This course is mainly an introduction to the work of the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, whose "general economy of practices" represents the most global and fully elaborated theory of art and culture currently available. But we will approach Bourdieu's work, and in particular his theory of cultural capital and cultural fields, by way of his principal precursers -- Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, and Max Weber -- as well as some alternative contemporary theorists, including the economist Gary Becker, the historian Alvin Gouldner, and the literary critics John Guillory and Gayatri Spivak. Readings from Bourdieu will include excerpts from Outline of a Theory of Practice, Language and Symbolic Power, Distinction, Homo Academicus, The Field of Cultural Production, and The Rules of Art, as well as interviews from Free Exchange, In Other Words, Invitation to Reflexive Sociology, and Sociology in Question. Written work will include three short (2-3 page) papers and one longer paper of 10-12 pages.
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