By John F. Myles (auth.)
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Extra resources for Bourdieu, Language and the Media
Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992: 144) In addition, Bourdieu argues that ethnomethodology tends to make universalizing explanations of linguistic and other forms of social communication (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992: 73) because of its individualizing focus. Bourdieu’s arguments appear to totally conflict with the ethnomethodological objective of developing concepts to represent members’ representations. However, one of the key arguments of ethnomethodology and conversational analysis is that there is a need to demonstrate the influence of social structures.
As Habermas’s sociology has been associated with questions of discourse ethics this could have initiated a comparison with Bourdieu’s own theory of symbolic power (but see Chapter 4 of this book), a topic that Bourdieu has referred to in interviews in the collection In Other Words. However, like Benson and Neveu, Wacquant’s study concentrates on the concept of the field rather than symbolic power and language, and thus misses the vital role that language plays in the constitution of political power (what Bourdieu refers to as the ‘mystery of the ministry’ or institutionalization).
Bourdieu 1998: 31–2) The working-class struggles against the forces of standardization because of the intensity of linguistic socialization that patterns the ‘habitus’. For Bourdieu the linguistic habitus acts as a constraint – it is not easily abandoned in media or any other contexts. This is more so in spoken language; as Trudgill notes, the phenomenon of encroaching approximation of the vocabulary and spelling of written English in the USA and UK is unlikely to be found in spoken language because: Pronouncing our native dialect is something we all learn how to do very early in life, and it is a very complex business indeed, involving the acquisition of deeply automatic processes which require movements of a millimetre accuracy and microsecond synchronization of our lips, jaw, tongue, soft palate and vocal cords.