Following Bourdieu, this book seeks ‘to think about politics without thinking politically’, advancing the view that politics as conventionally understood does not take place in a social vacuum, but in the context of a certain topography of society that cannot be reduced to formal spaces (such as a parliament). Engaging with Bourdieu’s theory of fields and focusing specifically on the notion of the ‘political field’, the author analyses from a sociological perspective the functioning of the political field, seeing it not simply as a formal space, but as encompassing a sphere that is increasingly autonomous from others and driven by reasons and motives beyond those conventionally recognised as political. Illustrated with cases from the real political life of different countries, Acting Politics examines the nature of the practices of the agents who inhabit the political field, building a picture of a type of competitive political activity that is fundamentally social and symbolic. A sociological reading of the agents, struggles and forms of the contemporary political field, this book thinks with and against Bourdieu in a broad dialogue with different sociological currents and debates in other disciplines. As such, it will appeal to scholars of politics and sociology with interests in social and political theory and political sociology.
Table of Contents
1. The Political Field: Formation, Objectivation and Autonomy
2. Value and Capital
3. The Politics of the Habitus
4. The Institutional Organisation of the Field
5. Political Inequality and Domination of the Field
6. The Power of Ideas
Alfredo Joignant is Professor of Political Science at the Universidad Diego Portales, Chile, and former president of the Chilean Political Science Association. Principal Researcher at the Center for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies, he is the co-editor of The Politics of Memory in Chile: From Pinochet to Bachelet.