File:Bourdieu Pierre Photography A Middle-brow (file size: MB, MIME. PHOTOGRAPHY: A MIDDLE-BROW ART accompany most art historical studies of photography. be Bourdieu’s intention in this work to question the very . But Bourdieu and his associates show that few cultural activities are more structured and systematic than the social uses of this ordinary art. This perceptive and.

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Many of the things that they find worthwhile — serious music, serious art and so on — require real effort. We send them to everybody, it’s really stupid, and it’s expensive, buordieu some of them would get angry otherwise.

Sep 10, Micaela rated it really liked it. Gregory Simoes rated it really liked it Jul 17, If the proportion of those who justify their abstention solely with reference to the lack of a camera is just as high among junior executives as it is among manual workers, and higher than it is among clerical workers whose income is clearly lower, this is because the norms that define the quaUty of the camera prohibit the members of this class from buying a cheap camera, a box camera for example, which would be economically very accessible to them.

Consequently, the enterprise of solemnization served by photography can only be a success if it is made the responsibility of a member of the group, anxious, like everyone else, to forget and to conceal the fact that a party takes place only if one ‘lives it up’, and because one decides to ‘live it up’. The same fundamental intention is probably expressed by banishing from scientific study certain objects held to be meaning- less, and excluding from it, under the guise of objectivity, the experience of those who work in it and those who are its object.

Photography: A Middle-Brow Art by Pierre Bourdieu

It will be looked at as it was experienced, accompanied by all the laughter and jokes from the party. Since it is the object of numerous stereotypes, there is no doubt that the practice of photography more than any other with the possible exception of tourism implies a reference to the social image of the practice; and in their own practice all individual photographers refer objectively to the image that they have of the practice of others, and the image that others have of their practice.

This accounts for the style of the statements by manual workers interviewed about their photographic practice.

She works out how the couples came about; she analyzes and compares the sphere of social connections of each of the two families; she remarks on absences, which indicate quarrels, and on presences, which do the family an honour. In other words, it is not the practice of photography in itself that is refused: Breaking with the norms of propriety imposed by discretion and conformity to the rules of conformism, clerical workers in country villages or the suburbs of small towns often introduce the daring of nameplates painted in flashy colours which, as if to pre-empt irony by challenging it, put on display a feehng such as: In itself, the decision to buy a camera which costs a large aniount presupposes a taste or a passion which are strong enough to last, and generally rules out short-lived whims.


This helps to explain the subtitle of this book — a middle-brow art. When they arrive on hohday at a beaut? Today the hierarchy is reversed. The task of this sociology is to construct the system of relationships which will encompass both the objective meaning of organized actions according to measur- able regularities and the particular relationships that subjects have to the objective conditions of their existence and to the objective meaning of their behaviour, the meaning which possesses them because they are dispossessed of it.

In other words, the description of objectified subjectivity refers to the description of the internalization of objectivity.

Photography: A Middle-Brow Art

;hotography originality of the attitude of junior executives is more easily assessed once we know that the practice of photography is less common among senior executives, although they have a higher income and their life-style provides them with a large number and variety of opportunities for taking photographs. But does this not amount to doing away with the sociolo- gical problem by providing as an explanation what sociology should be explaining? While the positive influence of integration becomes apparent in positive signs such as possession of camerasthe determining factors of the -dedicated practice are never seen so clearly as when they come to an end: First published nPhotography provides an excellent opportunity to observe key parts of Bourdieu’s theories at a formative stage.

The three moments of the scientific process are therefore inseparable: But while it may be natural that among the majority of amateurs one only very rarely comes across a practice freed from traditional functions, since they only take photographs in order to serve functions that are so strongly demanded of them that they cannot consider taking exclusively beautiful pictures, how w we to explain the fact that aesthetic demands are more often expressed by abstention than by a more demanding practice?

But France’s leading sociologist and cultural theorist Pierre Bourdieu and his research associates show that few cultural activities are more structural and systematic than photography. For some social groups, photography is primarily a means of preserving the present and reproducing moments of collective celebration, whereas for other groups it is the occasion of an aesthetic judgment in which photographs are endowed with the phoyography of works of art.

The pursuit of differences in status which can be seen at all levels of the social hierarchy only serves to intensify class differences.

There are cheap cameras and, unlike more demanding activities, such as the practice of playing a musical instrument, photography requires little or no training; the absence of economic and technical obstacles is an adequate explanation only if one hypothetically assumes that photographic consumption fills a need that can be satisfied within the limits of economic 14 Part I means.


The Cult of Unity and Cultivated Differences 49 ‘In general, people took a dim view of anyone who liked photo- graphs. Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone. But France’s leading sociologist and cultural theorist Pierre Bourdieu and his research associates show that few cultural activities are more structural and systematic than photography.

The chances may not be high, but they are high enough to tantalize.

More generally, higher-income categories include a large prop- ortion of subjects who, although they do not take photographs, express the wish to do so and often explain their abstention with reference to the lack of a camera; and the proportion of those who do not take photographs either because they have no camera or because of the expensiveness of the practice, remains constant independent of pbotography, because higher demands are expressed in the behaviour of the practitioners as well as in the reasons invoked 44 Part I upon by non-practitioners to justify their abstention; in fact, the refusal to take photographs in the absence of those means which are considered indispensable for the satisfaction of the demands of the practice which is held to be suitable according to reasoning based on ‘there’s no point thinking about’ attests that the photo- graphic practice of pgotography group is organized with reference to a norm which defines its intensity, quality and meaning.

If, in these stilted, posed, rigid, contrived photographs, taken in accordance with the rules of a social etiquette which produces photographs of family celebrations and holiday ‘souve- nirs’, we have been unable to recognize the body of implicit or exphcit rules which define these aesthetics, it is probably because we have not suspended an overly limited and socially conditioned definition of cultural legitimacy.

I prefer land- scapes, or photographs taken on the spur of the moment, on the move [. In contrast, among the petits bourgeois of the village, they take on a decorative or sentimental value: For several years, some peasants have made use of the arrival of photographers at agricultural shows in order to be photographed with their animals, but these remain the exception.

The Cult ,iddle Unity and Cultivated Differences 19 Photographic practice as an index and an instrument OF integration In order completely to establish the inadequacy of a strictly psychological explanation of photographic practice and its diffu- sion, one must first demonstrate that the sociological explanation can photographu account for this practice, and more precisely, account for its instruments, its chosen objects, its rhythms, its occasions, its implicit aesthetic and even its subjects’ experience of it, the meanings that they secrete in it and the psychological satisfactions that they derive from it.