A particularly interesting passage from Bourdieu’s Distinction

The Parisian or even provincial primary teacher, who can beat the small employer, the provincial doctor or the Parisian antique-dealer in the tests of pure knowledge, is likely to appear incomparably inferior to them in all the situations which demand self-assurance or flair, or even the bluff which can cover lacunae, rather than the prudence, discretion and awareness of limits that are associated with scholastic acquisition.  One can confuse Bernard Buffet with Jean Dubuffet and yet be quite capable of hiding one’s ignorance under the commonplaces of celebration or the knowing silence of a pout, a nod or an inspired pose; one can identify philosophy with Saint-Exupéry, Teilhard de Chardin or even Leprince-Ringuet, and still hold one’s own in today’s most prestigious market-places—receptions, conferences, interviews, debates, seminars, committees, commissions—so long as one possesses the set of distinctive features, bearing, posture, presence, diction and pronunciation, manners and usage, without which, in these markets at least, all scholastic knowledge is worth little or nothing and which, partly because schools never, or never fully, teach them, define the essence of bourgeois distinction.

Pierre Bourdieu. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Trans. Richard Nice. Routledge, 1984.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s