snapshot of the sorts of strategies that nineteenth-century writers used to win greater social status and financial security. Some of these, he admits, were paradoxical or counter-intuitive. For instance, the new positions in the culture industry, in journalism or publishing, provided writers to whom the profession would previously have been closed with the means (if no doubt meagre) to support their writing. This was the case with Théophile Gautier (often credited with having invented the phrase l’art pour l’art), and Émile Zola. Of course, the obligation to earn a living was still a hindrance, and in this and other respects writers like Flaubert with a private income (or like Virginia Woolf, with money and a room of her own) had a significant advantage: allowing for the sort of single-minded dedication and resistance to compromise for which the author of Madame Bovary has become celebrated as a sort of ideal. As Gautier commented with undisguised envy to Ernest Feydeau, Flaubert ’a eu plus d’esprit que nous, (…) il a eu l’intelligence de venir au monde avec un patrimoine quelconque, chose qui est absolument indispensable à quiconque veut faire de l’art’.23

  • 24 ’the routes of autonomy are complex, if not impenetrable’ (Rules, 52).

15Bourdieu finds another unexpected source of material and symbolic support for writers in the salon of Napoleon’s niece Princess Mathilde. Mathilde’s patronage and protection may have been less enlightened than political. Posing as a liberal guardian of French culture and the arts was a way for Mathilde to distinguish herself from the Empress Eugénie, the unpopular Spanish wife of Napoléon III. Yet the most autonomous writers of the day, including Flaubert, Sainte-Beuve, Taine, George Sand, and Gautier (whom Mathilde appointed her librarian and cultural advisor in 1868, releasing him from his crippling journalistic work) were able to benefit from the struggles among the dominant to secure their positions both economically and socially: an appointment to the senate for Sainte-Beuve, the prize of the Académie française for George Sand, the Légion d’honneur for Taine and Flaubert (this against Flaubert’s rather offhand remark that ’les honneurs déshonorent’) (RA, 91-93). The literary field could also create its own symbolic capital, by holding its own celebrations (public readings, award ceremonies, meetings, etc.), creating positive representations of artists in literary works themselves, and by publishing treatises and criticism which swung between the normative and the descriptive, by defining literary ’quality’ and ’value’. Bourdieu cites as examples Murger’s Scènes de la vie de bohème and Balzac’s Traité de la vie élégante, which contributed to create the social reality they described: i.e., the writer and artist as a recognisable figure, and the artist’s way of life as a respectable – and ’possible’ – social role (RA, 99-100). In particular, these works contributed to transform the material and economic hardship of the ’struggling artist’ or poète maudit (otherwise imposed by the law of the market) into an elected ideal (cf. MP, 127). ’Les voies de l’autonomie sont complexes’, Bourdieu writes, ’sinon impénétrables’ (RA, 92),24 involving symbiotic and sometimes double-edged relations between opposing interests.

  • 25 Pierre-Marc de Biasi, ’Préface’, in Gustave Flaubert, L’Éducation sentimentale (Paris: Librairie G (...)

16Bourdieu’s theory of the relation between art and money treads a fine line between the cynical view of economic self-interest, and the idealisation of literary life. Sometimes he slips. Bourdieu has a particular tendency to idealise Flaubert, whom he raises to a sort of paragon of artistic purity and disinterest. Certainly, Flaubert showed supreme dedication to his work. The ’hermit of Croisset’ never married (although he later regretted it), was a noted perfectionist and spent long hours searching for ’le mot juste’. Yet Flaubert was not perhaps as impervious to the demands of publishers and the public as Bourdieu suggests (and as Flaubert himself liked sometimes to pretend, especially to other writers) (RA, 144-45). Bourdieu forgets to mention, for instance, that Flaubert was contractually obliged by his publisher Michel Lévy to write another ’modern’ novel after Salammbô, to reprise the success of Madame Bovary, the result of which was the second L’Éducation sentimentale.25 And the little attention given by Bourdieu to Salammbô also overlooks its considerable commercial success. Given that Flaubert is in many ways a sort of alter-ego for Bourdieu (who sometimes writes of Flaubert as if he were writing about himself), we might even see this idealisation as part of an unquestioned assumption, running throughout Les Règles (as indeed through his entire output), that when Flaubert (or Bourdieu) does something, he does it for purely conscious and laudable motives, whereas when other intellectuals do something, they do it for hidden or unconscious reasons relating to their positions in the intellectual field – reasons that only Bourdieusian sociology can lay bare. This seems to amount to a rather significant unquestioned epistemological bias in Bourdieu’s work, and indicates the limitations of really existing reflexivity as practiced by Bourdieu.

Zola and the Dreyfus affair

  • 26 See Joseph Jurt, ’Gattungshierarchie und Karrierestrategien im XIX. Jahrhundert’, Lendemains, 36 ( (...)
  • 27 Émile Zola, Le Roman expérimental (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1971).

17After the initial ’conquête de l’autonomie’ and ’émergence d’une structure dualiste’, Émile Zola’s intervention in the Dreyfus Affair brought the evolution of the literary field in the direction of autonomy to its end (RA, 216). Zola might seem an unlikely hero in the history of the process of autonomisation. In his time, Zola was the most commercially successful author in French history.26 Yet while Zola’s books found an expanding market of readers eager for new products, he also earned the respect of his field. Bourdieu identifies three factors which together combined to protect Zola from the field’s emerging logic. Zola’s vision of determinism and social conflict (which we might link to his social background and position in the ascendant fraction of the petite bourgeoisie) found resonances with modern science and medicine, with Darwinism and the clinician’s gaze, at a time when the scientist was becoming an emblematic social figure in France. According to Bourdieu, Zola explicitly associated his theory of the ’roman expérimental’ with the scientific method of Claude Bernard, in order to avoid the suspicion of vulgarity raised by the ’low’ social milieus depicted in his novels and by the wide public readership they attracted. At the same time, Zola made himself the spokesman and theoretician of artistic liberty, most notably in his defence of Manet, but asserting simultaneously his own independence.27 Even in the stylistic features of his works, Bourdieu argues, Zola affirmed the difference and dignified distance of the Man of Letters from the crowd, maintaining a distinction between the language of his working-class characters and that of the narrative voice, to which he gives the rhythms, syntax, and techniques, of high literature (RA, 198).

  • 28 See Christophe Charle, Naissance des intellectuels’ 1880-1900 (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1990), (...)

18Yet Zola may not have continued to avoid the discredit to which the volume of his sales exposed him, had he not intervened in the Dreyfus Affair, and succeeded in changing, at least partially, the ’principles of perception and appreciation’ by which writers’ positions are evaluated (RA, 215). In the short-term, Zola was ruined, his name was blackened, and he was forced into exile. But his intervention proved decisive in shifting public opinion in support of the disgraced Jewish officer; and when Dreyfus was reinstated, Zola emerged a hero, of whom no-one could doubt the integrity and independence.28 According to Bourdieu, Zola’s action released writers from the self-imposed isolation and insularity they had accepted as the price of their autonomy; yet his intervention was also founded upon that autonomy. Zola did not convert into a politician, like François Guizot or Alphonse de Lamartine. Nor did he try to compete with his political masters at their own game, like Rousseau writing a Constitution for Poland. Instead, Zola intervened in the political sphere as an intellectual, in the name of the values and principles in operation in his own field – which ruled out the possibility of abdicating his authority and conviction in favour of political expediency or social approval. At the same time, Zola’s action re-enforced the autonomy of his field, by affirming the independence of the mandatories of those values from every particular interest, even the interests of state or the private interests of the individual. Bourdieu writes:

  • 29J’Accuse is the outcome and the fulfilment of a collective process of emancipation that is progre (...)

Le ’J’accuse’ est l’aboutissement et l’accomplissement du processus collectif d’émancipation qui s’est progressivement accompli dans le champ de production culturelle: en tant que rupture prophétique avec l’ordre établi, il réaffirme, contre toutes les raisons d’État, l’irréductibilité des valeurs de vérité et de justice, et, du même coup, l’indépendance des gardiens de ces valeurs par rapport aux normes de la politique (celles du patriotisme par exemple), et aux contraintes de la vie économique (RA, 216).29

19Bourdieu rejects the idea that intellectuals lose their political power as they gain in autonomy. In fact, he sees a qualitative change in the form of that power, which is no longer dependent on political legitimacy, but is able to provide a rival authority (RA, 217 n. 19). Similarly, he challenges the assumption that intellectuals sacrifice their autonomy when they intervene in political affairs. By an apparent paradox, it is by affirming their right to transgress the most sacred values of the state – those of patriotism, for example, with Zola’s incendiary accusations against high figures in the army (or later, during the war in Algeria, with the call to support the enemy), that intellectuals can assert their independence to the highest degree (RA, 550).

20Bourdieu’s celebration in Les Règles of Zola’s ’inaugural’ intervention, which ’invented’ the new figure and conception of the ’intellectual’, may seem to imply that he had fallen victim to the very the illusion of ’first beginnings’ against which we have seen him warn his readers. Elsewhere, however, Bourdieu does acknowledge ’precursors’ to Zola, in Victor Hugo, who published political pamphlets in exile under the authority of his literary fame; in Edgar Quinet, who combined literary writing with activism; and as far back as Voltaire, who, in the entry under ’l’homme de lettres’ in the Dictionnaire philosophique already had opposed the ’engagement’ of the ’philosophes’ to the scholasticism of the ’doctes’ in the universities and academies (I, 258). Yet whilst acknowledging this lineage, Bourdieu also insists that Zola was the first to have finally transcended the alternative between commitment and withdrawal, two options between which intellectuals had swung like a pendulum throughout history. The ’commitment’ of the ’philosophes’ was continued by the ’men of letters’ during the French Revolution, then followed by the Romantic withdrawal, and back again to engagement in a reaction to the Restoration. Disillusioned by the defeat of the revolutionary movement of 1848 and the establishment of the Second Empire, Flaubert and Baudelaire’s generation retreated again, this time into an elitist rejection of contemporary art and society. This ivory tower provided Zola, however, with a platform from which to launch his political campaign. Indeed, Zola’s action worked to enshrine political engagement in the very definition of he the ’intellectual’ which, Bourdieu reminds us, asserted itself as a category during the Dreyfus Affair. The role of the intellectual in France has since been essentially two-dimensional, defined by a combination of autonomy and commitment: a tradition continued by prominent French intellectuals including Sartre, Foucault, and Bourdieu.

21Yet Bourdieu also warns us that Zola’s model of autonomous engagement is not set in stone. Cultural producers can always ’regress’ towards one side or another of the alternative between the ivory tower and the political actor (journalist, politician, or expert) (RA, 551). It is also possible, however, for the model to be improved – and it may need to be, as the traditional forms of intellectual intervention (petitions, open letters, public declarations, etc.), which have hardly developed since Zola’s time, lose their symbolic force and efficacy in competition with new forms of communication, control, and censorship. As we will see in Chapter 5, this was the backdrop to Bourdieu’s appeal for the establishment of an ’intellectuel collectif’, which could summon the combined symbolic capital of the intellectual community in support for political ventures, one of the organisational bases he envisaged for which was the International Parliament of Writers. It was also behind his call for the invention of new forms of symbolic action, which would be able to compete with the dominant representations of social reality spread in newspapers, films, radio and television: for intellectuals, including literary authors, to use their specific skills as weapons in a cultural politics.

Reversals

  • 30 ’truly irreversible’ (Rules, 242).
  • 31 ’new entrants (…) may skip over the more or less heroic sacrifices and ruptures of the past’ (Rule (...)
  • 32 ’One could ask whether the division into two markets characteristic of the fields of cultural prod (...)

22Reading Les Règles and Bourdieu’s earlier writings on the French literary and artistic fields, we can fall under the impression that they have been building their autonomy progressively over the centuries, until the 1800s when they finally broke free from direct dependency on the state, market, and religion, from which point their histories have proceeded according to their own internal logics. And we can be surprised when we reach Les Règles’s post-script, only to be told that we have now entered a period of ’restauration’. At one stage, Bourdieu describes the history of the literary field as ’réellement irréversible’ (RA, 398).30 Each new generation can pick up where the previous generation left off, ’les nouveaux entrants (…) peuvent faire les économies des ruptures plus ou moins héroïques du passé’ (RA, 424),31 so that there seems to be an internal momentum towards ever greater autonomy. References to contemporary ’regressions’ are few and far between. As its ’sub-’ or perhaps its ’real’ title indicates, Les Règles is concerned above all with understanding the ’genèse et structure du champ littéraire’, and has little to say about the reverse process of ’involution’. This, however, would seem from the post-script to be what was required more urgently: ’on peut se demander si la division en deux marchés, qui est caractéristique des champs de production depuis le milieu du xixe siècle (…) n’est pas menacée de disparition (…). Il faudrait analyser les nouvelles formes de mainmise et de dépendance, comme celles qu’instaure le mécénat, et contre lesquelles les ’bénéficiaires’ n’ont pas encore développé de systèmes de défense appropriés’, and so on (RA, 554-55).32

  • 33 Pierre Bourdieu, ’Une Révolution conservatrice dans l’édition’, Actes de la recherche en sciences (...)
  • 34 ’We are in a catastrophic situation, in which it is more necessary than ever to give new strength (...)

23In fact, Bourdieu’s only major contribution to this programme of research is one of his final published pieces of empirical research, ’Une Révolution conservatrice dans l’édition’,33 which maps the French publishing field, and analyses the ways editorial policies are determined by factors from the delegation of decisions to ’reading committees’ to private investment by shareholders or parent companies. His far greater involvement was through his more punctual and publicised political interventions, where Bourdieu lent his symbolic capital as professor at the prestigious Collège de France, and his scientific credibility, to the growing number of voices in France who were already warning against the effects on the French cultural field of commercialisation and of American cultural hegemony. In this he was acting on his insight that academic research has no intrinsic impact, and that the struggle to reveal the truth must also be accompanied by a social struggle to be believed. ’Nous sommes dans une situation catastrophique’, Bourdieu declared, referring to the Greek katastrophē, which he translates as ’renversement’, ’dans laquelle nous avons besoin plus que jamais, de redonner de la force à la critique intellectuelle’ (I, 471-72).34

  • 35 See Yves Surel, ’Le Destin de la loi Lang du 10 août 1981’, in Le Prix du livre 1981- 2006, La loi (...)

24The picture that emerges from Bourdieu’s political writings and more fully worked out analyses is certainly bleak, and goes against much of what we are usually told about the expansion of the culture industry, with its increased choice and availability, and economies of scale. In the 1970s, the French publishing industry had entered a phase of rapid concentration, which culminated in the creation, in the 1980s and 1990s, of two publishing giants, Hachette and Havas. Owned by corporations with nothing, historically, to do with literature (on one hand, Mécanique Avion Traction, or Matra, specialists in the aeronautics and armaments industry; on the other, Vivendi Universal, formed in a merger of Presses de la Cité and La Compagnie générale des eaux), these corporations comprised scores of imprints, and managed annual turnovers of hundreds of millions of French francs (RC, 7). According to Bourdieu, the sheer scale of these enterprises determined their editorial policies, demanding quick returns on their capital to cover overheads and a rapid succession of titles to keep the cogs of the machine turning (cf. RA, 243-44). Of course, some publishers resisted commercialisation, notably Les Éditions de Minuit, which, along with scattered provincial and often fledgling publishers, represented (by 1999) one of the last bastions of literary-editorial autonomy (RC, 26). Of particular concern to Bourdieu, however, was the disappearance of the specialist bookstores upon which these specialist publishers relied (along with avant-garde critics and reviews) to give a start to their most inventive and controversial new signings, as supermarket chains such as Leclerc and media mega-stores like Fnac entered the book-selling trade (RC, 14). According to Yves Surel, as a direct consequence of their aggressive pricing policies the market share of traditional bookstores fell from 51 % in 1968 to around 31 % in 1981: replaced by chain-stores locked in competition for profit, and with little interest in promoting non-commercial, experimental literature.35

  • 36 ’This blurring of boundaries to which so-called ’media-oriented’ producers are spontaneously incli (...)

25Bourdieu was also concerned by the rise of powerful new instances of literary consecration, notably on television (of which the paradigm was the discussion programme Apostrophes). These self-proclaimed authorities were challenging traditional authorities, such as the school, literary prizes, journals, etc., and increasingly acted as gatekeepers to the public sphere. Of course, cultural journalists would still doff their caps at established authors, and profess their appreciation for the Classics. But they also praised as the heirs and equals of great writers authors whose work presented little that was new, and whose work might even mark a regression in comparison to the achievements of the past. According to Bourdieu, the much bemoaned ’crise du roman français’, and much celebrated ’retour au récit’, were symptoms of this ’restoration’ of commercially successful forms and genres (adventure stories, crime fiction, horror, fantasy, children’s fiction made reputable for adults, all in their most facile forms) to the top of the literary hierarchy. Bourdieu says, ’ce brouillage des frontières auquel les producteurs dits ’médiatiques’ sont spontanément inclinés (comme en témoigne le fait que les palmarès journalistiques juxtaposent toujours les producteurs les plus autonomes et les plus hétéronomes) constitue la pire menace pour l’autonomie de la production culturelle’ (although surely only in some respects…) (RA, 556-57).36 Through it, commercial standards were being imposed within the Republic of Letters.

  • 37 ’books are not just products’ (trans. J.S.).
  • 38 François Rouet, Le Livre: Mutations d’une industrie culturelle (Paris: Documentation française, 19 (...)
  • 39 ’The book industry is not only in crisis, it is now in danger’ (trans. J.S.).
  • 40 Jean-Marie Bouvaist, Crise et mutations dans l’édition française (Paris: Cercle de la librairie, 1 (...)

26Bourdieu was not the only one sounding the alarm. From the 1970s, an increasing number of editors led by Jérôme Lindon (post-war owner and editor at Minuit) began to mobilise opposition under the banner ’le livre n’est pas un produit comme les autres37 to prevent commercially-driven distributors from offering vast reductions on editorially set prices, and from stocking their shelves almost exclusively with bestsellers. This lobby eventually won the support of the new Minister of Culture, Jack Lang, who in 1981 introduced the so-called ’Loi Lang’, setting the principle of a single fixed price for books, chosen by their editors, and to be respected by all distribution outlets. The subject had also attracted the attention of social scientists. In 1992, François Rouet’s Le Livre: mutations d’une industrie culturelle highlighted the fragile state of small and medium-sized publishers, and the destruction of the network of bookstores.38 ’Le livre est non seulement en crise’, Rouet warned, ’mais il est maintenant en danger’.39 And in 1995, Jean-Marie Bouvaist, in Crise et mutations dans l’édition française,40 had documented with great detail the history and evolution of the French publishing industry, which he describes as overrun by commercial logic.

27Bourdieu did not foresee the rise of internet publishing, blogs, e-books, and so on. But we can imagine he might have been sceptical of the promises often made in their name. Social-networking sites can take the place of cafés and bookshops in which artistic communities used to congregate; writers can publish their own material on-line and reach an international readership with unimaginable ease and speed; the digital medium allows for an unprecedented freedom of expression, linking text, film, graphics, and so on. Yet there might also be no more nightmarish vision of what is happening, if literary life is reduced to this ethereal and ephemeral existence, where writers and critics have to compete for position on popular-search engines, where symbolic capital is reduced to the number of anonymous clicks, where there is no prospect of economic profit, even in the long-term, and where the boundary between the artist and the general public is becoming once again indistinct.

Autonomy and value

  • 41 Ahearne, Jeremy, Between Cultural Theory and Policy: The Cultural Policy Thinking of Pierre Bourdi (...)

28Bourdieu does not stop at objectifying into a model the genesis and structure of the literary field, and the logic of its changes. He seems at times to endorse its judgments – i.e., to suggest that works written with a ’pure’ or ’autonomous’ intention are indeed more valuable than those influenced by external or ’heteronomous’ demands. Bourdieu usually stands back from questions of value in his ’scientific’ works, which aim for a sort of neutrality or ’double-negativity’, which treats both sides of any opposition with the same ’quasi-Flaubertian irony’ (Ahearne).41 Indeed, he insists on the difference between the post-script to Les Règles, when he comes out finally in support and defence for autonomy, from the chapters it follows, in that it expresses an explicitly ’normative’ position (RA, 545). Yet arguably there is a bias throughout Les Règles in favour of non-commercial literature, which is clearest in the choice of terms he uses. Bourdieu refers persistently in Les Règles to ’pure’ and ’bourgeois’ art, the polemical labels of the nineteenth century, while even the more technical concepts of ’autonomy’ and ’heteronomy’ are hardly value-free.

  • 42 ’When I say that comic strips are an inferior genre, you might imagine I really think that. So I h (...)

29This tendency to valorise works written with an autonomous intention cannot be reduced to the difficulty which faces all social and cultural analysts of how to distinguish between the systems of hierarchisation they observe in practice and their own value judgments (so that, as Bourdieu comments, ’quand je dis que la bande dessinée est un genre inférieur (…) il faut que je dise à la fois que c’est comme ça, mais que ce n’est pas moi qui le pense’ (CD, 67).42 In several places, Bourdieu hints that his theoretical model justifies the privilege of autonomous culture. This suggestion first appears in Bourdieu’s discussion of Flaubert and his ascetic dedication to his craft:

  • 43 ’Maybe there is here, for those who want it, a rather indisputable criterion of value for all arti (...)

Peut-être tient-on là, pour ceux qui le réclament, un critère assez indiscutable de la valeur de toute production artistique et, plus largement, intellectuelle, à savoir l’investissement dans l’œuvre qui peut se mesurer aux coûts en efforts, en sacrifices de tous ordres et, en définitive, en temps, et qui va de pair, de ce fait, avec l’indépendance par rapport aux forces et aux contraintes qui s’exercent de l’extérieur du champ ou, pire, de l’intérieur, comme les séductions de la mode ou les pressions du conformisme éthique ou logique avec, par exemple, les problématiques obligées, les sujets imposés, les formes d’expression agréées, etc (RA, 145).43

  • 44 ’uncreated creator’(trans. J.S.).
  • 45 ’the fetishism of the master’s name’ (trans. J.S.).
  • 46 ’I have never really felt justified in existing as an intellectual’ (Meditations, 7).

30Here, Bourdieu ties the artistic value to the labour-time the creator has put into work, which would seem to be greater in the case of works that break rather than follow conventions, and which could presumably have been spent in more pleasurable or profitable activities (in the accumulation of social capital, economic capital, or symbolic capital, all of which also take time), making labour-time, according to Bourdieu, ’un critère assez indiscutable’ of cultural value. The first problem, of course, is that not every ground-breaking work requires great labour on the part of the artist or author. Indeed, at this point Bourdieu seems still not to have broken completely with what he himself calls the myth of ’créateur incréé’44 (or the ’fétiche du nom du maître’,45 after Walter Benjamin), which credits the author as the sole producer of the work and its value (cf. RA, 312-13; 376; 473), and even to have swapped one self-legitimating myth or ’sociodicée’ for another – for it is no more true that intellectuals and artists are all self-sacrificing workaholics than that they are all naturally gifted geniuses. We may also be hearing a personal and rather plaintive note here from Bourdieu himself, the largely self-taught petit-bourgeois from the provinces, who admits, ’je ne me suis jamais vraiment senti justifié d’exister en tant qu’intellectuel’ (MP, 16).46 It is likely that Bourdieu, who had to learn the hard way, would have identified with Flaubert’s welldocumented suffering (’les affres de l’Art’), and we can imagine he felt that his personal efforts in some way justified what he always considered to be the extremely privileged position he occupied.

  • 47 ’Born of a family of artists – his maternal grandfather, Émile-Frédéric Nicolle, is a painter and (...)

31Bourdieu’s nascent labour-theory of value is undermined most prominently by his own discussions of Marcel Duchamp. If Flaubert was something of an alter-ego, Duchamp was Bourdieu’s polar opposite: ’Issu d’une famille d’artistes – son grand-père maternel, Émile-Frédéric Nicole, est peintre et graveur, son frère aîné est le peintre Jacques Villon, son autre frère, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, est un sculpteur cubiste, l’aînée de ses soeurs est peintre – Marcel Duchamp est dans le champ artistique comme un poisson dans l’eau’ (RA, 406).47 Immersed in artistic culture from his earliest days, Duchamp was a virtuoso who had been through all the artistic styles by the age of twenty. Indeed, before giving it up for chess (which obliged a more monastic existence), he seems to have had little difficulty reconciling fine art with fast cars and a busy social life. It is Duchamp’s ’ready-mades’, however, that present Bourdieu’s theory of value with its most immediate difficulty. What could take less time and effort than scribbling R. Mutt on a urinal and displaying it on a plinth? And yet La Fontaine most definitely broke with ’les problématiques obligées’ and ’les sujets imposés’ in the field, as it was even rejected by the Society of Independent Artists.

  • 48 ’It required an enormous collective work before works like those of Joyce and Faulkner could be pr (...)
  • 49 ’We know, however, how much time is needed to create creators, i.e. social spaces of producers and (...)

32This rather exorbitant critique of what is, after all, only a tentative remark, at least illustrates the need to take a far wider and longer view of the work put into cultural production. Duchamp the individual may not have put a great deal of time or effort into mastering his craft, nor even into producing his works. For him, artistic prowess was an inheritance into which he was born almost as surely as a financial fortune. But the twentieth-century art-world he inhabited ’like a fish in water’ (in which he was also a tributary) was itself the product of a long collective labour, and the audacity that cost him little had its precedent in many centuries of struggles for artistic autonomy. Indeed, his works, especially his readymades, relied on the existence of an unprecedented array of international institutions and agents involved, full-time or part-time, in the recording, preserving, and analysing of works, and who partake in the celebration of works – which, as La Fontaine demonstrated in a practical way (almost like a sociological experiment) is the secret of their value (RA, 284-88). Bourdieu makes the same argument for Joyce and Faulkner: ’Il a fallu un travail collectif énorme pour arriver à produire des oeuvres comme celle de Joyce ou Faulkner, il a fallu des générations et des générations, il a fallu des institutions, des critiques, etc.’ (CP, 46).48 And also for writers including Kafka, Beckett and Gombrowicz, who in a sense ’ont été faits à Paris’: ’on sait tout le temps qui est nécessaire pour créer des créateurs, c’est-à-dire des espaces sociaux de producteurs et de récepteurs à l’intérieur desquels ils puissent apparaître, se développer et réussir’ (I, 422-23).49 In the last two instances, Bourdieu makes this argument in the context of presenting a case for the defence of artistic and literary autonomy, which, he warned, was collapsing under commercial pressure. Yet although intuitively appealing, even Bourdieu’s more fully worked out theory of cultural value appears, on closer inspection, hardly ’indiscutable’. Many of us put a lot of time and effort into things which really contribute little to the sum of human happiness (what Bourdieu would in later years call ’l’économie du bonheur’). In the current climate of anti-intellectualism, aimed particularly at the Humanities, those of us with an interest in literary culture will have to do better than that.

  • 50 ’an instrument of freedom presupposing freedom, as a modus operandi allowing the permanent superse (...)
  • 51 ’the products of this relatively autonomous history present a kind of cumulativity (Rules, 242).
  • 52 ’what confers on his work its incomparable value, is that it makes contact, at least negatively, w (...)

33Elsewhere, we will see Bourdieu develops an instrumentalist vision of cultural value, which appears only marginally and obliquely in Les Règles – when he speaks for instance of literary works as ’instruments de production, donc d’invention et de liberté possible’ (RA, 495 n. 26), or of culture more generally as an ’instrument de liberté supposant la liberté, comme modus operandi permettant le dépassement permanent de l’opus operatum.50 Although Bourdieu does not do so himself, it might even be possible to link these two arguments within a theory of cumulativity, and an initial attempt to so has been made in this chapter. Bourdieu already suggests with reference to the evolution of the literary field that ’les produits de cette histoire relativement autonome présentent une forme de cumulativité’ (RA, 398),51 by increasing the repertoire of stylistic, technical, thematic, etc. possibilities available within the tradition. For example, in the case of Flaubert Bourdieu writes that ’ce qui confère à son oeuvre une valeur incomparable, c’est qu’il entre en relation, au moins négativement, avec la totalité de l’univers littéraire dans lequel il est inscrit et dont il prend en charge complètement les contradictions, les difficultés et les problèmes’ (RA, 167).52 In a series of ruptures – with realism and romanticism, prose and poetry, Balzac the grand precursor and less important writers such as Champfleury and Murger – Flaubert invented an entirely new way of writing the modern novel, which was nevertheless built on what had come before.

  • 53 Pierre Bourdieu, ’L’Invention de la vie d’artiste’, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 1 (...)
  • 54 Hans Haacke, ’A Public Servant’, October, 101 (2002), 4-6 (p. 5).
  • 55 Graw, ’Que Suis-Je?’ ’We are returning to patronage’ (trans. J.S.).

34Yet the question of cultural value and its relation to autonomy remains underdeveloped by Bourdieu. Indeed, few commentators have picked up previously on his suggestion that cultural works might have any value at all that was not the product of ’misrecognition’ (méconnaissance). This may be because the bulk of Bourdieu’s work, including the essays included in Les Règles, were conceived as critical, that is, they were designed to unseat unfounded ’illusions’ and ’beliefs’. It is also no doubt because the high cultural game they exposed had seemed quite secure, and able to survive some deflation during the period in which they were written. Bourdieu’s thought seems also to have evolved, especially since his 1975 article ’L’Invention de la vie d’artiste’, which concluded that Flaubert was effectively merely reproducing the deluded ideological viewpoint of the French nineteenth-century bourgeoisie.53 It was only later that Bourdieu started claiming a ’universal’ value for Flaubert’s work, related to his autonomy. In a 1992 interview, Bourdieu even admits to having thought the artistic field was becoming more autonomous, and that he had only changed his mind after his conversations with the German conceptual artist Hans Haacke (whom he first met in 198954), who warned him: ’attention, on retombe dans le mécénat...’55

Notes

1 ’At the very foundation of the theory of fields is the observation (which is already found in Spencer, Durkheim, Weber…) that the social world is the site of a process of progressive differentiation’ (Practical Reason, 83).

2 Bourdieu translates nomos (derived from the Greek νομός) in the usual way as ’law’, but also as ’constitution’, which reminds his readers of its historical institution, and as ’principle of vision and division’, which is closer to the original etymology (MP, 116).

3 ’an economic world reversed’ (trans. J.S.).

4 Pierre Bourdieu, ’Le Marché des biens symboliques’; ’Champ intellectuel et projet créateur’; MP, 30-32.

5 Bourdieu, ’Le Marché des biens symboliques’, p. 67. ’A total spectacle [unifying] each of the forms of expression, music, dance, theatre and song’ (trans. J.S.).

6 Bourdieu cites in support of this contention a long list of ethnographers and their work, including John Greenway, Literature among the Primitives (Hatboro, PA: Folklore Associates, 1964) and Raymond Firth, Elements of Social Organization (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1963)

7 ’from analogical reason (that of myth or rite) to logical reason (that of philosophy)’ (Meditations, 18).

8 Bourdieu’s reference here is Ernst Cassirer, Individu et cosmos (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1983).

9 Alain Viala, Naissance de l’écrivain (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1985).

10 ’In effect, for a long time this process remains ambiguous, even contradictory, to the extent that artists must pay with a statutory dependence on the state for the recognition and official status that it accords them’ (Rules, 87).

11 See Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1983), p. 39.

12 Bourdieu, ’Le Marché des biens symboliques’, p. 52.

13 Jean-Paul Sartre, Qu’est-ce que la Littérature? (Paris: Gallimard 1964); Roland Barthes, Le Degré zéro de l’écriture (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1953).

14 ’without precedent’ (Rules, 63).

15 Saint-Jacques and Viala, ’À propos du champ littéraire’, in Le Travail sociologique de Pierre Bourdieu, ed. Bernard Lahire, pp. 59-72.

16 ’Though it is true that one can locate the moment when the slow process of emergence (as Ian Hacking rightly says) of a structure undergoes the decisive transformation that seems to lead to the fulfilment of the structure, it is just as true that one may place at each of the stages in this continuous and collective process the emergence of a provisional form of that structure, already capable of influencing and controlling the phenomena that may be produced there, and thus of contributing to the more finished elaboration of the structure’ (Rules, 133; trans.modified J.S.).

17 ’Although it has to be admitted that the slow process which made possible the emergence of different fields of cultural production and the full social recognition of corresponding social figures (the painter, the writer, the scholar, etc.) reached its culmination only at the end of the nineteenth century, there is no doubt that one could push back its first manifestations as far as one likes, to the moment when cultural producers first appeared, fighting (almost by definition) to have their independence and particular dignity be acknowledged’ (Rules, 387).

18 ’The art dealer calls herself a gallery director; publisher is a euphemism for book dealer, or buyer of literary labour (in the nineteenth century, writers often compared themselves to prostitutes…) The publisher says to a young writer at the end of a difficult month, ’look at Beckett, he has never touched a penny of his royalties! And the poor writer feels ashamed, he is not sure he’s a Beckett, but he is sure that unlike Beckett he is base enough to ask for money’ (Practical Reason, 11).

19 ’a kind of ’economic’ capital denied but recognized, and hence legitimate – a veritable credit capable of assuring, under certain conditions and in the long term, economic profits’ (Rules, 142).

20 Bourdieu, ’The (Three) Forms of Capital’, p. 253.

21 ’all those who have an interest in it, who find a material or symbolic profit in reading it, classifying it, decoding it, commenting on it, reproducing it, criticising it, combating it, knowing it, possessing it’ (Rules, 171).

22 ’it is both true and false to say (with Marx, for example) that the market value of the work of art has no common measure with its cost of production: true, if one takes into acount only the fabrication of the material object, the responsibility of the artist (or at least the painter) alone; false, if one means the production of the work of art as a sacred and consecrated object, product of an immense enterprise of symbolic alchemy involving the collaboration, with the same conviction but very unequal profits, of a whole set of agents engaged in the field of production’ (Rules, 170).

23 ’ [Flaubert] was smarter than us, [...] he had the intelligence to come into the world with some patrimony, a thing which is absolutely indispensible to anyone who wants to make art’ (Rules, 84). Théophile Gautier cited by Bourdieu in RA, 142-43.

24 ’the routes of autonomy are complex, if not impenetrable’ (Rules, 52).

25 Pierre-Marc de Biasi, ’Préface’, in Gustave Flaubert, L’Éducation sentimentale (Paris: Librairie Générale française, 2002), pp. 7-38 (p. 22).

26 See Joseph Jurt, ’Gattungshierarchie und Karrierestrategien im XIX. Jahrhundert’, Lendemains, 36 (1984), 33-41 (p. 35); and ’Autonomy and Commitment in the French Literary Field: Applying Pierre Bourdieu’s Approach’, International Journal of Contemporary Sociology, 38 (2001), 87-102.

27 Émile Zola, Le Roman expérimental (Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1971).

28 See Christophe Charle, Naissance des intellectuels’ 1880-1900 (Paris: Éditions de Minuit, 1990), pp. 28-36.

29J’Accuse is the outcome and the fulfilment of a collective process of emancipation that is progressively carried out in the field of cultural production: as a prophetic rupture with the established order, it reasserts against all reasons of state the irreducibility of the values of truth and justice, and, at the same stroke, the independence of the guardians of these values from the norms of politics (those of patriotism, for example) and from the constraints of economic life’ (Rules, 129).

30 ’truly irreversible’ (Rules, 242).

31 ’new entrants (…) may skip over the more or less heroic sacrifices and ruptures of the past’ (Rules, 257).

32 ’One could ask whether the division into two markets characteristic of the fields of cultural production since the middle of the nineteenth century (…) is not now threatening to disappear (…). It would be necessary to analyse the new forms of stranglehold and dependence, like the ones introduced by sponsorship, and of which the ’beneficiaries’ have not yet developed appropriate systems of defence since they are not fully aware of their effects’ (Rules, 345).

33 Pierre Bourdieu, ’Une Révolution conservatrice dans l’édition’, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 126 (1999), 3-28. Further references to this article will be abbreviated to RC followed by the page number and included in the text.

34 ’We are in a catastrophic situation, in which it is more necessary than ever to give new strength to intellectual criticism’ (Political Interventions, 385).

35 See Yves Surel, ’Le Destin de la loi Lang du 10 août 1981’, in Le Prix du livre 1981- 2006, La loi Lang, ed. Olivier Corpet (Paris: IMEC, 2006), pp. 9-29.

36 ’This blurring of boundaries to which so-called ’media-oriented’ producers are spontaneously inclined (as shown by the fact the journalistic lists of hits always juxtapose the most autonomous and the most heteronomous producers constitutes the worst threat to the autonomy of cultural production’ (Rules, 347).

37 ’books are not just products’ (trans. J.S.).

38 François Rouet, Le Livre: Mutations d’une industrie culturelle (Paris: Documentation française, 1992).

39 ’The book industry is not only in crisis, it is now in danger’ (trans. J.S.).

40 Jean-Marie Bouvaist, Crise et mutations dans l’édition française (Paris: Cercle de la librairie, 1993).

41 Ahearne, Jeremy, Between Cultural Theory and Policy: The Cultural Policy Thinking of Pierre Bourdieu, Michel de Certeau, and Régis Debray (University of Warwick: Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, 2004), p. 69.

42 ’When I say that comic strips are an inferior genre, you might imagine I really think that. So I have to say at one and the same time that’s how it is, but that it isn’t my opinion’ (Other Words, 52).

43 ’Maybe there is here, for those who want it, a rather indisputable criterion of value for all artistic production, and, more generally, for intellectual the investment in a work which is measurable by the cost in effort, in sacrifices of all kinds and, difinitively, in time, and which goes hand in hand with the consequent independence from the forces and constraints exercised outside the field, or, worse, within it, such as the seductions of fashion or the pressures of ethical or logical conformism – for example, the required themes, obligatory subjects, conventional forms of expression and so forth’ (Rules, 85).

44 ’uncreated creator’(trans. J.S.).

45 ’the fetishism of the master’s name’ (trans. J.S.).

46 ’I have never really felt justified in existing as an intellectual’ (Meditations, 7).

47 ’Born of a family of artists – his maternal grandfather, Émile-Frédéric Nicolle, is a painter and engraver, his elder brother is the painter Jacques Villon, his other brother Raymond Duchamp-Villon is a Cubist sculptor, his oldest sister is a painter, Marcel Duchamp is in the field like a fish in water’ (Rules, 246, trans. modified J.S.).

48 ’It required an enormous collective work before works like those of Joyce and Faulkner could be produced, it required generations and generations, it required institutions, critics, etc.’ (trans. J.S.).

49 ’We know, however, how much time is needed to create creators, i.e. social spaces of producers and receivers, within which they can appear, develop and succeed’ (Political Interventions, 344).

50 ’an instrument of freedom presupposing freedom, as a modus operandi allowing the permanent supersession of the opus operatum’ (Rules, 340)

51 ’the products of this relatively autonomous history present a kind of cumulativity (Rules, 242).

52 ’what confers on his work its incomparable value, is that it makes contact, at least negatively, with the totality of the literary universe in which it is inscribed and whose contradictions, difficulties and problems he takes complete responsibility for’ (Rules, 98).

53 Pierre Bourdieu, ’L’Invention de la vie d’artiste’, Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 1 (1975), 67-93.

54 Hans Haacke, ’A Public Servant’, October, 101 (2002), 4-6 (p. 5).

55 Graw, ’Que Suis-Je?’ ’We are returning to patronage’ (trans. J.S.).

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