Society as a mental construction? Searle versus Bourdieu

Authors
Citation
G. Gebauer, Society as a mental construction? Searle versus Bourdieu, KOLNER Z SO, 52(3), 2000, pp. 428
Citations number
38
Language
TEDESCO
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Psycology
Journal title
KOLNER ZEITSCHRIFT FUR SOZIOLOGIE UND SOZIALPSYCHOLOGIE
ISSN journal
0023-2653 → ACNP
Volume
52
Issue
3
Year of publication
2000
Database
ISI
SICI code
0023-2653(200009)52:3<428:SAAMCS>2.0.ZU;2-N
Abstract
Philosophy and sociology, though partly appearing to refer to the same obje cts, differ in their ways of describing the world. Taking John Searle and P ierre Bourdieu as examples, the different ways of thinking typically of the se disciplines are explored. In Searle's perspective, the social world is c onstructed by intentional acts which can be represented, in formal logic, a s a particular kind of speech acts. Guided by a "collective intentionality" , social facts are constructed by means of "brute" facts. Contrary to Searl e's basic assumption of social reality being produced by mental acts, Bourd ieu proposes a complex interplay, based on material acts, of habitus and so cial practice, which itself is being governed by the specific logic of soci al fields. Essentially relying on the mediating activity of the body, subje cts internalize a society which itself is perpetually re-created by subject s' acts. Like Bourdieu, Searle rejects the idea of social subjects being gu ided, in their regular actions, by interior representations of the rule str ucture of the social world. Rather than rule following, Searle proposes an original solution: relying on their specific backgrounds, subjects in actin g create abilities and competencies which art: a functional equivalent of t he regularity of the social world. This concept of functional equivalence c an be transferred to and made fruitful for the concept of habitus. While th e concept of rule must be abandoned for the description of background and h abitus, it is indispensable, in philosophy as well as sociology, for the ch aracterization of the normative aspects of social acts.