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Penser l'art et la culture avec les sciences sociales

Eveline Pinto


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1Jacques Bouveresse

To Pierre Bourdieu, with the gratefulness of philosophy

One of the most fundamental problems which are raised by the work of Bourdieu is to understand how the Supplement of knowledge which social science can give us is capable to lead to action and, through action, to a transformation of the social world. The function of sociology, according to Bourdieu, is certainly not only to predict forms of behavior to which it confers an appearance of inevitability, but to contribute to modify the behavior of the social agents. There is, for Bourdieu, no incompatibility between the belief that it can effectively do that and the principle of sociological determinism.

2Eveline Pinto

Literary criticism, critical reflexivity

After a historical overview of the conditions of birth of a third culture, which, between literature and sciences of nature, progressively earns the status of specific social sciences, this article describes the academic field in France at the turn of the seventies. In this space of viewpoints, literary theories that use structuralism as a reference stand out, but social sciences provide a possible alternative to their essentialism.

The paper defines Pierre Bourdieu’s practice in the field of literary criticism as an attempt to found it on critical reflexivity: the sociologist postulates the existence of valuation norms compatible with the historicity of works; these norms are identified to two criteria, an interest for knowledge and a demand for truth, the great breaks and the formal innovations. Thus, as he reads Baudelaire, Faulkner, Bernhard and Virginia Woolf, he shows the convergence of literature and science up to the point where their ways diverge

3Emmanuel Bourdieu

About the temporal economy of the theatrical performance

The theatrical performance implies a specific temporal economy that apparently rests on an aggregate of constituent properties; one might think as though the producers of the show, at the beginning of the performance, entered into a debt with its audience, a debt that they must reimburse in the form of the show (so that, as they say, the audience might “get their money’s worth”) but meanwhile entering into a second debt, corresponding to the time taken from the audience by the show, which they must reimburse as well. And yet, this economic vision is too simple: the exchange between producers and receivers never unfolds in this direct, brutal way, but is always mediated, or is partly neutralized by institutionally established rules. Only exceptionally, namely in some particularly critical circumstances, does it assume the dramatic and crucial form of a putting to the test of the show by the audience. And this, because the theater is not a simple game, no mere arbitrary, gratuitous fiction, but is an institution, endowed with its own historically constituted uses.

4Pascale Casanova

The célébration of Ibsen in Europe

We propose an analysis of the different ways by which Henrik Ibsen’s work had been introduced and consecrated in three European countries at the end of the nineteenth Century. The Norwegian dramatist had been introduced in England, mainly through William Archer’s translations and Bernard Shaw’s reviews; in France thanks to both Antoine and Lugné-Poe’s stagings (though they were rivals); in Ireland he became James Joyce’s literary hero in the name of “realism”.

5This compared analysis is presented as an “experimental case”: this internationalization of a literary work can be a practical instrument to understand the processes of universalization of literary texts.

6Inès Champey

The autonomy of the artist

Having analysed the historical process of autonomization of the artistic field in relation to Church, patrons and Academies, and having established that the price artists had to pay for their conquest of formal independence was “a renunciation of functions”, Pierre Bourdieu was greatly interested in the productions of the Contemporary artist Hans Haacke, who endows his work with a political function, without losing anything of the specific acquirements of art history. This accounts for the publication of Free Exchange, which is a debate between the sociologist and the artist. This paper studies a recent public work by Hans Haacke, entitled DER BEVÖLKERUNG (To The Population) and conceived for the reinstallation of the Bundestag in the Reichstag building in Berlin in the year 2000.

7Jacques Dubois

From the rank struggle to the taste struggle. Proust as sociologist of particularities

During one Century from Balzac to Céline and from Comte to Durkheim, realistic novels and sociology developed competition and emulation relationships, each of them using its owns weapons to analyze social forms and productions. This great realistic novel – À la recherche du temps perdu – is mainly made up of sequences which are so many small laboratories which can be analyzed as relationships between individuals sorted within different groups. As an example, this article studies a long action in Sodome et Gomorrhe to which take part representatives of four classes which ordinary don’t keep company: high nobility with Charlus, country aristocracy with the Cambremers, the upper dass with the Verdurins and finally the circle of Professors. But Proust conceives the action as a real “jeu de barres” in which each actor tries to dominate those who belong to another dass in shifting the playing field on familiar ground. This is a situation full of misunderstandings, with its utmost in an intense moment of “symbolic violence” as soon as actors oppose to their partners not classes but tastes.

8Joseph Jurt

From abroad, some views on literary researches in France

This article, written by a Swiss professor who teaches at a German university, focuses at the new aspects which the theory of the literary field, developed by Pierre Bourdieu, could add to the existing literary theories, which renounce the Lansonian positivism.

9The originality of Bourdieu’s theory, in difference/opposition to those of the Geneva School, J.-P. Sartre and later the “Critique génétique” group, is based on the two following points: (a) he tries to include both the internal and external perspectives, (b) he sees the autonomization (process) as a mainly social phenomenon.

10From a German perspective, literary research in France was seen for a long time as not being on the international standard.

11These theories in connection with the social sciences now have found a wide recognition also outside of France.

12Gisèle Sapiro

From the court writer to the intellectual

This article outlines a structural history of the autonomization of the literary field through the way its institutions allowed the field to free itself from the constraints which were weighing upon it in different socio-historical configurations, while simultaneously giving rise to new forms of dependence. Each of these phases has a corresponding ideal-typical “figure” of the writer: the court writer, the entrepreneurial writer, the artist, the intellectual, and finally the professional writer.

13Anne Simonin

The reception of Sade at the Liberation

Sade is, in fact, a Contemporary author. His work, accessible to a large audience after the Second World War only, subjected to contradictory interpretations, shows a different view of the Occupation years. According to the Existentialists, marquis de Sade, responsible for the Nazi horrors, is nothing but an adjective, “sadism”. On the contrary, to some resistant writers, Sade appears to be the prophet of a hidden truth, the masochist “accommodation” of the French occupied by the German enemy.

14Christophe Charle

From science to prophecy: Zola’s situation in the literary and political field

Zola’s political and intellectual trajectory relies upon a paradox. It begins with the assimilation of the writer to a scientist inspired by the examples and theses of Taine and Renan and reacts against the romantic prophecy as represented by Victor Hugo. It ends on the other hand with a new figure of engaged intellectual with a strong prophetic character. The paper defines the different phases of transition between these two opposite images and tries to determine their origins linked to the transformation of the political and intellectual fields of that time. Moreover, it demonstrates that these changes are answers to the new images of himself that both the audience and literary groups reflect to Zola. Contrary to the literary vulgate, the last phase of prophetism is not a simple revival of the romantic figures of the intellectual but a new phase leading to the emerging figure of the collective intellectual. A dominant intellectual such as Zola is a temporary and fugitive personification of this ideal of a speaker for collectivity appearing or vanishing thanks to the crisis of the political legitimate representation.

© Éditions de la Sorbonne, 2002

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