Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

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Outline of a Theory of Practice (Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology)

OUTLINE OF A TFIEOFY OF PRACTICE Pierre Bourdieu Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology ED ITO RS: ER

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Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology ED ITO RS:



G U D EM A N .








16 O U T L I N E OF A T H E O R Y OF P R A C T I C E




T r a n s la t e d b y


ffiS C a m b r i d g e U N IV E R S IT Y P R E S S

P u b lis h e d b y th e P r e s s S y n d ic a t e o f th e U n iv e r s it y o f C a m b r id g e T h e P it t B u ild in g , T r u m p in g t o n S tr e e t, C a m b r id g e C B 2 1R P 4 0 W e s t 2 0 th S tr e e t, N e w Y o r k , N Y 1 0 0 1 1 - 4 2 1 1 , U S A 1 0 S ta m fo r d R o a d , O a k le ig h , M e lb o u r n e 3 1 6 6 , A u str a lia © In t h e E n g lis h la n g u a g e e d it io n C a m b r id g e U n iv e r s it y P r e s s 1 9 7 7 T h e o r ig in a l e d it io n , e n t it le d E sq u isse d 'u n e th e o rie d e la p r a ti q u e , p r e c e d e d e tr o is e tu d e s d ’e th n o lo g ie k a b y le , w a s p u b lis h e d b y L ib r a ir ie D r o z S .A . in S w itz e r la n d © L ib r a ir ie D r o z , 1 9 7 2 F ir s t p u b lis h e d in E n g lis h tr a n sla tio n 1 9 7 7 R e p r in te d 1 9 8 5 1 9 8 6 1 9 8 7 1 9 8 8 1 9 8 9 1 9 9 0 1991 1 9 9 2 1 9 9 3 1995 P r in t e d in G r e a t B r ita in at th e U n iv e r s it y P r e s s , C a m b r id g e L ib r a r y o f C o n g re ss C a ta lo g u in g in P u b lic a tio n D a t a B o u r d ie u , P ie r r e . O u tlin e o f a th e o r y o f p r a c tic e . (C a m b r id g e s t u d ie s in so c ia l a n th ro p o lo g y '; 16) T r a n s la tio n w ith r e v is io n s o f E s q u is s e d ’u n e th e o r ie d e la p r a tiq u e . I n c lu d e s b ib lio g r a p h ic a l r e fe r e n c e s a n d in d e x . 1. K a b y le s - A d d r e s s e s , e s sa y s, le c tu r e s. 2. E t h n o lo g y . I. T i t le . D T 2 9 8 .K 2 B 6 9 1 3

3 0 1 .2

7 6 -1 1 0 7 3

I S B N 0 521 2 9 1 6 4 X


T ran slato r's forew ord 1





Section i: A n alyses


From the mechanics o f the model to the dialectic o f strategies From the "rules ” o f honour to the sense o f honour Practice and discourse about practice The fallacies of the rule

3 10 16 22

Section 1 1 : Case stu d y: parallel-cousin m arriage


The state o f the question The functions o f kinship: official kin and practical kin Officializing strategies Collective beliefs and white lies The ordinary and the extra-ordinary M atrimonial strategies and social reproduction

32 33 38 52 58



A false dilem m a: mechanism and finalism Structures, habitus and practices The dialectic o f objectification and embodiment

72 78 &7


' .


The calendar and the synoptic illusion Economy o f logic The body as geometer: cosmogonic practice Union and separation Thresholds and rites o f passage Reunion o f contraries and denial M aking use of indeterminacy The habitus and homologies


page vii


96 97 ^ 109 114 124 130 132 140 143 FOR A



D oxa, orthodoxy, heterodoxy Symbolic capital Modes of domination


N otes In d ex

171 183 198 240

" T h e principal defect of all m aterialism up to now - including that of Feuerbach - is that the external object, reality, the sensible w orld, is grasped in the form of an object or an intuition; but not as concrete human activity, as practice, in a subjective way. T h is is why the active aspect was developed by idealism , in opposition to materialism - but only in an abstract w ay, since idealism naturally does not know real concrete activity as su ch .” K . M arx, Theses on Feuerbach

T ranslator’s foreword

Outline o f a Theory o f Practice was first published in Fren ch in 1972 (Esquisse d ’une theorie de la pratique ). H ow ever, this E nglish text incorporates most of the changes which Pierre Bourdieu has made since then. T h e argum ent is carried further, particularly as regards the concepts of practical logic and sym bolic capital, the order of exposition is recast, and, partly for reasons of space, the ethnographic chapters with w hich the Fren ch edition opens have been curtailed. T h is text is the cornerstone of an oeuvre w hich encom passes num erous m ajor works in both anthropology and sociology - which crosses and chal­ lenges the boundary dividin g their objects, tasks, and theories, and forces attention to the social conditions in which such sciences are possible. T h e fieldwork in K ab y lia w hich provided the ethnographic basis for this text and the starting-point for its reflections w as carried out am id the tragic circum stances of the Algerian w ar, w hich brought to a head the contradictions inherent in the ethnologist’s position. T h is was one factor in Bourdieu’s subsequent move into the field of sociology, where the separation w hich is the hidden condition o f all academ ic activity - most insidiously so in the behavioural sciences - could itself be grasped scientifically in the course of inquiry into the social functions of scholarship and the m echanism s of cultural and social reproduction. T h e Outliney a " reflection on scientific practice w hich will disconcert both those who reflect on the social sciences without practising them and those who practise them w ithout reflecting on th em ” , seeks to define the prerequisites for a truly scientific discourse about human behaviour, that is, an adequate theory o f practice which must include a theory of scientific practice. T h e stages through w hich Bourdieu’s work has passed, the problem s he has set him self, are of course partly determ ined by the accidents of a b iography; but also by the configurations of the intellectual field in France over a certain period. T h e com m onplaces a translator m ight feel required to adduce in order to extenuate the visible loss entailed in extracting a text from its context touch only the surface of processes which the explicit thrust of Bourdieu’s argum ent, here and elsew here, enables us to grasp m ore pro­ foundly as involving more than questions of " translatability Bourdieu would [ v i i ]

Vl l l

Translator's fo rew o rd

be the last to regret the shedding of all that the text was immediately and tacitly granted, inasmuch as it bore the social marks which signal a product conforming to the local standards: the signs of recognition eliciting the recognition of already converted readers, the dignifyingreferences, theoretical allusions, stylistic effects, have indeed every likelihood of remaining dead letters once outside the magic circle of belief. But much more besides the value set on the text is at stake when it circulates beyond its field of production. The most autonomous work contains implicit reference to an intellectual universe whose cardinal points are scientific (and political) positions symbolized, in a given state of the field, by the names of authors or schools of thought or by " is m s ” which may cover totally different realities in different national traditions. These are the structures of the field of production, its divisions into antagonistic groups and rival schools, which, internalized, function as unexamined principles of perception and appreciation. When these bearings are removed the text becomes open to misreading. T h u s nothing guarantees that, for some readers, this work, written against the currents at present dominant in France, "structuralism ” or "structuralM arxism ” , will not be merged with the very tendencies it combats. Less pessimistically, there is still reason to fear that the frequent references made to the Anglo-American philosophical tradition - a heaven-sent weapon against the theoreticism which so strongly characterizes French social science, from Durkheim to Levi-Strauss - may, when returned to their original universe, take on a significance very different from the one they were given in a context in which that tradition is disdained or unknown, and be seen as a sign of allegiance to positivism (if not as an ingratiating gesture towards the intellec­ tual establishment). The fact remains that a text which seeks to break out of a scheme of thought as deeply embedded as the opposition between subjectivism and objectivism is fated to be perceived through the categories which it seeks to transcend, and to appear contradictory or eclectic (except when forcibly reduced to one or the other alternative). T he provisional eclecticism which can juxtapose Wittgenstein with the young M arx finds its justification in the fact that all the resources of a tradition which from the beginning has made practice the negative obverse of theory are needed in order to think the unthinkable. R. N.

I The objective limits of objectivism




T h e practical privilege in which all scientific activity arises never more subtly governs that activity (insofar as science presupposes not only an epistemological break but also a social separation) than when, unrecognised as privilege, it leads to an implicit theory of practice which is the corollary of neglect of the social conditions in which science is possible. T h e anthropologist’s particular relation to the object o f his study contains the makings of a theoretical distortion inasmuch as his situation as an observer, excluded from the real play of social activities by the fact that he has no place (except by choice or by way of a game) in the system observed and has no need to make a place for him self there, inclines him to a hermeneutic representation of practices, leading him to reduce all social relations to communicative relations and, more precisely, to decoding operations. Charles Bally remarked that linguistic research takes different directions according to whether it deals with the researcher’s mother tongue or with a foreign language, emphasizing in particular the tendency to intellectualism implied in observing language from the standpoint of the listening subject rather than that of the speaking subject, that is, as a "m ean s of action and expression” : "th e listener is on the side of the language, it is with the language that he interprets sp eech ” .1 And exaltation of the virtues of the distance secured by externality sim ply transmutes into an epistemological choice the anthropologist’s objective situation, that of the "im partial spectator” , as Husserl puts it, condemned to see all practice as a spectacle. It is instructive to glance at the case of art history, which, never having really broken with the tradition of the amateur, gives free rein to celebratory contemplation and finds in the sacred character of its object every pretext for a hagiographic hermeneutics superbly indifferent to the question of the social conditions in which works are produced and circulate. Panofsky, for example, w T i t i n g on Abbot Suger and the invention” of Gothic architecture, only exceptionally and almost accidentally aban­ dons the point of view o f the interpreter who, more concerned with the opus operatum than the modus operandi, represses the question of artistic production under the concept of the "objective intention” o f the work and reduces immediate com pre­ hension to a decoding that is unaware that it ii a d e c o d i n g . T o treat a work of plastic art as a discourse intended to be interpreted, decoded, by reference to a transcendent code analogous to the Saussurian " langue” is to forget that artistic production is always also - to different degrees d e p e n d i n g on the art a n d on t h e historically variable styles [ i]


T he objective lim its of objectivism

of practising it - the product of an " art ”," pure practice without theory ”, as Durkheim says,2 or to put it another way, a mimesis, a sort of sym bolic gym nastics, like the rite or the d ance; and it is also to forget that the work of art always contains som ething ineffable, not by excess, as hagiography would have it, but by default, som ething which com m unicates, so to speak, from body to body, i.e. on the hither side of words or concepts, and w hich pleases (or displeases) without concepts.

S o lon g as h e rem ains unaware of the lim its inherent in his point of view on the object, the anthropologist is con d em ned to adopt unw ittingly for his ow n u se the representation of action w hich is forced on agents or groups w hen th ey lack practical m astery of a h ighly valued com p eten ce and have to provide th em selves w ith an exp licit and at least sem i-form alized su bstitute for it in the form of a repertoire of rules, or of what sociologists con sid er, at best, as a " r o le ”, i.e. a predeterm ined set of discourses and actions appropriate to a particular Mstage-part ” .3 It is significant t h a t" culture ” is som etim es described as a m a p ; it is the analogy w h ich occurs to an outsider w ho has to find his w ay around in a foreign landscape and w ho com p en sates for his lack of practical m astery, the prerogative o f the native, by the use o f a m odel of all p ossible routes. T h e gulf b etw een this potential, abstract space, devoid of landm arks or any privileged centre - like gen ealogies, in w h ich the ego is as unreal as th e starting-point in a Cartesian sp ace - and the practical space of journeys actually m ade, or rather of journeys actually b ein g m ade, can be seen from the difficulty w e have in recogn izin g fam iliar routes on a m ap or tow n-plan u ntil w e are able to bring together the axes of th e field of potentialities and the "system o f axes linked unalterably to our b odies, and carried about w ith u s w herever w e g o ”, as Poincare puts it, w hich structures practical space into right and left, up and d ow n , in front and b eh in d . H ence it is not sufficient for anth rop ology to break w ith native experience and the native representation of that ex p er ie n c e: it has to m ake a second break and question the p resup position s inherent in the p osition of an outside observer, w ho, in his preoccupation w ith interpreting practices, is inclined to introduce in to th e object th e p rinciples o f h is relation to the object, as is attested by the special im portance he assigns to com m un icative functions (w hether in language, m yth, or m arriage). K n o w led g e does not m erely d ep en d, as an elem entary relativism teaches, on th e particular standpoint an observer "situated in space and tim e ” takes u p on the object. T h e "know ing su b jec t”, as the idealist tradition rightly calls h im , inflicts on practice a m uch m ore fundam ental and p ernicious alteration w h ich , b ein g a constituent con d ition of th e cognitive operation, is b oun d to pass u n n oticed : in taking up a point of view on the action, w ithdraw ing from it in order to observe it from above and from a d istance, he con stitu tes practical activity as an object o f observation an d analysis, a representation.

T he objective lim its o f objectivism


From the mechanics o f the model to the dialectic o f strategies T h e social w orld may be the object o f three m odes of theoretical k now ledge, each o f w hich im plies a set of (usually tacit) anthropological theses. A lthough these m odes of know ledge are strictly speaking in no way exclu sive, and may be described as m om ents in a dialectical advance tow ards adequate k now ledge, they have on ly one th in g in com m on , the fact that they are op posed to practical k now ledge. T h e know ledge w e shall call phenomenological (or, to speak in term s of currently active sch ools, " eth nom ethod ological ”) sets out to m ake exp licit the truth of prim ary exp erience of th e social w orld , i.e . all that is inscribed in th e relationship of fa m ilia rity w ith the familiar environ­ m en t, the u n q u estion in g apprehension o f th e social w orld w hich , by defini­ tion, d oes not reflect on itself and exclu d es the question of the co n d itio n s of its ow n possibility. T h e k now ledge w e shall term objectivist (of w hich structuralist herm eneutics is a particular case) con stru cts the objective rela­ tion s (e .g . econ om ic or lin gu istic) w h ich structure practice and representa­ tion s of practice, i.e ., in particular, prim ary k now ledge, practical and tacit, o f th e fam iliar w orld. T h is con stru ction presup poses a break w ith prim ary k now ledge, w h ose tacitly assum ed p resup position s give the social w orld its self-ev id en t, natural character .4 It is only on condition that it poses the q u estion w hich th e doxic exp erience of th e social w orld excludes by definition - th e q u estion of the (particular) con d ition s m aking that experience p ossible - that ob jectivist k now ledge can establish b oth th e structures of the social w orld and the objective truth of prim ary experience as experience denied explicit k now ledge of those structures. F in ally, it is only by m eans of a secon d break, w h ich is needed in order to grasp the lim its of ob jectivist k now ledge - an inevitable m om ent in scientific k now ledge - and to brin g to light the theory of theory and the theory of practice inscribed (in its practical state) in th is m ode of know ledge, that w e can integrate th e gains from it into an adequate scien ce of practices. T h e critical break w ith ob jectivist abstraction en su in g from inquiry in to the con d ition s o f p ossib ility, and thereby, into th e lim its o f th e objective and ob jectifying standpoint w hich grasps practices from ou tside, as a fa it accomp li, instead o f constructing th eir generative principle by situating itself w ithin the very m ovem ent of their accom p lish m en t, has no other aim than to make p ossib le a scien ce of th e dialectical relations b etw een th e objective structures to w h ich th e ob jectivist m od e of k now ledge gives access and the structured d ispositions w ith in w h ich those structures are actualized and w hich tend to reproduce them . T h is q u estion in g of ob jectivism is liable to be understood at first as a rehabilitation of subjectivism and to be m erged w ith the critique that naive


T he objective lim its o f objectivism

hum anism levels at scientific objectification in the nam e o f " lived exp erience ” and the rights o f " su b je ctiv ity ” . In reality, the theory of practice and o f the practical m ode of know ledge inherent in all practice w hich is the precondition for a rigorous scien ce o f p ractices carries out a new reversal o f the p roblem atic w hich objectivism has to con stru ct in order to con stitu te the social w orld as a system of objective relations in depend en t o f individual con sciousnesses and w ills. Just as ob jectivist k n ow led ge p oses the question of the con d ition s of the p ossib ility of prim ary exp erience, thereby revealing that th is experience (or the phenom enological analysis of it) is fundam entally defined as not posing this q uestion, so the theory of practice puts objectivist know ledge back on its feet by p osin g the q u estion of the (theoretical and also social) conditions w hich m ake su ch know ledge p o ssib le. Because it produces its scien ce o f the social w orld against the im p licit presup position s o f practical know ledge of the social w orld, objectivist k now ledge is diverted from construction o f the theory o f practical know ledge of the social w orld, of w hich it at least produces the lack. O bjective analysis of practical apprehension of the fam iliar w orld is not a n ew form of sacrificial offering to the m ysteries o f su bjectivity, but a m eans o f exploring the lim its of all ob jective exploration. It teaches us that we shall escape from the ritual eith er/or ch oice b etw een objectivism and su bjectivism in w hich the social scien ces have so far allow ed them selves to be trapped only if w e are prepared to inquire into the m ode o f production and fu n ction in g of the practical m astery w h ich m akes possib le both an objectively intelligible practice and also an ob jectively enchanted experience o f that practice; m ore precisely, that w e shall do so o n ly if we subordinate all operations of scientific practice to a theory of practice and of practical know ledge (w hich has n oth ing to do w ith p henom en ological reconstitution of lived exp erience), and inseparably from this, to a theory o f the theoretical and social con d ition s of the possibility o f objective apprehension - and thereby to a theory o f the lim its o f this m ode of know ledge. A sin gle exam ple w ill suffice to sh ow how this sort o f third-order know ledge d oes not cancel out the gains from objectivist know ledge but conserves and transcends them by integrating the truth of practical experience and o f the practical m ode of k now ledge w hich this learned know ledge had to be constructed against, that is to say, inseparably, the truth o f all learned know ledge. It will b e rem em bered that L evi-S trau ss, criticizing M au ss’s " p h en om en ological” approach to gift exchange, makes a com p lete break w ith native experience and the native theory of that experience, p ositing that it is the exchange as a con stru cted object w hich " constitu tes the primary p henom en on, and not the in dividu al operations into w hich social life breaks it d o w n ”,5 or, in other w ords, that the "m echanical la w s ” o f the cycle of

From the mechanics o f the model to the dialectic o f strategies


reciprocity are the u nconscious principle of the obligation to g iv e, the ob liga­ tion to give in return, and the obligation to receive .6 " P h en o m en o lo g ica l” analysis and objectivist analysis b rin g to light tw o antagonistic principles of gift exchange: the gift as exp erienced , or, at least, m eant to be experienced, and the gift as seen from ou tside. T o stop short at the " o b jectiv e” truth of the gift, i.e . the m od el, is to set aside the q u estion of the relationship b etw een so-called objective truth, i.e . that of the observer, and the truth that can scarcely be called subjective, sin ce it represents the official definition o f the subjective experience of the exchan ge; it is to ignore the fact that the agents practise as irreversible a seq u en ce of actions that the observer con stitu tes as reversible. T h e ob server’s totalizin g apprehension su b stitu tes an objective structure fundam entally defined b y its reversibility for an equally objectively irreversible su ccession of gifts w h ich are not m echanically linked to the gifts they respond to or in sisten tly call for: any really objective analysis of the exchange of g ifts, w ords, ch allen ges, or even w om en m ust allow for the fact that each of these inaugural acts m ay m isfire, and that it receives its m eaning, in any case, from the response it triggers off, even if the response is a failure to reply that retrospectively rem oves its intended m eaning. T o say that the m eaning the gift has for the d onor is recognized and consecrated only w hen the counter-gift has b een m ade d o es not am ount to restoring the structure of the cycle of reciprocity in different w ords. It m eans that even if reversibility is the objective truth of the discrete acts w hich ordinary experience know s in discrete form and calls gift exchan ges, it is not the w hole truth o f a practice w hich could not exist if it w ere co n sciou sly perceived in accordance w ith the m odel. T h e tem poral structure o f gift exchan ge, w hich objectivism ignores, is what makes possible the coexisten ce of tw o o p p osin g truths, w hich defines the full truth of the gift. In every society it m ay be observed that, if it is not to con stitute an insult, the counter-gift m ust be deferred and different, because the im m ediate return o f an exactly identical object clearly am ounts to a refusal (i.e . the return of the sam e ob ject). T h u s gift exchan ge is op posed on the one hand to swapping, w hich, like the theoretical m odel of the cycle of reciprocity, telescop es gift and cou n ter-gift into the sam e instant, and on the other hand, to lending, in w hich the return of the loan is ex p licitly guaranteed by a juridical act and is thus already accomplished at th e very m om ent of the draw ing up of a contract capable of ensuring that the acts it prescribes are predictable and calculable. T h e difference and delay w hich the m onothetic m odel obliterates m ust be brought into the m odel n ot, as L evi-Strauss su ggests, out of a " phenom enological ” desire to restore the subjective experience o f the practice of the exchange, but because th e operation o f gift exchange p resupposes (individual and collecti%'e) m isrecognition ( meconnaissance) of the reality of


T he objective lim its o f objectivism

the objective " m ec h a n ism ” of th e exchan ge, a reality w hich an im m ediate response brutally exp oses: the in terval b etw een gift and cou n ter-gift is w hat allow s a pattern of exchange that is alw ays liab le to strike the observer and also the participants as reversible, i.e . both forced and interested, to be exp erienced as irreversible. " O verm u ch eagerness to d ischarge o n e’s obliga­ tions is a form o f in gratitu d e”, said La R och efoucauld. T o betray on e's h aste to be free o f an ob ligation on e has incurred, and thu s to reveal too overtly o n e ’s desire to pay off services rendered or gifts received, so as to b e quits, is to d en ou n ce the initial gift retrosp ectively as m otivated b y th e in tention of ob ligin g one. It is all a question of style, w hich m eans in this case tim in g and ch oice of occasion , for the sam e a c t - g i v i n g , g iv in g in return, offering o n e ’s services, p aying a visit, etc. - can have com p letely different m eanings at different tim es, com in g as it m ay at the right or the w rong m o m en t, w hile alm ost all im portant exchan ges - g ifts to the m other of a new -born ch ild , or on th e occasion o f a w ed d in g, etc. - have their ow n particular m o m en ts; the reason is that the lapse o f tim e separating th e gift from the cou n ter-gift is w hat authorizes the d eliberate oversigh t, the collectively m aintained and approved self-d ecep tion w ithou t w h ich sym b olic exch an ge, a fake circulation o f fake coin, cou ld not operate. If th e system is to work, the agents m ust not be entirely unaware of th e truth of th eir exch an ges, w hich is m ade exp licit in the anth rop ologist’s m od el, w hile at the sam e tim e th ey m ust refuse to know and above all to recognize it .7 In sh ort, everyth ing takes place as if a g en ts’ practice, and in particular their m anip ulation o f time, w ere organized exclu ­ sively w ith a view to con cealin g from th em selves and from others th e truth o f their practice, w hich the anth rop ologist and his m odels b rin g to light sim p ly by su b stitu tin g the tim eless m odel for a schem e w h ich w orks itself ou t on ly in and through tim e. T o abolish the interval is also to abolish strategy. T h e period in terp osed , w hich m ust be neither too short (as is clearly seen in gift exchan ge) nor too lon g (especially in the exchange o f reven ge-m urders), is q u ite the op posite of the inert gap o f tim e, the tim e-lag w hich the objectivist m od el m akes of it. U n til he has given in return, the receiver is " obliged”, exp ected to sh ow his gratitude tow ards his benefactor, or, at least, to have regard for h im , to refrain from u sing against h im all the w eap on s he otherw ise m ig h t, to pull h is p un ch es, lest he be accused of ingratitude and stand co n d em n ed b y "w hat people sa y ”, w h ich is w hat gives his actions their social m ean ing. T h e man w h o has not avenged a m urder, not b ou gh t back his land from a rival fam ily, not married off his daughters in tim e, sees his capital d im in ish ed from day to day by passing tim e - unless he is capable o f transform ing forced delay into strategic deferm ent, th e sp ace of tim e in to deliberate sp acin g o u t: p utting off revenge or the return o f a gift can b e a w ay o f keeping o n e’s partner-opponent

From the mechanics o f the model to the dialectic o f strategies


in th e dark about o n e ’s in tention s; the m om ent for th e com eback becom es im possible to p in p oin t, like the really evil m om en t in the ill-o m en ed periods of the ritual calendar, just b efore the upturn. A fter a certain p oint lack of response ceases to be an oversigh t and b ecom es disdainful refusal. D elay is also a w ay o f exacting from h im the deferential con d u ct that is required as long as relations are not broken off. It is understandable w ith in th is logic that a m an w hose daughter is asked for in m arriage sh ou ld feel he has to reply as soon as p ossible if the answ er is no, lest he seem to be taking advantage of th e situ ation , and offend the suitor, w hereas if he in tend s to say yes, he m ay put off th e reply for as lon g as h e likes, so as to m ake the m ost of the tem porary advantage of his p osition, w h ich he w ill lose as soon as he gives his con sent. E veryth in g takes place as if the ritualization o f interactions had the paradoxical effect of g iv in g tim e its full social efficacy, never m ore potent than w h en n oth in g but tim e is goin g o n . " T im e ”, w e say, " is on h is s id e ” ; tim e can also w ork against on e. In other w ords, tim e derives its efficacy from the state o f th e structure of relations w ith in w h ich it com es into p la y ; w hich does not im ply that the m odel of that structure can leave it ou t of account. W hen the u n fo ld in g o f the action is heavily ritualized, as in the dialectic of offence and ven gean ce, there is still room for strategies w h ich consist of playing on the tim e, or rather th e tempo, o f the action, by d elayin g revenge so as to prolong the threat of revenge. A nd th is is true, a fo rtio ri, of all the less strictly regulated occasion s w hich offer u n lim ited sco p e for strategies ex p lo itin g th e p ossib ilities offered by m anipulation of the tem p o of the action - h old in g back or p u ttin g off, m aintaining su sp en se or exp ectation , or on the other hand, h urrying, h ustlin g, surprising, and stealing a m arch, not to m en tion the art of osten tatiou sly givin g tim e (" d ev o tin g o n e’s tim e to som e­ o n e ”) or w ith h o ld in g it ("n o tim e to sp a re”). W e know , for exam p le, how m uch advantage the holder o f a transm issible pow er can derive from the art o f d elayin g transm ission and keeping others in the dark as to his ultim ate in ten tio n s. T h en there are all th e strategies in tend ed sim p ly to neutralize the action o f tim e and ensure th e continuity of interpersonal relations, drawing the co n tin u ou s ou t of the d iscon tin u ou s, as m athem aticians d o , through infinite m ultip lication of th e infinitely sm all, in th e form , for exam ple, of the "little presen ts ” said to " keep friendship g o in g ” (" O present - thunticht you w o n ’t make m e rich b ut you are the bond of frie n d sh ip ”). Little presents, which are halfway between "gratuitous” gifts ( elma'tar, unreturned gift, "like a m other’s m ilk ”, or thikchi, a thing given w ithout recom pense) and the most rigorously " forced” gifts, must be of m odest value and hence easy to give and easy to match; but they must be frequent, and in a sense continuous, w hich implies that they must function within the logic of "surprises” or "kind th ou gh ts” rather than according to the m echanism s of ritual. T h ese presents intended to maintain the everyday order of social intercourse almost always consist of a dish of cooked food,


The- objective limits o f objectivism

couscous (with a piece of cheese, when they mark a cow ’s first milk) and follow the course of minor family celebrations - the third or seventh day after a birth, a baby’s first tooth or first steps, a b oy’s first haircut, first visit to the market, or first fast; linked to events in the life-cycle of men or the earth, they involve those wishing to impart their joy, and those invited to take part in that joy, in what is nothing less than a fertility rite: when the dish which contained the present is taken back, it always contains, "for good lu ck ” ( el fa l), what is som etim es called thiririth (from er, to give back), that is to say, a little corn, a little sem olina (never barley, a female plant and symbol of fragility), or, preferably, som e dried vegetables, chick peas, lentils, etc., called ajedjig "flower”, given "so that the boy [the reason for the exchange] will flourish ”, so that he will grow tall and be fruitful. T hese ordinary gifts (which include som e of those they call tharzefth, which are visiting-presents) are sharply opposed to extraordinary gifts, Ikhir or lehna, given for the major festivals called thimeghrivnn (sing, thameghra) - w eddings, births, and circum cisions - and a fortiori to Iw'ada, the obligatory gift to a saint. A nd indeed, the little gifts between relatives and friends are opposed to the present of m oney and eggs which is given by affines remote both in space and in the genealogy, and also in time - since they are seen only intermittently, on the "great occasions” - and whose importance and solem nity make them a sort of controlled challenge in the same way that marriages within the lineage or neighbour­ hood, so frequent and so closely w oven into the fabric of ordinary exchanges that they pass unnoticed, are opposed to the more prestigious but infinitely more hazardous extraordinary marriages between different villages or tribes, som etim es intended to set the seal on alliances or reconciliations and always marked by solemn ceremonies.

T h is takes u s a lon g w ay from the objectivist m odel o f the m echanical interlocking of preregulated actions that is com m only associated w ith the notion of ritu al: on ly a virtuoso w ith a perfect com m and o f his "art of liv in g ” can play on all the resources inherent in the am biguities and uncertainties of behaviour and situ ation in order to produce the actions appropriate to each case, to do that of w hich p eop le w ill say " T h ere w as n oth ing else to be d o n e ” , and do it the right w ay. W e are a lon g w ay, too, from norm s and rules: doubtless there are slips, m istakes, and m om ents of clum sin ess to be observed here as elsew h ere; and also gram m arians of decorum able to state (and elegantly, too) w hat it is right to do and say, but never presum ing to encom pass in a catalogue o f recurrent situations and appropriate con d uct, still less in a fatalistic m odel, th e " art ” of the necessary improvisation w hich defines excellen ce. T o restore to practice its practical truth, w e m ust therefore reintroduce tim e into the theoretical representation of a practice w h ich , b ein g tem porally structured, is intrinsically defined by its tempo. T h e generative, organizing schem e w hich gives a d iscu ssion its unity or an im provised speech its "argu­ m e n t”, and attains con sciou s expression in order to work itself o u t, is an o ften im precise b u t system atic principle of selection and realization, ten d in g, through steadily directed adjustm ents and corrections, to elim inate accidents w hen they can be put to u se, and to conserve even fortuitous su ccesses. It is therefore practice, in its m ost specific asp ect, w hich is annihilated w hen

From the mechanics o f the model to the dialectic o f strategies


the schem e is identified with the m odel: retrospective necessity becom es prospective n ecessity, the product a p roject; and things w hich have h ap p en ed , and can no longer not happen, becom e th e irresistible future of the acts w hich made th em happen. T h is am ounts to p ositing, with D iod oru s, that if it is true to say of a thin g that it w ill be, then it m ust one day be true to say that it is, or, in the w ords of another paradox, that " T o d a y is tom orrow , because yesterday tomorrow' w'as to d a y .”8 All exp erience of practice contradicts these paradoxes, and affirms that cycles o f reciprocity are not the irresistible gearing o f obligatory practices found on ly in ancient tra g ed y : a gift may remain unrequited, if it m eets w'ith ingratitude; it m ay be spurned as an in su lt .9 O nce the p ossib ility is adm itted that th e "m echanical law'” o f the "cycle of reciprocity” m ay not apply, the w'hole logic of practice is transform ed. Even in cases in w hich the agen ts’ h abitus are perfectly harm onized and the interlocking of actions and reactions is totally predictable from outside, uncer­ tainty rem ains as to the ou tcom e of th e interaction as long as the sequence has not been c o m p le te d : the passage from the highest probability to absolute certainty is a qualitative leap w hich is n ot proportionate to the num erical gap. T h is uncertainty, w h ich finds its objective basis in the probabilist logic of social law s, is sufficient to m odify not on ly the experience of practice (w hich phenom enological analysis describes, b ein g m ore attentive than objectivism to the tem porality of action) but practice itself, in givin g an objective founda­ tion to strategies aim ed at avoiding th e m ost probable ou tcom e. T o su bstitute strategy for the rule is to reintroduce tim e, w ith its rhythm , its orientation, its irreversibility. S cien ce has a tim e w hich is not that of practice. For the analyst, tim e no lon ger cou n ts: not only b e c a u s e - a s has often been repeated sin ce M ax W eber - arriving post festum, he cannot be in any uncertainty as to w hat m ay h app en , b u t also because he has the tim e to totalize, i.e . to overcom e the effects o f tim e. Scientific practice is so "detem poralized ” that it ten ds to exclu d e even the idea of what it e x c lu d e s: because scien ce is p ossib le only in a relation to tim e w hich is op posed to that of practice, it ten d s to ignore tim e and, in d oin g so, to reify practices. (W hich is to say, once again, that epistem ological reflection is con stitu tive of scientific practice its e lf: in order to understand w hat practice is - and in particular the properties it ow es to the fact that it u nfolds in tim e - it is therefore necessarv to know' what scien ce is - and in particular w hat is im plied in the specific tem porality of scientific practice.) T h e detem poralizing effect (visib le in the syn optic apprehension that diagram s m ake p ossib le) that scien ce produces w hen it forgets the transform ation it im poses on practices inscribed in the current of tim e, i.e. detotalized, sim p ly by totalizing th em , is never m ore pernicious than w'hen exerted on practices defined by the fact that their tem poral structure, direction, and rhythm are constitutive o f their m eaning.


T he objective limits o f objectivism

From the "ru les” o f honour to the sense o f honour T h ere are w ays of avoiding ethnocentrism w hich are perhaps no m ore than so m any d ev ices for keep in g one s distance and, at all ev en ts, for m aking a virtue ou t of n ecessity by con verting a de facto exclu sion into a ch oice of m eth od . T h u s, there w ould be less danger of locking the exchan ge of honour or the seem in gly m ost ritualized g ift exchange in reified, reifying m odels, if one were able to procure a theoretical m astery of social practices of the sam e class as those o f w hich one may have a practical m astery. T h ere is n oth ing, for exam ple, m ore likely to inspire in an outside observer the illusion of m echan ­ ical necessity than “fo rc e d ” conversation, w hich , to perpetuate itself, m ust en d lessly create and recreate, often ex nihilo, the relationship b etw een the interlocutors, m oving them apart and bringing them together, constraining them to seek out points of agreem ent and disagreem ent, w ith the sam e earnestness at once sincere and feign ed , m aking them by turns trium ph and retreat, arousing m ock quarrels that are always on the verge of b eco m in g real on es, but q uickly settled by a com prom ise or a return to the safe ground of shared con victions. B ut, by a radical change in p oint of view , o n e can equally apprehend th is m echanical sequ en ce o f gestures and w ords "from a subjective point o f v ie w ” , as th e M arx of the Theses on Feuerbach som ew hat rashly puts it, or, preferably, from the stand point of an adequate theory of practice: the u nceasing v igilance one n eed s to exert so as to be " carried along ” by th e gam e, w ithou t b ein g " carried away ” beyond the gam e, as happens w hen a m ock fight gets the better of the fighters, is evidence that practices as visibly constrained as these rest on the sam e principle as conduct m ore likely to g iv e an equally m isleadin g im pression o f free im provisation, such as bluff or seduction, w hich play on th e eq u ivocation s, in n u en d os, and unspoken im plication s o f verbal or gestural sym bolism to produce am biguous con d uct that can be d isow ned at th e slightest sign o f w ithdraw al or refusal, and to m aintain uncertainty about in ten tion s that alw ays hesitate b etw een playfulness and seriou sn ess, abandon and reserve, eagerness and indifference. T h e language of rules and m od els, w hich seem s tolerable w hen applied to " a lie n ” practices, ceases to con vin ce as soon as one considers th e practical m astery of th e sym b olism of social interaction - tact, d exterity, or savoir-faire - p resupposed by th e m ost everyday gam es o f sociability and accom panied by the application of a sp ontaneous sem iology, i.e . a m ass o f precepts, form ulae, and codified cu es. T h is practical know ledge, based on the con ­ tin u ou s d eco d in g o f the perceived - b u t not con sciously noticed - in dices of th e w elcom e given to actions already accom plished, co n tin u o u sly carries out the checks and corrections intended to ensure the adjustm ent o f practices and exp ression s to the reactions and expectations of the other agents. It fu n ction s

From the "rules ” o f honour to the sense o f honour


like a se lf-r e g u la tin g d evice program m ed to redefine courses of action in

accordance w ith inform ation received on the reception o f inform ation trans­ m itted and on th e effects produced by that inform ation. It can be seen that the tvpical herm eneutic paradigm of the exchan ge o f w ords is perhaps less appropriate than the paradigm of the exchan ge of b low s used by G eorge H . M ead .10 In d og-fights, as in the fighting o f children or boxers, each m ove triggers off a cou n ter-m ove, every stance o f the body becom es a sign pregnant with a m eaning that the op p on en t has to grasp w hile it is still in cip ient, reading in th e b egin nings of a stroke or a sid estep the im m inent future, i.e. the blow or the d u m m y. A nd the d u m m y itself, in b oxin g as in conversa­ tion, in exchanges of honour as in m atrim onial transactions, presupposes an opponent capable of preparing a riposte to a m ovem en t that has barely b eg u n and w ho can th u s be tricked in to faulty anticipation. It is sufficient to carry out a sim ilar reversal of perspective in order to see that one can, for exam ple, produce practically or reproduce theoretically all the honour con d ucts actually observed (or p otentially ob servab le), remarkable at once for their inexhaustible diversity and their quasi-m echanical n ecessity, w ithout p ossessing the "filing-cabinet of prefabricated represen tation s”, as Jakobson puts it ,11 that w ou ld enable the agent to " se le c t” the conduct appropriate to each situ ation , and w ith ou t having to construct at great expense of effort a " m ech a n ica l” m odel w hich w ould at best be to the man of honou r’s regulated im provisation w hat an etiq u ette handbook is to the art of living or a harm ony treatise to m usical com p osition . T h e scien ce of practice has to construct the principle w hich m akes it possible to account for all the cases observed, and on ly those, w ith ou t forgettin g that th is con stru c­ tion, and the generative operation of w hich it is the basis, are on ly the theoretical equivalent of the practical sch em e w hich enables every correctly trained agent to produce all the practices and jud gm ents of honour called for by the ch allenges of existence. T o make som eon e a challenge is to cred it him w ith the dignity o f a man of honour, sin ce th e challenge, as su ch , requires a riposte and therefore is addressed to a man d eem ed capable of playing the gam e of honour, and of playing it w ell. From the principle of m utual recognition of equality in h onour there follow s a first corollary: the challenge confers h onour. " T h e m an w ho has no e n em ie s”, say th e K ab yles, "is a d o n k ey” (th e sym bol of passivity). T h ere is n oth in g w orse than to pass u n n oticed : thu s, not to salute som eon e is to treat him like a th in g, an anim al, or a w om an. T h e challenge, conversely, is ' a high point in the life o f the man w ho receives i t ”. It is the chance to prove o n e ’s m anliness (thirugza) to others and to on eself. A second corollary is this: he w ho ch allenges a man incapable of taking up the ch allenge, that is, incapable of pursuing the exch an ge, d ishon ou rs h im self. T h u s elbahadla,


T he objective limits o f objectivism

extrem e hum iliation p ub licly in flicted , recoils on the man w h o provokes it ( am ahbul): even the man w h o m erits elbahadla p ossesses an honour; that is w hy elbahadla boom erangs. H cncc the m an w ho finds h im self in a strong p osition m ust refrain from p u sh in g his advantage too far, and sh ou ld tem per his accusation with a certain m oderation, so as to let his adversary p ut him self to sham e. " Better that he sh ou ld strip h im s e lf” , says the proverb, "than that I sh ould unclothe h im .” H is op p on en t, for his part, can alw ays try to turn the tables by leading him on to overstep the perm itted lim its. T h is is d one in the hope of rallying p u b lic op in ion , w hich cannot but disapprove of the accuser’s lack of m oderation. T h e third corollary is that only a ch allenge (or o ffence) com in g from an equal in honour deserves to be taken u p; in other w ords, for there to be a ch allen ge, the m an w ho receives it m ust consider the m an w ho makes it w orthy of m aking it. An affront from a p resum ptuous inferior rebounds on its author. " T h e prudent, circum spect m an [amahdhuq] d oes not get involved w ith an amahbul." E lbahadla w ould fall on the w ise man w h o ventured to take up the am ah bufs senseless ch allenge; w hereas in abstaining from all reply, he leaves him to bear the w eig h t o f his arbitrary acts. L ik ew ise, dishonour w ould fall on the m an w ho dirtied his hands in an unw orthy revenge (h en ce, in certain cases, recourse to the hired killer, am ekri). It is therefore th e nature of the riposte w hich m akes the challenge a ch allen ge, as opposed to m ere aggression .12 In gam e theory, the good player is the on e w ho alw ays su p p o ses his op p on en t w ill discern the b est strategy and w h o directs his ow n play accord ­ ingly; sim ilarly, in the gam e of honour, ch allenge and riposte alike im p ly that each player ch ooses to play the gam e as w ell as he can w hile assu m ing that his adversary is capable of m aking the sam e choice. T h e gift is a challenge w hich honou rs the man to w hom it is addressed, at the sam e tim e p utting his p oint of honour (nif) to the test; con seq u en tly, just as to in sult a man incapable of riposting d ishon ou rs on eself, so to make a present so great that it cannot be m atched m erely d ishon ou rs th e giver. A gift or ch allenge is a provocation, a provocation to reply. " H e has sham ed h im ” , the M oroccan Berbers used to say, accord in g to M arcv, apropos of the ch allen ge-gift ( taw sa) w hich m arked the great cerem o n ies .13 T h e receiver of a gift is caught in the toils of exchan ge and has to ch oose a line of conduct w h ich , w hatever he d oes, w ill be a response (even if o n ly by d efault) to the provocation of the initial act. H e can choose to prolon g the exchan ge or to break it off. If, ob ed ien t to th e p oint o f honour, he op ts for exch an ge, his choice is identical w ith his o p p o n en t’s initial ch oice: h e agrees to play th e gam e, w'hich can go on for ever, for the riposte is in itself a new ch allen ge. Form erly, it is said , as soon as ven gean ce had been taken, the w h ole fam ily rejoiced at the en d in g of dish on ou r: th e m en let off rifle sh o ts and the w om en uttered cries of* y o u -y o u \

From the "rules ” o f honour to the sense o f honour


oclaim ing that revenge was accom plished, so that all m ig h t see h ow a fam ily of honour prom ptly restores its prestige and so that the o p p o sin g fam ily sh ould be left in no d ou b t as to th e source o f its m isfortune. C hoosing th e other alternative m ay take on different and even op posed m eanings. T h e offender m ay, in term s o f h is p hysical stren g th , h is prestige, or the im portance and authority of the group to w h ich he b elo n g s, be superior, equal,


inferior to the person offend ed . W hile the logic o f honour presupposes

the recognition of an ideal equality in h onou r, the popular con sciou sn ess is nonetheless aware o f actual in eq ualities. T h e m an w h o declares " I ’ve got a m oustache, t o o ” is answ ered w ith the proverb " T h e m oustache o f the hare is not that o f the l i o n . . . ” T h is is the basis o f a w h ole sp ontaneous casuistry. Let us take the case w here the offended party has, at least ideally, the m eans to riposte; if h e proves incapable of taking u p the challenge (w hether a gift or an offence), if from pusillanim ity or w eakness he sid estep s it and renounces the chance o f ripostin g, he is in a sen se ch oosin g to be the author o f h is ow n dishonour, w hich is then irrem ediable. H e con fesses h im self d efeated in the gam e that he ou gh t to have played d esp ite everyth ing. But n on-reply can also express the refusal to reply: the m an w h o has suffered an offence refuses to regard it as su ch , and through his d isd ain , w hich he m ay m anifest by calling in a hired killer, he cau ses the offence to recoil on its perpetrator, w h o is thereby d ishon ou red . Sim ilarly in the case of the gift, th e recipient may indicate that he ch ooses to refuse the exch an ge, either by rejecting the gift or by p resen tin g an im m ediate or su b seq u en t cou n ter-gift identical to the original g ift. H ere, to o , the exchange sto p s. In sh ort, w ithin th is logic, only escalation, ch allenge an sw ering challenge, can sign ify the op tion o f playing the gam e. In th e case w here the offender is clearly superior to the offend ed , only the fact o f avoiding the ch allenge is held to be blam ew orthy, and the offended party is not required to trium ph over th e offender in order to be rehabilitated in the eyes of p ub lic op in ion : the d efeated m an w h o has d o n e his duty incurs no blam e. T h e offend ed party is even able to throw back elbahadla on his offender w ithou t resorting to a riposte. H e on ly has to adopt an attitude of h um ility w h ich , by em p h asizin g his w eakness, h igh lig h ts the arbitrary and im m oderate character of the offence. T h is strategy is, o f cou rse, only ad m is­ sib le so lon g as, in the eyes of the grou p , th e disparity b etw een th e tw o antagonists is u nequ ivocal; it is a natural course for those individuals socially recognized as weak, clien ts (ya d h itsumuthen, those w h o lean o n ), or m em bers o f a sm all fam ily. F in ally, in the case w here the offender is inferior to the offend ed , the latter m ay riposte (th u s transgressing the third corollary) b u t if he unfairly exp loits his advantage, he exp oses him self to th e d ishon ou r w hich w ould otherw ise


T h e objective lim its o f objectivism

have rebounded on to the p resum ptuou s offend er. W isdom advises him rather to abstain from any reply and to play the " c o n te m p t” gam bit: sin ce failure to riposte cannot be im pu ted to cow ardice or w eakness, th e d ishon ou r recoils on to the attacker. A lth ou gh each of th ese " th eo retica l” cases cou ld be illustrated w ith a host of observations and stories, th e fact rem ains that the differences b etw een the tw o parties are never clear-cut, so that each can play on the am bigu ities and eq u ivocation s w hich this indeterm inacy len d s to the co n d u ct. T h e distance b etw een failure to riposte o w in g to fear and non-reply b espeaking con tem p t is often infinitesim al, w ith the resu lt that d isdain can alw ays serve as a mask for pusillanim ity. Every exchange con tains a m ore or less dissim ulated ch allenge, and th e logic o f ch allenge and riposte is b ut the lim it tow ards w h ich every act of com m un ication ten d s. G en erou s exchan ge tends tow ards overw h elm in g g en er o sity ; the greatest gift is at the sam e tim e the gift m ost likely to throw its recipient into d ishon ou r b y p roh ibitin g any cou n ter-gift. T o redu ce to the fun ction o f com m un ication - albeit by th e transfer of borrow ed co n cep ts p henom en a such as the d ialectic o f ch allenge and riposte and, m ore generally, th e exchange of gifts, w ord s, or w o m en , is to ignore th e structural am bivalen ce w hich predisposes them to fulfil a political function of d om in ation in and through perform ance o f th e com m u n ication fun ction . If th e offence d oes not necessarily bear w ith in it d ishon ou r, the reason is that it allow s the p ossib ility of riposte, w h ich is recognized b y the very act o f g iv in g offen ce .14 But p otential d ishon ou r becom es m ore and m ore real the longer vengeance is d elayed. T h erefore th e tim e-lag b etw een the offence and the reparation m ust be as sh ort as p ossib le; a large fam ily has in deed sufficient fightin g m en not to have to w ait lon g. T h e reputation o f its nif, its sen sitivity and d eterm in ation, lead it to appear as capable of rip ostin g the very instant an offence is com m itted . T h e respect inspired b y a good fam ily is exp ressed in the saying that it can "sleep and leave th e door o p e n ”. T h e m an o f honour, o f w h om p eop le say that he fulfils " h is role as a m a n ” ( thirugza), is alw ays on his g u a rd ; h en ce h e is im m u n e from even th e m ost reckless attack, and "even w hen he is aw ay, there is som eon e in his h o u s e ”. But th in g s are n ot so sim p le. It is said that D jeh a, a legendary figure, asked w h en h e had aven ged his father, replied , "A fter a hundred years had g o n e b y .” T h e story is also told o f th e lion w ho alw ays walks w ith m easured p a ces: " I d o n ’t know w here m y prey i s ”, he said. " I f it’s in fron t o f m e, on e day I ’ll reach it; if it’s b eh ind m e, it’ll catch up w ith m e .” H ow ever close it m ay com e to the logic o f practices (and to the extent that it d o es), the abstract diagram w h ich has to be constructed in order to account for that logic is liable to ob scu re the fact that the drivin g force of the w hole m echanism is not som e abstract principle (th e principle of iso tim y , eq u ality

From the "rules ” o f honour to the sense o f honour


in h onou r), still less the set o f rules w hich can be d erived from it, but the sense o f h onou r, a d isp osition inculcated in the earliest years of life and constantly reinforced b y calls to order from th e grou p , that is to say, from the aggregate of the in dividu als en d ow ed w ith the sam e d isp o sitio n s, to w hom each is linked b y h is d isp osition s and in terests. N if, literally the n o se, is very closely associated w ith virility and with all the d isp ositio n s, incorporated in the form o f bodily sch em es, w hich are held to m anifest v ir ility ; th e verb qabel, com m only used to design ate the fundam ental virtu es of the m an o f honour, the m an w h o faces, ou tfaces, stand s up to others, looks th em in the ey es, knows how to receive as a host and to d o his gu est h on ou r, also m eans to face the east (elqibla) and the future (qabel), th e m ale orientation par ex cellen ce. T h is is sufficient to rem ind us that the point o f honour is a perm anent d isp osition , em bedded in the agen ts’ very bodies in the form o f m ental d ispositions, schem es of p ercep tion and th ou gh t, extrem ely general in their application, such as those w h ich d ivid e up th e w orld in accordance w ith th e op position s betw een the m ale and th e fem ale, east and w est, future and past, top and bottom , right and left, e tc ., and also, at a d eep er level, in th e form o f bodily postures and stances, w ays o f standing, sittin g , look in g, sp eak ing, or w alking. What is called the sense o f honour is n oth in g other than the cultivated disposition, inscribed in the b ody schem a and in th e sch em es of thou ght, w hich enables each agent to en gen d er all the practices co n sisten t w ith the logic o f ch allenge and riposte, and on ly su ch p ractices, by m eans o f cou n t­ less in ven tion s, w h ich th e stereotyped u n fold in g o f a ritual w ould in no w ay dem and. T h e fact that there is n o " c h o ic e ” that cannot be accounted for, retrospectively at least, d oes not im ply that su ch practice is perfectly predic­ table, like the acts inserted in the rigorously stereotyped seq u en ces of a rite; and this is true not on ly for the observer b ut also for the agen ts, w ho find in the relative predictability and u np redictab ility o f the p ossib le ripostes the op portu nity to put their strategies to work. But even the m ost strictly ritualized exchan ges, in w h ich all th e m om ents o f th e action , and their u n fold in g, are rigorously foreseen, have room for strategies: th e agents rem ain in com m and of the interval b etw een th e ob ligatory m om ents and can therefore act on their o p p on en ts b y p layin g w ith th e tempo o f the exch an ge. W e know that returning a gift at o n ce, i.e . d oing away w ith the interval, am ounts to breaking off the exch an ge. L ikew ise th e lesson con tained in the parables of D jeha and the lion m ust be taken seriou sly; the m astery w h ich defines ex cellen ce finds exp ression in th e play m ade w ith tim e w h ich transform s ritual­ ized exchan ge in to a confrontation of strategies. T h e skilled strategist can turn a capital of provocations received or con flicts su sp en d ed , w ith the potential ripostes, ven gean ces, or con flicts it con tains, into an in stru m ent o f power, b y reserving the capacity to reopen or cease h ostilities in his ow n good tim e.


T h e objective limits o f objectivism

Practice an d discourse about practice It w ould th u s be p ossib le to m ove on to th e grou n d w here talk of rules seem s least m isp laced , that of cu sto m or " p re -la w ”, and sh o w that the "custom ary r u le s” preserved by the grou p m em ory are th em selv es the p rod uct of a small batch o f sch em es en ab lin g agen ts to generate an in finity of p ractices adapted to en d lessly ch an gin g situ ation s, w ith ou t th ose sch em es ever b ein g constituted as exp licit p rin cip les. T h is is w h y, like W eb er’s K ad i-ju stice, cu stom ary law alw ays seem s to pass from particular case to particular case, from th e specific m isd eed to th e specific san ction , n ever exp ressly form u latin g th e fundam ental p rin cip les w h ich " ration al” law sp ells out exp licitly (e .g . all m en are equal in h on ou r ).15 T h e appropriate acts o f jurisp ru dence co n cern in g a particular offence, for exam p le, th ose m aking it p ossib le to assess the gravity of a theft accord in g to the circu m stan ces in w h ich it w as com m itted , can all be produced from a sm all n um ber of sc h e m e s that are con tin u o u sly ap plied in all dom ains o f practice, su ch as the op p o sitio n s b etw een the h o u se (or m o sq u e) and other places, b etw een night and d ay, b etw een feast d ays and ordinary d ays, the first m em ber of each pair alw ays corresp ond ing to the severer p en alty. It is clear that it is sufficient to co m b in e th e corresp on d in g p rin cip les to p rod uce the sanction appropriate to each case, real or im aginary - from , for exam p le, theft com m itted b y n ight from a d w ellin g h ou se, the m ost h ein o u s, to th eft by day in a d istan t field, the least h ein o u s, other th in gs b ein g eq u al, of co u rse .16 T h e g en erative sch em es are so gen erally and au tom atically a p plicab le that th ey are con verted in to exp licit p rin cip les, form ally stated, only in the very case in w hich th e value o f the object stolen is su ch as to sw eep aside all extenu atin g or aggravating circu m stan ces. T h u s the qanun of Ighil Im oula, for exam p le, reported by H anoteau and L eto u rn eu x , p rovid es that "he w h o steals a m u le, ox or cow , b y force or trickery shall pay

50 reals to th e djem aa and pay the

ow ner the value o f the stolen anim al, w h eth er the theft w as by night or by d a y , from inside a house o r outside, and w hether the anim als belong to the householder o r to someone else ” .17 T h e sam e b asic sch em es, alw ays fu n ctio n in g in the im p licit state, ap ply in th e case of braw ls, w h ich togeth er w ith th efts norm ally occu p y a con sid erab le place in cu sto m ; there are th e sam e o p p osition s, b u t som etim es w ith n ew im p licatio n s, b etw een the h ouse and other p laces (th e m urder of a person cau gh t in o n e’s h o m e , for exam p le, en tailin g no sa n ctio n ), n igh t-tim e and d aytim e, feast days and ordinary days; and there are also variations accord in g to th e social status of th e aggressor and the victim (m an /w om an , ad u lt/ch ild ) and th e w eap on s or m eth od s used (w h eth er it w as b y treachery - if, for exam p le, the victim w as asleep - or in m an-to-m an com b at) and the extent to w h ich the deed w as carried o u t (m ere threats or actual v io le n c e). T h er e is every reason to think that if the basic

Practice and discourse about practice


tions o f th is im plicit axiom atics w ere sp elled out m ore co m p letely than Pr

here (e .g . a crim e is alw ays m ore seriou s com m itted by n ig h t than

1S A hv co^ m m itted „ d av). together w ith the law s by - w h ich th ev are com b ined ding on the case, tw o p rop osition s m ay either be added togeth er or ncel each other ou t, w h ich , w ith in the logic of th e rule, can o n ly be d e scrib ed as an ex c ep tio n ), it w ould be p ossib le to reproduce all th e provisions of all the custom ary law s w h ich have b een collected and even to produce the co m p lete universe of all the acts of jurisprudence con form in g to th e "sen se of ju stice ” in its K ab yle form .

T h u s the p recepts o f cu sto m , very close in this resp ect to sayin gs and proverbs (such as th ose w h ich govern th e tem poral d istrib u tion of activ ities), have noth ing in com m on w ith the tran scend en t rules of a juridical code: everyone is able, not so m uch to cite and recite them from m em o ry , as to repro­ duce them (fairly accurately). It is because each agent has the m eans of acting as a judge of others and of h im self that cu stom has a hold on h im : in d eed , in social form ations w here, as in K abvlia, there exists no judicial apparatus endow ed w ith a m on op oly of physical or even sy m b o lic v io len ce and w here clan assem b lies fu n ction as sim p le arbitration tribunals, that is, as m ore or less expanded fam ily cou n cils, the ru les of cu stom ary law have so m e practical efficacy on ly to the ex te n t that, sk ilfully m anip ulated b y the h olders of authority w ithin the clan (th e " gu aran tors”), th ey "aw a k en ” , so to speak, the schem es of perception and appreciation d ep osited , in their incorporated state, in every m em ber of the grou p , i.e . the d isp o sitio n s o f the h abitus. T h e y are therefore separated on ly b y d ifferen ces o f degree from th e partial and often fictitious exp licit statem en ts of the g ro u p ’s im p licit axiom atics through w hich individual m ore-or-less " a u th o r ize d ” agen ts seek to cou n ter the failures or hesitations of th e h abitus by stating th e so lu tio n s appropriate to difficult cases. Talk of rules, a eu p h em ized form of legalism , is n ever m ore fallacious than w hen applied to the m ost h om o g en eo u s societies (or the least codified areas of differentiated so cieties) w here m ost p ractices, in clu d in g th o se seem in g ly m ost ritualized, can b e abandoned to the orchestrated im provisation of com m on d isp osition s: the rule is never, in th is case, m ore than a secon d -b est in tend ed to m ake g ood the occasional m isfirings o f the co llectiv e enterprise of in cu lcation ten d in g to p rod uce h abitus that are capable o f gen erating practices regulated w ith ou t exp ress regulation or any in stitu tion alized call to ord er .18 It go es w ith o u t sayin g that th e im p licit p h ilo so p h y o f practice w hich pervades the anthropological tradition w ould n ot have su rvived all th e d en u n ­ ciations of legalist form alism if it had not had an affinity w ith the p resu p p o si­ tions in scrib ed in th e relation ship b etw een the ob server and th e o b ject of his stu d y, w h ich im p ose th em selv es in the very con stru ction o f his ob ject so lon g

T h e objective limits o f objectivism


as they are not exp licitly taken as an ob ject. N ative exp erience o f the social w orld never ap preh en ds th e system o f ob jective relations other than in profiles, i.e . in th e form o f relations w h ich present th em selv es o n ly on e by on e, and h en ce su cc essiv ely , in the em ergen cy situ ation s of everyday life. If agents are p ossessed by th eir h abitus m ore than th ey p ossess it, this is because it acts w ith in th em as the organ izing p rin cip le of their action s, and because th is modus operan di in form in g all th ou g h t and action (including th o u gh t o f action ) reveals itself only in th e opus operatum . In v ited b y the a n th rop ologist’s q u e stio n in g to effect a reflexive and quasi-theoretical return on to h is ow n practice, th e b est-in form ed in form an t p rod uces a discourse which compounds tw o opposing system s o f lacunae. Insofar as it is a discourse of fa m ilia rity , it leaves u n said all that g o es w ith o u t sayin g: the inform ant’s remarks - like the narratives or com m en taries o f those w h o m H eg el calls ‘'original h isto ria n s” (H ero d o tu s, T h u c y d id e s, X en o p h o n , or Caesar) who, liv in g "in the sp irit o f the e v e n t ” ,19 take for granted the p resu p p o sitio n s taken for granted b y the historical agen ts - are in evitab ly subject to the censorship inherent in their h abitus, a sy ste m o f sch em es of p erception and th o u g h t w hich cannot g iv e w hat it d oes g iv e to b e th o u g h t and perceived w ith ou t ipso facto p rod ucing an unthin k able and an u nn am eable. Insofar as it is an outsideroriented discourse it ten ds to ex c lu d e all direct reference to particular cases (that is, virtually all in form ation d irectly attached to p ro p er names ev o k in g and su m m arizin g a w h ole sy stem of previous in form ation ). B ecau se th e native is that m uch less in clin ed to slip in to the language o f fam iliarity to th e extent that his q u estion er strikes him as unfam iliar w ith th e u n iverse of reference im plied b y his discou rse (a fact apparent in the form of the q u estio n s asked, particular or general, ign oran t or in fo rm ed ), it is u nderstandable that an th rop ologists sh ould so o fte n forget the distance b etw een learned recon ­ stru ction of the native w orld and the native exp erience of that w orld, an exp erience w hich finds ex p ressio n on ly in the silen ce s, ellip ses, and lacunae of the language o f fam iliarity. F in ally, th e in form an t’s discou rse ow es its b est-h id d en properties to the fact that it is the p rod uct o f a sem i-theoretical d isp o sitio n , inevitab ly induced b y any learned q u estio n in g . T h e rationalizations prod uced from this sta n d ­ p oin t, w h ich is no longer that of action, w ith ou t b ein g that of scien ce, m eet and confirm

the ex p ecta tio n s of th e juridical, ethical, or gram m atical

form alism to w hich his o w n situ ation in clin es the observer. T h e relationship b etw een inform ant and an th rop ologist is som ew h at an alogous to a p edagogical relation ship , in w hich the m aster m u st b rin g to th e state of ex p licitn ess, for the p urposes of tran sm ission , the u n con sciou s sch em es o f h is practice. Just as the tea ch in g o f ten n is, th e vio lin , ch ess, d an cin g , or b o x in g breaks dow n into in dividu al p osition s, ste p s, or m oves, p ractices w h ich in tegrate all these

Practice an d discourse about practice

artificia „ activity,


isolated elem en tary u nits of beh aviour in to the u n ity of an organized in form an t’s d isco u rse, in w h ich h e strives to give h im self the sym b olic m astery o f his p ractice, ten d s to draw attention to

a^ r n o s t rem arkable " m o v e s ”, i.e . th ose m ost esteem ed or rep reh en d ed , in thC different social gam es (su ch as elbahadla in the h on ou r gam e or m arriage

1 th the parallel cousin a m o n g th e m atrim onial strategies), rather than to the ole from w h ich th e se m oves and all eq u ally p ossib le m o v es can be erated and w h ich , b elo n g in g to th e u n iverse of the u n d isp u ted , m ost often remain in their im p licit state. B ut th e su b tlest pitfall d o u b tless lies in the fact that such d escrip tion s freely draw on the h igh ly a m b ig u o u s vocabulary of rules, the language of gram m ar, m orality, and law , to exp ress a social practice that in fact o b ey s q u ite different prin cip les. T h e exp lan ation agents may provide o f their ow n practice, thanks to a quasi theoretical reflection on their practice, con ceals, ev en from their ow n eyes, the true nature o f their practical m astery, i.e . that it is learned ignorance (docta ignorantia), a m ode of practical k n ow led ge not com p risin g k n ow led ge o f its ow n p rin cip les. It follow s that th is learned ign oran ce can on ly giv e rise to the m islead in g discourse of a speaker h im self m isled , ignorant b oth o f th e o b jectiv e truth about his practical m astery (w h ic h is that it is ignorant of its o w n tru th ) and o f the true prin cip le of the k n ow led ge h is practical m astery co n ta in s. N ative theories are d a n gerou s not so m uch b ecause th ey lead research towards illusory exp lan ation s as b ecau se they b rin g q u ite su perflu ous rein­ forcem ent to the in tellectu alist ten d e n c y in h eren t in th e ob jectivist approach to practices. T h is acad em icism of th e social " a r t” o f living w h ich , having extracted from the opus operatum the su p p o sed principles of its p rod u ction , sets them up as norm s ex p lic itly g overn in g practices (w ith phrases like "good form req u ires. .

" c u sto m d e m a n d s . .

et c. ) , takes away u n d erstan d in g

of the logic of practice in th e very m ovem en t in w h ich it tries to offer it. For exam ple, th e id eological u se m any so cieties m ake o f th e lineage m o d el and, m ore gen erally, of gen ealogical represen tation s, in order to justify and le g iti­ m ate the estab lish ed order (e .g . b y ch o o sin g the m ore orthodox of tw o p ossible w ays o f classifyin g a m arriage), w ou ld d o u b tless have b eco m e appar­ en t to an th rop ologists at an earlier date if the theoretical u se th ey th em selv es make of this theoretical co n stru ct had not p revented th em from in q u irin g in to the fu n ction s o f g en ea lo g ies and genealogists, and thereby from se ein g the gen ealogy as th e theoretical cen su s of th e u niverse o f theoretical relationships w ithin w hich in d ivid u als or grou p s d efine the real space o f (in b oth sen ses) practical relation ship s in term s of their conjunctural in terests. T h e im p osition and in cu lcation o f the stru ctures is n ever so p erfect that all ex p licitn ess can b e d isp e n sed w ith . A nd in cu lcation is itself, togeth er w ith in stitu tio n alizin g, w h ich is alw ays accom pan ied by a certain am oun t of

T h e objective lim its o f objectivism


ob jectification in d iscou rse (oral or w ritten ) or so m e other sy m b o lic support (em b lem s, rites, e tc .), on e of th e privileged m o m en ts for fo rm u la tin g the practical sc h e m e s and co n stitu tin g th em as p rin cip les. It is d o u b tless no a ccid en t that th e q u estion o f the relations b etw een the h ab itu s and th e " r u le ” sh o u ld be b rou ght to ligh t w ith th e h istorical em ergen ce o f an exp ress and e x p lic it action of in c u lc a tio n :20 th e p ed agogy of th e S o p h ists, forced , in order to realize its aim , to p rod uce sy stem s of ru les, su ch as gram m ars or rhetorics, cam e u p against the p rob lem o f the rules d efin in g th e right w ay and right m o m en t - kairos - to apply th e rules, or, as th e phrase so aptly g o es, to pu t into practice a repertoire of d ev ices or tech n iq u es, in sh o rt, th e w h o le art of p erform an ce, in w h ich th e h abitus in evitab ly reappears. A n d , n o doubt b ecau se it still partakes o f th e am b igu ou s statu s of all gram m ars, w h ich never m ake it clear w h eth er th e y recon stitu te th e real m ech an ics o f th e sch em es im m an en t in practice or th e theoretical logic of the m o d els co n stru cted in order to account for p ractices, C hom skian gen erative gram m ar n ow ad ays en tails (o b jective) rediscovery that w hat creates th e p rob lem is not the p o ssib ility o f p rod u cin g coh eren t sen ten ces in in finite n u m b er but th e fact o f coh eren tly and appropriately u sin g an in finite n u m b er of sen ten ces in an in finite n um ber o f situ ation s. It is n ot easy to d efine rigorou sly th e statu s o f th e sem i-learn ed gram m ars o f practice —sayin gs, p roverbs, g n o m ic p o em s, sp o n ta n eo u s " th e o r ie s” w hich alw ays accom pan y even th e m o st " a u to m a tic ’* p ractices, ch eck in g th e fu n c ­ tio n in g o f th e au tom atism s or, m ore or less su cc essfu lly , m aking g o o d their m isfirin gs - and of all th e knowledges p rod uced by an "op eration o f th e secon d p o w e r ” w h ic h , as M erleau -P on ty ob serv es, " p resu p p o ses the stru ctu res it a n a ly ses ”21 and m ore or less rigorou sly a ccou n ts for. B ein g th e p rod u ct of the sam e gen erative sc h e m e s as th e practices they claim to a ccou n t for, even the m ost false and superficial o f th ese " secon d ary exp la n a tio n s ” on ly reinforce the stru ctures by p rovid in g th e m w ith a particular form o f " r a tio n a liza tio n ”. E ven if th e y affect practice o n ly w ith in narrow lim its ,22 the fact rem ains that w h en ever th e ad ju stm ent b etw een stru ctu res and d isp o sitio n s is b rok en , the transform ation

of th e gen erative sc h e m e s is d o u b tless reinforced and

accelerated by th e d ialectic b etw een th e sc h e m e s im m a n en t in practice and th e n orm s p rod uced b y reflection on practices, w hich im p o se n ew m ean in gs on th em b y reference to alien stru ctures. R eaction against legalist form alism in its o vert or m asked form m ust not lead u s to m ake the h ab itu s th e ex clu siv e p rin cip le o f all p ractice. In reality, even in social form ation s w h ere, as in K ab ylia, th e m akin g ex p lic it and ob jec­ tify in g of th e gen erative sc h e m e s in a gram m ar o f practices, a w ritten cod e o f co n d u c t, is m in im al, it is n o n eth eless p ossib le to ob serve th e first sig n s o f a d ifferen tiation of th e d om ain s of practice accord in g to th e d egree of

Practice an d discourse about practice


t on of the p rin cip les g o v er n in g th em . B etw een the areas that are C° rently " fr e e st” b ecau se g iv e n over in reality to th e regulated im provisaa.PPa ^ {he h abitus (such as th e d istrib u tion of a ctivities and ob jects w ith in the^internal space of th e h o u se) and th e areas m ost strictly regulated by ustom ary norm s and u p h eld b y social san ction s (su ch as the great agrarian rites) there lies the w h ole field of practices su b jected to traditional p recep ts, custom ary recom m en dation s, ritual p rescrip tion s, fu n ctio n in g as a regulatory device w hich orien ts practice w ith o u t p rod u cin g it. T h e ab sen ce o f a g en u in e law - the product of th e w ork of a b od y of sp ecialists exp ressly m andated to produce a coh eren t corp u s of juridical norm s and ensure resp ect for its application, and fu rn ish ed to th is en d w ith a co ercive p ow er - m ust not lead us to forget that any socially recogn ized form ulation con tain s w ith in it an intrinsic pow er to rein force d isp o sitio n s sym b olically. Our approach is th u s radically o p p o sed , on tw o essen tial p oin ts, to th e interactionism w h ich redu ces th e con stru ctio n s of social sc ien ce to " c o n s­ tructs of the secon d d egree, that is, con stru cts o f th e co n stru cts m ade by th e actors on the social s c e n e ”, as S ch u tz d o e s ,23 or, like G arfinkel, to accoun ts of the accounts w hich agen ts p rod uce and through w hich they p rod uce the m eaning of th eir w o rld .24 O ne is en titled to undertake to g iv e an "accou n t of accounts ”, so lo n g as on e d o es not p ut forw ard o n e ’s co n trib u tio n to th e scien ce of pre-scien tific representation o f the social w orld as if it w ere a science o f the social w orld . But th is is still too gen ero u s, b ecau se th e pre­ requisite for a scien ce o f co m m o n se n se represen tation s w h ich seek s to b e m ore than a co m p licito u s d escrip tion is a sc ien ce o f th e stru ctu res w h ich govern both practices and th e con co m ita n t rep resen tation s, th e latter b ein g the principal obstacle to th e con stru ction o f su ch a sc ie n c e .25 O n ly by co n stru ctin g the objective stru ctu res (price cu rves, ch an ces o f access to h igh er ed u ca tio n , law s of th e m atrim onial m arket, e tc .) is on e able to p ose the q u estion of the m echanism s through w hich th e relation ship is esta b lish ed b etw een the structures and th e practices or th e rep resen tation s w h ich accom pan y th em , instead of treating th ese " th o u g h t o b je c ts” as " r e a so n s” or " m o tiv e s ” and m aking them th e d eterm in in g cau se o f the practices. M oreover, th e co n stitu ­ tive pow er w hich is granted to ordinary lan guage lies not in th e lan guage itself but in the grou p w h ich au th orizes it and in vests it w ith au th ority. Official language, particularly th e sy stem of co n cep ts b y m ean s o f w hich th e m em bers of a given group p rovid e th e m se lv e s w ith a representation o f th eir social relations (e.g . th e lin eage m odel or the vocabulary of h o n o u r), sa n ctio n s and im p oses what it states, tacitly layin g d ow n th e d iv id in g lin e b etw een the thinkable and th e u n th in k ab le, th ereb y con trib u tin g tow ard s the m ainten an ce of the sy m b olic order from w h ich it draw s its au th ority. T h u s officialization is on ly one asp ect of th e ob jectify in g p rocess through w h ich th e group


T h e objective limits o f objectivism

teaches itself and con ceals from itself its ow n tru th , in scrib ing in o b jectivity its representation o f w hat it is and thu s b in d in g itself b y th is p u b lic d eclaration .26 T h e agent w h o " reg u la rizes” his situ ation or puts h im self in the right is sim p ly b eating the group at its ow n gam e; in abiding by th e ru les, fallin g in to line w ith good form , he w in s the group over to h is sid e b y o sten tatiou sly h onou rin g the values the grou p h on ou rs. In social form ations in w h ich the exp ression o f m aterial in terests is heavily censored and political au th ority relatively u n in stitu tion alized , political strategies for m obilization can be effec­ tive only if the values they pursue or propose are presented in the m isrecognizable gu ise o f th e valu es in w hich the grou p recogn izes itself. It is therefore not sufficient to say that th e rule d eterm in es practice w h en there is m ore to -b e gained b y ob ey in g it than b y d isob eyin g it. T h e ru le’s last trick is to cause it to be forgotten that agents have an interest in o b ey in g th e rule, or m ore precisely, in being in a regular situation. Brutally m aterialist redu ction enables on e to break w ith th e n aiveties o f th e sp on tan eou s theory of p ra ctice; b u t it is liable to m ake on e forget the advantage that lies in ab iding b y the ru les, w h ich is the principle of the secon d-ord er strategies through w hich the agent seeks to p u t him self in the right.27 T h u s, q u ite apart from the d irect profit derived from d o in g w hat the rule prescribes, perfect con form ity to the rule can bring secondary benefits su ch as the prestige and respect w hich alm ost invariably reward an action apparently m otivated b y n o th in g other than p u re, disinterested resp ect for the rule. It follo w s that strategies d irectly o rien ted tow ards th e prim ary profit o f practice (e .g . th e prestige accruing from a m arriage) are alm ost alw ays accom pan ied b y secon d-ord er strategies w h o se purpose is to give apparent satisfaction to th e d em an d s of the official ru le, and th u s to com p oun d th e satisfaction s o f en ligh ten ed self-in terest w ith the advantage of ethical im peccability.

T he fallacies o f the rule T h e place w h ich a notion as visibly am b igu ou s as that o f the rule o ccu p ies in anthropological or lin gu istic theory cannot be fully u n d erstood u n less it is seen that th is notion p rovid es a solu tion to the con trad iction s and d ifficulties to w hich the researcher is con d em n ed b y an inadequate or - w hich am oun ts to th e sam e th in g - an im p licit theory o f practice. E veryth in g takes place as if, fulfillin g the role o f a refuge for ignorance, th is hospitab le n otion , w h ich can su ggest at on ce the law con stru cted b y scien ce, th e tran scend en t social norm and th e im m anent regularity of p ractices, enabled its user to escape from the d ilem m a of m echanism or finalism w ithou t falling in to th e m ost flagrant naiveties o f the legalism w hich m akes o b ed ien ce to the rule the d eterm in in g

T he fallacies o f the rule *


cip le o f all p ractices. O n e cou ld g o back to D u rk h eim and exam in e the

lace at on ce central and em p ty, occu p ied in h is system b y th e notion o f social c o n s tr a in t.

But it is sufficient to con sid er th e q uite exem plary theoretical

operations w hereby Saussure con stitu tes lin gu istics as a scien ce b y con stru ct­ ing language as an au ton om ou s ob ject, d istin ct from its actu alization s in sp eech , in order to bring to ligh t the im p licit p resu p p o sitio n s o f any m ode

of know ledge w h ich treats practices or w orks as sy m b o lic facts, finished p ro d u cts, to b e deciphered by reference to a cod e (w h ich m ay be called

culture). Finding them selves in a position of theoretical dependence on linguistics, structural­ ist anthropologists have often involved in their practice the epistemological unconscious engendered by unm indfulness of the acts through w hich linguistics constructed its own object. Heirs to an intellectual heritage which they did not make for them selves, they have too often been satisfied with literal translations of a term inology dissociated from the operations of which it is the product, sparing them selves the effort of an epistemological critique of the conditions and limits of validity of transposing the Saussurian construction. It is notew orthy, for exam ple, that w ith the exception of Sapir, who was predisposed by his dual training as linguist and anthropologist to raise the problem of the relations between culture and language, no anthropologist has tried to bring out all the im plications of the hom ology (w hich Leslie W hite is virtually alone in formulating explicitly) between the two oppositions, that betw een language and speech on the one hand, and on the other hand that betw een culture and conduct or works. When Saussure constitutes language as an autonom ous object, irreducible to its concrete realizations, that is, to the utterances it makes possible, or w hen, by a procedure similar in every respect, Panofsky establishes that what he calls, follow ing Alois Riegl, Kunstuollen - that is to say, roughly,- the objective sense of the work is no more reducible to the " w ill” of the artist than it is to the "w ill of the a g e ” or to the experiences the work arouses in the spectator, they are perform ing an operation with regard to these particular cases w hich can be generalized to all practice. Just as Saussure show s that the true m edium of com m unication betw een two subjects is not discourse, the im mediate datum considered in its observable materiality, but the language, the structure of objective relations making possible both the production and the deciphering of discourse, so Panofsky show s that iconological interpretation treats the sensible properties of the work of art, together with the affective experiences it arouses, as mere *'cultural sy m p to m s”, which yield their full m eaning only to a reading armed w ith the cultural cipher the artist has engaged in his work.

Saussure first m akes the p oin t that sp eech appears as th e precondition for language, as m uch from the in dividu al as from the co llectiv e p oin t o f v iew , because language cannot be ap prehended ou tsid e o f sp eech , because language is learnt through sp eech , and because sp eech is the so u rce of in novation s in and transform ations o f language. T h is is so even th o u g h on e m ight invoke the ex isten ce o f dead languages or d u m b n ess in old age as provin g the p ossib ility o f losin g sp eech w h ile con servin g language, and even thou gh language m istakes reveal the language as the ob jective norm o f sp eech (w ere !t otherw ise, every language m istake w ould m od ify th e language and there


T he objective lim its o f objectivism

w ould be no m istakes any m ore). But h e then ob serves that the priority of sp eech over language is p urely ch ron ological and that the relationship is inverted as soon as on e leaves the d om ain o f individual or co llective history in order to in qu ire into the logical conditions for d ecip h erin g. F rom this p oin t o f view , w hich is that of ob jectivism , language is the precond ition for th e in telligibility o f sp eech , b ein g th e m ed iation w h ich en su res the id en tity o f the so u n d -con cep t associations m ade b y th e speakers and so guarantees m utual com p reh en sion . T h u s, in th e logical order o f in telligibility, sp eech is th e p rod u ct o f lan gu age .28 It follo w s that, because it is con stru cted from th e strictly intellectualist stan d p oin t of d ecip h erin g , Saussurian lin g u istics privi­ leges the structure of sign s, that is, th e relation s b etw een th em , at the ex p en se of th eir practical functions, w hich are never redu cible, as structuralism tacitly assu m es, to fu n ction s of com m u n ication or k now ledge. T h e lim its o f Saussurian ob jectivism are never m ore clearly v isib le than in its in ability to con ceive o f sp eech and m ore generally o f practice other than as execution ,29 w ith in a logic w h ich , th o u g h it d oes not use th e w ord , is that of th e rule to b e ap plied . O b jectivism con stru cts a theory of practice (as execu tio n ) b ut on ly as a negative b y-p rod u ct or, on e m ig h t say, w aste p rod u ct, im m ediately discarded, o f the con stru ction o f the sy stem s of o b je c­ tive relations. T h u s, w ith th e aim of d elim itin g , w ithin th e b ody o f lin g u istic data, the "terrain o f th e la n g u a g e” and o f extracting a " w ell-d efin ed o b je c t” , "an ob ject that can be stu d ied se p a r a te ly ”, " o f h om o g en eo u s n a tu re” , Saussu re sets aside " th e physical part of co m m u n ica tio n ”, that is, sp eech as a preconstructed ob ject, liable to stan d in the w ay o f con stru ctin g th e lan guage; he then isolates w ithin the " sp eech c ir c u it” w hat he calls th e "ex ecu tiv e s id e ”, that is, sp eech as a con stru cted ob ject defined by th e actualization of a certain sen se in a particular com b ination of so u n d s, w hich he finally elim inates on the grou n ds that " execu tion is never the w ork of th e m a ss”, b ut "alw ays in d iv id u a l” . T h u s the sam e co n cep t, sp eech , is d iv id ed by theoretical con stru ction into an im m ed iately observable preconstructed datu m , p recisely that against w hich th e operation of theoretical con stru ction is carried ou t, and a constructed object, the negative p rod uct o f the operation w h ich con stitu tes the language as su c h , or rather, wrhich produces b oth ob jects by p rod ucing th e relation o f o p p o sitio n w ith in w h ich and b y wrh ich th ey are d efined. It w ou ld not be difficult to sh ow that th e con stru ction o f th e con cep t of culture (in the cultural an th rop ology sense) or social structure (in RadclifTe-Brown’s sen se and that o f social anthropology) sim ilarly im p lies th e con stru ction of a n otion o f co n d u ct as execu tion w'hich coexists w ith th e prim ary notion of con d u ct as sim p le behaviour taken at face value. T h e extrem e con fu sion of debates on the relation ship b etw een " cu ltu re” (or " social stru ctu r es”) and con d u ct generally arises from the fact that the con stru cted

T h e fallacies o f the rule


m eaning of con d u ct and the theory of practice it im plies lead a sort 0f underground existen ce in the discou rse o f both th e d efen d ers and the opponents of cultural a n th rop ology .30 O bjectivism is th u s protected by the im plicit state in w h ich its theory of practice rem ains against the only decisive ch allen ge, the o n e w hich w ou ld attack p recisely that th eory, the source of all th e m etaph ysical aberrations on "the locus of c u ltu r e ” , the m ode of existen ce o f the " str u c tu re”, or the u n con sciou s finality of the history of system s, not to m en tion the all-too-fam ous " co llectiv e con sciousness . It is indeed " on th e ex ecu tiv e s id e ”, as Saussure puts it, that on e finds the essen tial w eakness of the Saussurian m odel and o f all the th eories w h ich ,

som etim es under new n am es, accept the fundam ental p resu p p o sitio n s o f its theoretical con stru ction . C red itin g the sp eak ing subject w ith a potentially in finite generative cap acity m erely p ostp on es the Saussurian d ifficulty: the

power of innovation requ ired in order to generate an in finite n um ber of sentences in no w ay im p lies th e pow er o f adaptation that is required in order to make relevant use of th o se sen ten ces in con stantly ch an gin g situ ation s. H ence the lin g u ists’ lon gstan d in g stru ggle to overcom e the d ifficulties to w hich th e Saussurian con stru ction w as con d em n ed from the very b eg in n in g , inasm uch as th e o n ly w ay it co u ld con stitu te the structural properties of the m essage w as (sim p ly b y p ositin g an indifferent sender and receiver) to neglect th e functional properties the m essage derives from its use in a determ inate situ ation and, m ore p recisely, in a socially structured interaction. As soon as one m oves from the structure of language to the functions it fulfils, that is, to the uses agents actually make of it, one sees that mere know ledge of the code gives only very im perfect m astery of the linguistic interactions really taking place. As Luis Prieto observes, the m eaning of a linguistic elem ent depends at least as much on extra-linguistic as on linguistic factors, that is to say, on the context and situation in which it is used. E verything takes place as if, from am ong the class of "sign ified s” abstractly corresponding to a speech sound, the receiver " selected ” the one which seems to him to be com patible with the circum stances as he perceives th em .31 T h u s reception depends to a large degree on the objective structure of the relations betw een the interacting agents’ objective positions in the social structure (e .g . relations of com petition or objective antagonism , or relations of power and authority, e tc .), which governs the form and content of the interactions observed in a particular conjuncture. Bally show s how the very content of the com m unication, the nature of the language and all the forms of expression used (posture, gesture, mimickrv, e tc .) and above all, perhaps, their style, are affected by the structure of the social relation betw een the agents involved and, m ore precisely, by the structure of their relative positions *n the hierarchies of age, pow er, prestige, and culture: "W hen I talk to som eone, or talk about him , I cannot help visualizing the particular type of relationship (casual, formal, obligatory, official) betw een that person and m yself ; involuntarily 1 think not °nly of his possible action towards m yself, but also of his age, sex, rank, and social 2



T h e objective lim its o f objectivism

background; all these considerations may affect my choice of expressions and lead me to avoid what might discourage, offend, or hurt. If need be, my language becomes reserved an d prudent; it becom es indirect and euphem istic, it slides over the surface instead of in sistin g.’*32 Hence com m unication is possible in practice only when accom ­ panied by a practical spotting of cues w hich, in enabling speakers to situate others in the hierarchies of age, wealth, power, or culture, guides them unw ittingly towards the type of exchange best suited in form and content to the objective situation between the interacting individuals. T h is is seen clearly in bilingual situations, in w hich the speakers adopt cne or the other of the two available languages according to the circum stances, the subject of conversation, the social status of their interlocuter (and thus his degree of culture and bilingualism ), etc. T h e whole content of the com m unication (and not just the language used) is unconsciously modified by the structure of the relationship between the speakers. T he pressure of the socially qualified objective situation is such that, through the mediation of bodily mim esis, a whole way of speaking, a type of joke, a particular tone, som etim es even an accent, seem to be objectively called for by certain situations, and, conversely, quite excluded from others, whatever efforts are made to introduce them . But the linguists and anthropologists w ho appeal to " co n tex t” n r " situ ation ” in order, as it were, to "correct” what strikes them as unreal and abstract in the structuralist model are in fact still trapped in the logic of the theoretical model which they are rightly trying to supersede. T he m ethod known as “situational analysis”,33 which consists of "observing people in a variety of social situ ation s” in order to determ ine "the way in which individuals are able to exercise choices within the lim its of a specified social structure”,34 remains locked within the framework of the rule and the exception, which Leach (often invoked by the exponents of "situational analysis”) spells out clearly: "I postulate that structural system s in which all avenues of social action are narrowly institutionalized are im possible. In all viable system s, there must be an area where the individual is free to make choices so as to manipulate the system to his advantage.”35 In accepting as obligatory alternatives the m odel and the situation, the structure and the individual variations, one condem ns oneself simply to take the diametrically opposite course to the structuralist abstraction which subsum es variations - regarded as sim ple variants - into the structure. T h e desire to "integrate variations, exceptions and accidents into descriptions of regularities ” and to show " how individuals in a particular structure handle the choices with which they are faced as individuals are in all so cieties”36 - leads one to regress to the pre-structuralist stage of the individual and his choices, and to miss the very principle of the structuralist error.37

N o t the least of C hom sky's m erits is to have reopened d iscu ssion on the d istinction betw een syntax and sem an tics (and secondarily, b etw een syntax and pragm atics) and, m ore p recisely, on the dep en dence or in d ep en d en ce of th ese different levels o f discou rse relative to the situ ation , by affirm ing the in d ep en d en ce of th e structural properties o f linguistic exp ression s relative to their uses and fu n ction s and the im p ossib ility of m aking any inference from analysis of their form al structure - a p osition w hich has sim p ly adopted exp licitly the p ostu lates im plied in th e Saussurian lan guage/sp eech distinction. In short, failing to con stru ct practice other than n egatively, ob jectivism is con d em ned either to ignore the w h ole question o f th e principle u nd erlyin g

T h e fallacies o f the rule


the p ro d u ctio n o f the r e g u la r itie s w hich it then con ten ts itself w ith recording; to reify abstractions, by th e fallacy of treating the ob jects constructed by s c i e n c e , w hether " c u ltu r e ”, " structures ” , or "m od es of production ”, as realities en d ow ed w ith a social efficacy, capable o f actin g as agents responsible for historical actions or as a power capable of con strain in g p ra ctices; or to save appearances by m eans of con cep ts as am bigu ous as the notions of the ruie or the u n con sciou s, w h ich make it p ossib le to avoid ch oosin g betw een incom patible theories o f practice. T h u s L evi-S trau ss s use o f the notion of the unconscious m asks th e contradictions generated b y the im plicit theory o f practice w hich "structural a n th rop ology” accep ts at least by d efau lt, restoring the old en telech ies of the m etaphysics o f nature in th e apparently secularized form of a structure structured in the absence of any stru cturin g p rin cip le .38

When one is reluctant to follow D urkh eim in p ositin g that none of the rules constraining su bjects "can b e found en tirely reproduced in the applications made o f them b y in dividu als, since they can exist even w ithou t b ein g actually a p p lied ” ,39 and u n w illin g to ascribe to th ese rules th e tran scend en t, perm anent existen ce h e ascribes (as S aussu re d oes to language) to all collective " realities”, the only w ay to escape the crudest naivities o f the legalism w hich sees practices as the p rod uct of o b ed ien ce to the rules is to play on the p olysem ous nature of the w ord rule: m ost often u sed in th e sen se of a social norm expressly stated and explicitly recogn ized , like m oral or juridical law , som etim es in the sen se o f a theoretical model, a con stru ct d ev ised b y scien ce in order to accoun t for practices, the w ord is also, m ore rarely, used in the sense o f a scheme (or p rin cip le) im m anent in practice, w h ich sh ou ld be called im plicit rather than u n con sciou s, sim p ly to indicate that it exists in a practical state in agents' practice and not in their con sciou sn ess, or rather, their discou rse .40 Clearly a case in point is C hom sky, w h o h old s, sim u ltan eou sly, that the rules of gram m ar are in scrib ed in n euro-physiological m ech a n ism s ,41 that they are system s o f norm s of w hich agents have a certain aw areness, and lastly that they are in stru m en ts for description o f language. But it is also instructive to reread a paragraph from L evi-Strau ss’s preface to th e secon d edition of L es structures elementaires de la parente (E lem entary Structures o f K in sh ip) , in w h ich one m ay assu m e that particular care has b een taken w ith the vocabulary of norm s, m od els, or rules, sin ce th e passage deals w ith the d istin ction b etw een preferential sy s te m s ” and "prescriptive sy s te m s ” : " C on versely, a system which recommends m arriage w ith the m oth er’s brother’s daughter m ay be called p rescriptive even if the rule is seld om ob served , sin ce w hat it says m ust be d one. T h e q u estion of h ow far and in w hat proportion the m em bers of a given so ciety respect the norm is very interesting, but a d ifferen t q u estion to that of w here th is society sh ou ld properly be placed in a typ o lo g y . It is sufficient


T h e objective lim its o f objectivism

to ack n ow led ge the lik elih ood that awareness of the rule in flects choices ever so little in the prescribed d irection , and that the percentage of conventional m arriages is higher than w ou ld be the case if m arriages w ere m ade at random, to be able to recogn ize w hat m igh t be called a m atrilateral *operator’ at work in th is so c iety and actin g as a p ilot: certain alliances at least fo llo w th e path w h ich it charts out for th e m , and th is suffices to im print a sp ecific curve in the gen ealogical space. N o d ou b t there w ill be not just on e cu rve but a great n um ber o f local cu rves, m erely in cip ien t for th e m ost part, h ow ever, and form in g closed cycles o n ly in rare and excep tion al cases. But the structural ou tlin es w h ich em erge h ere and there w ill be en ou gh for the sy stem to b t used in m aking a p rob abilistic version o f m ore rigid sy stem s the notion o f w hich is com p letely theoretical and in w hich m arriage w ou ld con form rigorously to a n y rule the social group pleases to enunciate ”42 T h e d om in an t ton ality in th is passage, as in the w h ole p reface, is that of th e norm, w hereas S tructu ral A nthropology is w ritten in the language of the model or, if you like, th e structure; n ot that su ch term s are en tirely ab sen t here, sin ce th e m ath em atical-p hysical m etaph ors organ izin g th e central passage (" o p erator” , " c u r v e ” in "genealogical s p a c e ” , " str u c tu re s”) evok e the logic o f th e th eoretical m od el and of the eq u ivalen ce, at on ce declared and repudia­ ted , o f th e model and the norm : " A preferential sy stem is p rescriptive w hen en visaged at th e m odel lev el, a p rescriptive system m ust b e preferential w hen en visaged on th e level of reality .”43 B ut for the reader w h o rem em bers the passages in S tructu ral A n thropology on th e relation ship b etw een language and kinship (e .g . '" K in sh ip sy s te m s ’, like 'p h o n em ic sy s te m s ’, are b uilt up by the m ind on the level o f u n c o n scio u s th o u g h t ”)44 and th e im perious way in w hich "cultural n o rm s” and all the " ration aliza tio n s” or "secon d ary argu­ m e n ts ” p roduced b y the n atives w ere rejected in favour of th e " u n co n scio u s stru ctu r es” , not to m en tion passages assertin g th e u niversality o f th e fun da­ m ental rule of exo gam y, th e co n cession s m ade here to "aw areness o f the r u le ” and the d issociation from rigid system s " th e n otion of w hich is entirely th e o re tic a l’' m ay com e as a surprise, as m ay th is further passage from the sam e preface: " I t is n on eth eless true that th e em pirical reality o f so-called p rescriptive system s o n ly takes on its full m ean in g w hen related to a theoretical m odel w orked out b y the natives themselves prior to e th n o lo g ists ” ,45 or again: " T h o se w h o practise th em know fu lly that th e spirit of su ch system s cannot be redu ced to the tautological prop osition that each grou p ob tain s its w om en from 'g iv e r s ’ and gives its daughters to 'ta k e rs’. T h ey are also a w a re that m arriage w ith th e m atrilateral cross co u sin (m o th er’s b roth er’s daughter) p rovid es th e sim p lest illustration of th e rate, th e form m o st likely to guarantee its su rv iv a l. O n the other h and , m arriage w ith the patrilateral cross cou sin (father’s sister’s daughter) w ould violate it irrevocab ly .”46

T h e fallacies o f the rule


• tem ptin g to q uote in reply a passage in w h ich W ittgenstein effortlessly 1S together all the q u estio n s evad ed by structural an th rop ology and no k ^ v T m o r e generally b y all in tellectu alism , w h ich transfers the ob jective truth blished by scien ce in to a practice w h ich b y its very essen ce ru les o u t the CS

tical stance w h ich m akes it p ossib le to estab lish that tr u th :47 " W'hat do

I call ‘the rule by w hich he p r o c e e d s’? - T h e h yp o th esis that satisfactorily describes his use of w ords, w h ich w e ob serve: or th e rule w h ich h e looks up vhen he uses sign s; or the on e w h ich he g ives u s in reply w hen w e ask w hat his rule is? - But w hat if ob servation d oes not enable us to see any clear rule, and the question brings n on e to l i g h t ? - F o r he d id in deed g ive m e a definition w hen I asked h im w hat he u n d erstood b y ' N*, but he w as prepared to withdraw and alter it. S o h ow am I to d eterm in e the rule accord in g to w h ich he is playing? H e d oes not know it h im self. - O r, to ask a b etter q u estion : What m eaning is th e exp ression 'th e rule b y wrh ich he p ro ce ed s’ su p p o sed to have left to it h e r e ?”48 T o consider regularity, that is, w hat recurs w ith a certain statistically m easurable frequency, as th e p rod u ct of a con scio u sly laid -dow n and co n s­ ciously respected ruling (w h ich im p lies exp lain in g its g en esis and efficacy), or as the product of an u n co n scio u s regulating by a m ysteriou s cerebral and/or social m echan ism , is to slip from th e m od el of reality to the reality of the m odel .49 "C on sid er the d ifferen ce b etw een sayin g 'T h e train is regularly tw o m inutes la te ’ and 'A s a rule, the train is tw o m in u tes la te ’ . . .th er e is the suggestion in th e latter case that that th e train be tw o m in u tes late is as it were in accordance w ith som e p olicy or p l a n . . . R ules co n n ect w ith plans or policies in a w ay that regularities d o n o t . . .T o argue t h a t . . .th er e m ust be rules in the natural language is like argu in g that roads m ust be red if th ey correspond to red lin es on a m a p .”50 In on e case - to take up Q u in e’s distinction b etw een fittin g and guiding - o n e form ulates a rule w h ich fits the observed regularity in a purely d escrip tive w ay; in the other case on e states a rule w hich g u id es th e behaviour and w h ich can d o so o n ly to the extent that it is know n and recogn ized (and h en ce cou ld b e sta ted ).51 O n e is en titled to p osit an " im p licit g u id a n c e ” , as, accord in g to Q u in e, C hom sk y d o es, in order to accoun t for a practice ob jectively govern ed b y rules u n k now n to the agents; but on ly o n con d ition that on e d oes not m ask the q u estio n o f the m echanism s p rod u cin g th is con form ity in the ab sen ce of the in ten tio n to conform , by resortin g to the fallacy o f th e rule w h ich im p licitly p laces in the con sciousness o f the in dividu al agen ts a k n ow led ge b u ilt u p against that experience, i.e . con fers th e value o f an an th rop ological d escrip tion on the theoretical m od el con stru cted in order to accou n t for practices. T h e theory of action as m ere execution o f th e m o d el (in the tw ofold sen se o f norm and scientific con stru ct) is just on e exam p le am ong oth ers o f th e im aginary

T he objective lim its o f objectivism

3 °

an th rop ology w h ich o b jectivism en gen d ers w h en , w ith the aid of w ords that obscure the d istin ction b etw een " th e th in g s of lo g ic and the logic o f th in g s!) it p resen ts th e ob jective m ean in g o f p ractices or w orks as the subjective p urpose o f th e action of the producers o f th ose practices or w orks, w ith \\^ im p ossib le

homo economicus su b jectin g

h is d ecisio n -m a k in g to ration*;

calcu lation, its actors p erform in g roles or actin g in co n fo rm ity w ith m odels or its sp eak ers " s e le c tin g ” from a m on g p h on em es.

S E C T I O N I I : CASE S T U D Y : P A R A L L E L - C O U S I N MARRI AGE " P h ilosop h y aim s at the logical clarification o f t h o u g h t s . . . W ithou t philo­ sop h y th o u g h ts are, as it w ere, clou d y and in d istin ct: its task is to m ake them clear and g ive th em sharp b o u n d aries .”52 In th is sen se, the fo reg o in g analyses m ay be said to b elon g to p h ilosop h y. B ut u nlike p h ilo so p h ica l activity as W ittgen stein con ceiv es it, they do not ach ieve their en d in "th e clarification o f p r o p o sitio n s”. A rising in resp onse to scien tific d ifficu lties and not to the reading o f tex ts, th ey are in ten d ed to h elp su rm oun t d ifficu lties, b y providing not on ly p rocedu res for research b u t also p roced u res for valid ation , means of d ecid in g b etw e en com p etin g accoun ts o f the sam e practices. T h e case of m arriage - stru cturalist grou n d par ex cellen ce - and o f p arallel-cou sin mar­ riage - a sort of q u asi-in cest ch allen gin g b oth the u n ilin ea l-d escen t theories and th e m arriage-alliance th eory - co n stitu tes an ideal terrain for such a tru th -test .53 M arriage w ith a patrilateral parallel cou sin (bent'am m , fath er’s b rother’s d augh ter )54 appears as a sort of scandal, in C laude L e v i-S tra u ss’s ter m s ,55 only to those w h o have internalized th e categories o f th o u g h t w h ich it disturbs. In ch a llen g in g th e idea of exogam y, th e p recon d ition for th e co n tin u a tio n of separate lin eages and for the perm an en ce and easy id en tifica tio n o f con secu tive u n its, it ch allen ges the w h ole n otion of u nilineal d escen t as w ell as the theory of m arriage as an exch an ge o f on e w om an against an oth er, w h ich assu m es an in cest taboo, i.e . the ab solu te n ecessity o f ex ch a n g e. A n ex o gam ic system clearly d iv id es alliance grou p s and d escen t g ro u p s, w h ich by definition cannot c o in c id e , gen ealogical lin eages b ein g b y the sam e token clearly defined, sin ce p o w ers, privileges, and d u ties are tran sm itted eith er m atrilineally or patrilineally. E n d ogam y, by contrast, resu lts in a b lu rrin g of the d istinction b etw een lin eages. T h u s , in the extrem e case of a sy stem actually fou n d ed on p arallel-cou sin m arriage, a particular in dividu al co u ld be related to his paternal grandfather eq u ally through his father or h is m o th er. But on th e other hand, b y ch o o sin g to keep the parallel co u sin , a q u a si-sister, w ith in the lineage, the grou p w o u ld d ep rive itself o f an o p p o r tu n ity to receive a w om an from ou tsid e and o f th u s con tractin g n ew alliances. Is it sufficient to regard

T he objective lim its o f objectivism


of m arriage as th e excep tion (or the " a b erra tio n ”) w h ich proves |ile or to rearrange th e categories o f th ou gh t w h ich m ake it p o ssib le in ^ °h

" t o ’ find a place ( i.e . a nam e) for it? Or sh o u ld w e radically q u estio n c a te g o r ie s


th ou gh t

w h ich


p rod u ced


" u n th in k a b le”

^ T h e c o n t r a d i c t i o n p osed b y Arab and Berber trad ition s to cu rren tly avail­ able th eo ries has at least th e m erit of rem in d in g us th a t, as L o u is D u m o n t says th e th e o r y of u nilineal d escen t g rou p s and th e allian ce theory o f m arriage rem ain " reg io n a l th e o r ie s” in the geographical and a lso the ep istem o lo g ica l sen se, e v en th o u g h they wear the cloak o f u n iv e rsa lity .56 N eith er can th e critical e x a m in a tio n of certain of the bases o f th ese th eo ries, w h ich is e n ­ cou raged or e v e n im p osed b y the particular ch aracteristics of a cultural trad ition , c la im to be universal. But su ch a critical exam in ation m ay con trib ute to progress tow ards a theory free from all geograph ical or ep istem ological regionalism by p o sin g u niversal q u estio n s w h ich are raised w ith particular in sisten ce b y the pecu liarities o f certain ob jects. F o r exam p le, it is not su fficient to con clu d e that, w h ile valid in the case o f an ex ogam ic tradition w h ich str ic tly d istin gu ish es b etw een parallel and cro ss k in, the idea o f a p referential m arriage is not justified in the case of a so c iety w ith ou t exogam ou s g ro u p s. W e m ust find in this ex cep tion a reason for q u e stio n in g not o n ly th e very n o tio n of p rescription or p referen ce, b u t also on th e on e h and, the notion o f the g e n e a lo g ic a lly defined grou p , an en tity w h o se social id en tity is as in variab le a n d u niform as the criteria for its d elim itatio n and w h ich con fers

on each o f its m em bers a social id en tity eq u ally d istin ct and p erm an en tly fix e d : and o n the other hand, the n otion o f rules and rule-governed behaviour in the tw o fo ld s e n s e of b eh aviour con form in g ob jectively to rules and d eterm in ed bv o b e d ie n c e to rules.

T h e inadequacy o f th e language of p rescription an d rules is so clear in the case of patrilateral m arriage that w e cannot fail to be rem in d ed of R odn ey N eedham 's in qu iries in to the co n d itio n s o f v a lid ity, perhaps n ever fu lfilled , of such a lan guage, w h ich is in fact n oth in g other than legal la n g u a g e .57 But this q u estio n in g of the ep istem ological status of co n ce p ts as co m m o n ly and as w id ely u sed as th ose o f rule, p rescription , and p referen ce, in evitab ly challenges the theory o f practice w h ich th ey p resu p p ose: can w e , even im plicitly, treat th e "algebra o f k in sh ip ”, as M alinow sk i called it, as a theory ° f the practical u ses o f kinship and of " p ra ctica l” k in sh ip w ith o u t tacitly

postulating a d ed u ctive relationship b etw een k in sh ip term in o lo g y and " kin­ ship a ttitu d e s” ? A nd can w e g ive an an th rop ological m ean in g to th is relation­ ship w ith o u t p ostu latin g that regulated and regular relatio n sh ip s b etw een kin are the resu lts of o b ed ien ce to a set of rules w h ich , althou gh a residual D urkh eim ian scru p le m akes R adcliffe-B row n call th e m " ju ra l” rather than


T h e objective limits o f objectivism

legal are assu m ed to con trol b eh aviour in the sam e w ay as legal ru les?** F in a lly , can w e m ake th e gen ealogical d efin ition of gro u p s th e o n ly means o f d ifferen tiatin g b etw een social u n its and of a ssign in g agen ts to th e se group 8 w ith o u t im p licitly p ostu la tin g that th e agen ts are d efined in every respect and for all tim e by their b elo n g in g to the g rou p , and th a t, in sh o rt, die group d efin es th e agen ts and th eir in terests m ore th an th e agen ts d efine groups in term s of their interests?

T h e state o f the question T h e m ost recent theories of parallel-cousin marriage, those of Fredrik Barth59 and of Robert M urphy and Leonard K asdan,60 though diam etrically opposed, do have in com m on the fact that they appeal to those functions w hich structuralism either ignores or brackets off, w hether econom ic functions, such as the retention of the patrimony w ithin the lineage, or political functions, such as the reinforcem ent of lineage inte­ gration. It is difficult to see how they could do otherw ise w ithout making absurd a marriage w hich obviously does not fulfil the function of exchange and alliance com m only attributed to cross-cousin marriage.61 Barth em phasizes that endogamous marriage " plays a prom inent role in solidifying the minim al lineage as a corporate group in factional stru g g le”. By contrast, M urphy and Kasdan criticize Barth for explaining the institution "through reference to the consciously felt goals o f the individual role p layers’*, or more precisely by reference to the lineage h e a d s interest in keeping a close control over his nephew s, who represent points of potential segm entation. Thus M urphy and Kasdan relate this type o f marriage to its "structural fu n ctio n ”, that is, to the fact that it "contributes to the extrem e fission of agnatic lin es. . .a n d , through in-marriage, encysts the patrilineal seg m en ts”. L evi-Strauss is perfectly justified in stating that the twTo op p osin g positions amount to exactly the sam e thing: in fact Barth’s theory makes o f th is type o f marriage a means o f reinforcing lineage unity and of lim iting the tendency to fission; M urphy’s theory sees in it the principle of a quest for integration into larger units, founded on the appeal to a common origin, and ultim ately encom passing all Arabs. So both adm it that parallel-cousin marriage cannot be explained w ithin the pure logic of the matrimonial exchange system and that any explanation must refer to external econom ic or political fu n ction s.62 C uisenier sim ply draws o u t the consequences o f this observation, in a construction w hich attem pts to account for the inconsistencies noted by all observers betw een the “ m o d el” and actual practice, together with at least the econom ic external functions of matrimonial exchanges. " It is native thinking itself w hich gives us a clue to an explanatory m odel. T h is m odel represents in effect alliances knit together in one group based on the fundam ental opposition o f tw o brothers, of w hom one m ust marry endogam ously in order to m aintain the coherence of the group, and the other must marry exogam ously in order to gain alliances for the group. T h is opposition between the tw o brothers is found at all levels of the agnatic group; it expresses in the usual genealogical term inology of Arab thought a choice betw een alternatives w hich may be represented as a 'partial ord er’ diagram in w hich the num erical values of a and 6 are and % respectively. If a represents the choice of endogam y and b the choice of exogam y, and if one follow s the branchings of the two-part fam ily tree from the roots upwards, the choice of a at the m ost superficial genealogical levels is the choice of the parallel cousin (Vs of the c a ses).”63 One m ight be tem pted to see it as a virtue

The functions o f kinship: official kin and p ra ctica l kin ,


that it seeks to account for the statistical data in contrast to traditional £ercntjaj marriage w hich w ent no further than to state the divergence t h e o r ie s "norm ” (or the " r u le ”) and actual practice.64 But one only has to adopt b e tw e e n restrictive definition of the marriages assim ilable to parallel-cousin a m° re to move away, to a greater or lesser extent, from the magical percentage V£?) w hich, w hen com bined with a native m axim , generates a "theoretical ^ a V'- and then there is no need to appeal to an epistem ological critique to show 010 t h e model fits the facts so perfectly only because it has been made to measure to fM he facts, i.e. invented ad hoc to account for a statistical artefact, and not built up from a theory of the principles of the production of practices. T h ere is an equation for the c u r v e of each face, said L eibniz. A nd nowadays there w ill always be a m athe­ m a tic ia n to prove that tw o cousins parallel to a third are parallel to each o t h e r .. . But the intention of subm itting genealogies to statistical analysis has at least the virtue of revealing the m ost fundam ental properties of the genealogy, an analytical tool which is never itself analysed. W e can im m ediately see what is strange about the idea of calculating rates of endogam y wrhen, as here, it is the very notion of the endogamous group, and therefore the basis o f calculation, which is in q uestion.65 Are w e to be satisfied with abstractly dissecting genealogies wrhich have the sam e extent as the group memory, whose structure and extent depend on the functions actually given by the group to those whom it rem em bers or forgets ? R ecognizing in a lineage diagram an ideological representation resorted to by the Bedouin in order to achieve a "primary comprehension” of their present relationships, E. L . Peters66 points out that the genealogy ignores the real power relations between genealogical segm ents, that it forgets about the w om en, and that it treats as "contingent a ccid en ts” the most basic ecclogical, dem ographic, and political factors.67 M ust w e then resort to the units which the agents them selves recognize, using criteria w hich are not necessarily genealogical ? We discover, however, that an individual’s chances of making a marriage w hich can be treated as a marriage w ith the daughter of his ramm are greater to the extent that his practical, effectively m obilizable lineage (as well as the num ber of potential partners) is larger, and the pressures on him to marry inside the lineage are stronger. Once the family property is divided and there is nothing to recall and maintain the genealogical relationship, the father’s brother’s daughter may be considered no closer in degree of kinship than any other patrilateral (or even matrilateral) cousin. On the other hand, a genealogically more distant cousin m ay be the practical equivalent of the bent'amm w hen the tw o cousins are part of a strongly united '*h o u se” living under one elder and ow n ing all its property in com m on. And perhaps inform ants are simply victim s of an illusion created by the decline of the great undivided fam ilies, when they repeat with insistence that people now marry less w ithin the lineage than they did formerly. 1

0f this mo

T h e functions o f kinship: official kin and practical kin It is not su fficien t to fo llo w the exam p le o f the m ore circu m sp ect fieldw orkers, p ru dently slip from the n otion of preferential m arriage w ith a parallel cousin to the n otion o f " lin eage en d ogam y ”, tru stin g that th is va g u e, h igh sounding lan guage w ill offer a w ay ou t o f th e problem s raised b y th e n otion ° f en d ogam y and con cealed b y the all-too-fam iliar con cep t o f th e group. It first n ecessary to ask w hat is im plied in d efining a grou p by th e genealogical relationship lin k in g its m em b ers, and in thereby im p licitly treatin g kinship


T h e objective lim its o f objectivism

as th e necessary and su fficien t con d ition of grou p u n ity . A s soon as we ex p licitly about th e functions of kin relation ship s, or m ore b lu n tly , about t}* u sefu ln ess of k in sm en , a q u estio n w hich k insh ip th eo rists prefer to treat ^ resolved , w e cannot fail to n otice that th o se u ses o f k in sh ip w h ich may ^ called genealogical are reserved for official situ a tio n s in w h ich they ^ th e fu n ctio n of ord erin g th e social w orld and o f leg itim a tin g that order .68jn th is resp ect th ey differ from th e other kinds o f practical use m ade of kirj relation sh ip s, w hich are a particular case o f the u tilization o f connections. The g en ealogical diagram o f kin relation ship s w hich th e an th rop ologist constructs m erely reprodu ces th e official representation o f th e social stru ctures, a repre. sentation p rod uced b y ap p lication of the stru cturin g prin cip le that is dominant in a certain respect; i.e . in certain situ ation s and w ith a v iew to certain fu n ction s. Marriage provides a good opportunity for observing what in practice separates official kinship, single and im m utable, defined once and for all by the norm s o f genealogical protocol, from practical kinship, w hose boundaries and definitions are as many and as varied as its users and the occasions on w hich it is used. It is practical kin who make marriages; it is official kin w ho celebrate them . In ordinary marriages the contacts preceding the official proposal (akhiab) and the least avowable negotiations relating to areas w hich the official ideology tends to ignore, such as the economic conditions of the marriage, the status offered to the wife in her husband’s home, relations with the husband’s m other, and similar m atters, are left to the persons least qualified to represent the group and to speak for it (w ho can therefore be disowned if need b e), such as an old w om an, usually a sort of professional in these secret m eetings, a m idw ife, or som e other woman used to m oving from village to village. In the difficult negotiations betw een distant groups a w ell-know n, prestigious man from a group sufficiently distant and distinct from the "w ife-takers’ to appear neutral and to be in a position to act in com plicity with another man occupying approximately the sam e position in relation to the w ife-givers (a friend or ally rather than a kinsman) w ill be entrusted w ith the delivery of the declaration of intent (assiw at w a w a l). He will avoid com ing straight to the point, but w ill try to find an opportunity to meet som eone from "the girl’s s id e ” and to disclose to him the " in ten tio n s” of the interested fam ily. T h e official marriage proposal (akhtab) is presented by the least responsible of those responsible, i.e. the elder brother and not the father, the paternal uncle and not the grandfather, etc., accom panied, especially if he is young, by a kinsman from another line. T h e m en w h o present the request may be, for example, on the first occasion, an elder brother and a maternal uncle, then on the second occasion a paternal uncle and one of the notables o f the group, then the third time the sam e people accom panied by several group and village notables such as the taleb, to be joined later by the village marabouts, and the fourth tim e the father together with notables from the neighbouring village and even the next tribe, etc. So progressi­ vely closer and more distinguished relatives of the bridegroom com e to present their request ( ahallal) to m en in the bride’s family w h o genealogically and spatially are increasingly distant. In the end it is the most im portant and m ost distant of the girl's kin w ho com e to intercede w ith the girl’s father and mother on behalf of the closest and m ost prestigious of the young m an’s kin, having been asked to do so by this latter group. Finally, acceptance (aqbal) is proclaimed before the largest possible number

T h e functions o f k in sh ip : official km and practical kin


ved to the most em inent kinsman of the young man by the most 0f men and conv ^ kinsm en, w ho has been asked to support the proposal. As eminent of t ^ an(j begin to look successful, official kin may w ell take the place negotiations pr ^ hierarchy with respect to utility being alm ost the exact opposite 0f practica * reSpect to genealogical legitim acy. T here are various reasons of the hierarL ^ ^ ^ advisable to " c o m m it” in the early stages kin w h o because of for this, r i » social position m ight com prom ise their principals too dpeplv the^ gene2 ^ sjtuation of conjunctural inferiority, w hich is often associated w ith particu^j s^perjorjty (because the man is marrying beneath h im ). Secondly, not structur ^ asked to put him self in the position of a supplicant liable to receive eVe?usa^ and a fortiori to take part in negotiations w hich w ill bring no glory, w hich 3 ^often*painful, and som etim es bring dishonour on the tw o parties (like the practice thaj'alts which consists of paying m oney to secure the intervention of som e o f the ° *soective bride’s kin). Finally, the search for maximum efficiency in the practical hase of negotiations directs the choice towards persons know n to com m and great skill, to enjoy particular authority over the fam ily in question, or to be on good term s with someone in a position to influence the d ecision . And it is natural that, in the official phase, those who have actually " m a d e” the marriage should have to make do with the place assigned to them not by their usefulness but by their position in the genealogy; having played their parts as "utility m e n ”, they m ust make way for the "leading actors”.

T h u s, to schem atize, official kinship is op p osed to practical k insh ip in term s of the official as op p osed to th e non-official (w h ich in clu d es the unofficial and the scand alous); the co llectiv e as o p p o sed to th e in d ivid u al; th e p u b lic, explicitly codified in a m agical or quasi-juridical form alism , as o p p o sed to the private, kept in an im p licit, ev en h id d en state; co llectiv e ritual, su b jectless practice, am enable to perform an ce b y agen ts interchangeable b ecau se co llec­ tively m andated, as op p osed to strategy, directed tow ards the sa tisfa ctio n o f the practical in terests of an in d ivid u al or grou p of in d ivid u a ls. A bstract u nits produced by sim p le theoretical d iv isio n , su ch as, here, th e u nilineal d escen t group (or elsew h ere, age-group s) are available for all fu n ctio n s, that is, for no sin gle on e in particular, and have practical ex isten ce o n ly for th e m ost official uses of k in sh ip ; representational kinship is n o th in g other than the group s self-rep resen tation and th e alm ost theatrical p resen tation it g iv e s of itself w h en actin g in accord ance w ith that self-im age. B y con trast, practical groups exist o n ly through and for th e particular fu n ctio n s in p ursuan ce of v^hich they have b een effectively m ob ilized ; and th e y co n tin u e to exist only because th ey have b een kept in w ork in g order b y th eir very u se an d by M aintenance w ork (in c lu d in g th e m atrim onial exch an ges th ey m ake p o ssib le) and b ecause they rest on a co m m u n ity o f d isp o sitio n s (h a b itu s) and interests u-hich is also th e b asis o f u n d ivid ed o w n ersh ip o f th e m aterial and sy m b o lic patrim ony. T o treat kin relation sh ip s as so m eth in g people make, and w ith w h ich they do so m eth in g, is not m erely to su b stitu te a " fu n ction alist ” for a " stru cturalist ” interpretation, as current ta xon om ies m ig h t lead on e to b eliev e; it is radically


T h e objective lim its o f objectivism

to question the im p licit th eory of practice w hich causes the anthropological tradition to see kin relation ship s " in the form of an object or an intuition as Marx p u ts it, rather than in the form o f the practices w h ich produce, reproduce, and use them b y reference to necessarily practical fu n ctio n s. The sam e is tru e, a fo rtio ri, o f affinal relation sh ip s: it is o n ly w hen on e records th ese relation ship s as a fa it accom pli, po st festum , as th e anthropologist does w h en he draw s u p a gen ealogy, that on e can forget that they are the product of strategies (con sciou s or u n con sciou s) oriented tow ards the satisfaction of m aterial and sy m b o lic in terests and organized by reference to a determ inate set of eco n o m ic and social con d itio n s. O n ce on e forgets all that is im plied in extracting from the product the p rin cip les of its p rod uction , from th e opus operatum the modus operandi, on e con d em n s o n eself to proceed as if the regular p rod u ct had b een p rod uced in accordance w ith the ru le s .69 T h e com petition and conflicts provoked by the transmission of first names provide an opportunity to observe the practical and political functions of these genealogical markers: to appropriate these indices of genealogical position (so-and-so, son of so-and-so, son of so-and-so etc.) w hich are also emblems, sym bolizing the whole sym bolic capital accum ulated by a lineage, is in a sense to take possession o f a title giving special rights over the group’s patrimony. T h e state of the relations of force and authority between contem porary kin determ ines what the collective history will be; but this sym bolic projection of the power relations between com peting individuals and groups also plays a part in reinforcing the initial state of affairs by giving those w ho are in a dom inant position the right to profess the veneration of the past which is best suited to legitim ate their present interests. T o give a new-born child the name o f a great forefather is not sim ply to perform an act o f filial piety, but also in a sense to predestine the child thus named to bring the eponym ous ancestor "back to life ” ( isakrad djedi-s "he has brought his grandfather 'back to life ’”), i.e. to succeed him in his responsibilities and p ow ers.70 Prestigious first nam es, like the noblest lands, are the object of regulated com peti­ tion, and the " righ t” to appropriate the first name which is most coveted, because it continuously proclaims the genealogical connection w ith the ancestor w hose name is preserved by the group and outside the group, is distributed in accordance with a hierarchy analogous to that governing the obligations of honour in the case of revenge, or of the rights to land belonging to the patrimony in the case of sale. T h u s, since first names are transmitted in direct patrilineal line, the father cannot give a child the name of his own 'amm or his own brother (the ch ild ’s 'amm) if either of the latter has left any sons w ho are already married and hence in a position to reuse their father’s name for one of their son s or grandsons. Here as elsew here, the convenient language of norms and obligations (m u st. . . c a n n o t. . .e tc .) m ust not be allowed to m islead us: thus, a younger brother has been known to take advantage of a favourable balance of power in order to give his children the first name of a prestigious brother who had died leaving only very young children; the children subsequently set their point of honour on retaking possession of the first name of which they considered them selves the legitimate bearers - even at risk of confusion. T h e com petition is particularly evident w hen several brothers wish to give their children their father’s first name: whereas the need to rescue it from neglect and fill up the gap that has appeared requires that the name should be given to the first boy born after the death of its bearer, the

T he functions o f kinship: official kin an d practical kin


may Put t^ie attribution of the name in order to give it to one of his eldest |nSteacj 0f leaving it for the son of one of his younger brothers, thus Sran - a genealogical level. But it may also happen, on the other hand, that for lack ^ male descendants, a name threatens to escheat, at which point the responsibility ° reviving” it falls first on the collaterals, and then on the group as a w hole, which bv demonstrates that its integration and its wealth o f men enable it to reuse the a m e s of all direct ancestors and, m oreover, to make good any gaps that may appear elsewhere (one of the functions of marriage with the daughter of the 'amm w hen the latter dies w ithout male heirs, being to allow the daughter to see to it that her father's name does not disappear).

T h e eth n ologist is in a particularly bad p osition to d etect th e d istin ctio n between official and practical kinship: as his d ealin gs w ith kinship (at least, the kinship of others) are restricted to cogn itive u ses, he is d isp osed to take for gospel truth the official d iscou rses wrhich in form an ts are in clin ed to present to him as lo n g as they see th em selves as sp okesm en m andated to present the grou p 's official account o f itself. H e has no reason to p erceive that he is allow in g the official definition o f social reality to b e im p o sed on him a version w h ich d om in ates or represses other d efin ition s. W itness to th is are the desperate efforts by generations o f an th rop ologists to confirm or d en y the existence o f " p referen tial” cross-cou sin m arriage. A s soon as o n e poses the problem of m arriage in strictly gen ealogical term s, as inform an ts alw ays w ill, by referring to m arriage writh th e bent'am m , all further d iscu ssion w ill take place w ithin certain lim its; all so lu tio n s are acceptable so lo n g as they are expressed in gen ealogical l a ng ua ge . . . T h e eth n ologist can n ot break the c o m p ­ licity w hich b in d s him to the official id eology o f his inform ants and reject the presuppositions im p lied in the m ere fact o f se ein g ex clu siv ely genealogical relationships o f filiation or alliance in relation ship s w h ich can be read in other w ays (e .g . in term s o f sib lin gsh ip ) and are alw ays also based on other principles (e .g . eco n o m ic or p o litica l), u nless he situ ates th is sp ecial kind of use of kinship w ith resp ect to the various kinds of u ses the agen ts m ay make of it. W hen the anthropologist treats n ative k insh ip term in o lo g y as a clo sed , coherent sy stem of p urely logical relation sh ip s, defined o n ce and for all b y the im plicit axiom atics of a cultural trad ition,

he p roh ib its h im self from

apprehending the different practical fu n ctio n s of th e k inship term s and relations w hich he u n w ittin gly brackets; and by th e sam e token he p roh ibits him self from grasping the ep istem ological status of a practice w h ich , like his °w n , p resup poses and consecrates n eutralization of the practical fu n ctio n s of those term s and relationships. T h e logical relation ship s con stru cted by the an th rop ologist are op posed to

practical ” relation ship s - practical b ecau se co n tin u o u sly practised, kept

UP, and cu ltivated - in the sam e w ay as the geom etrical sp ace of a m ap , an im aginary representation of all theoretically p ossib le roads and rou tes, is

T h e objective limits o f objectivism

op posed to the network of b eaten tracks, of paths m ade ever m ore practicable by con stant u se. T h e gen ealogical tree con stru cted b y th e an th rop ologist, a spatial diagram that can be taken in at a gla n ce, uno intuitu, and scanned indifferently from any p oint in any d irection , causes the co m p lete network of kinship relations over several gen erations to exist as on ly theoretical objects exist, that is, tota sim ul, as a totality p resen t in sim u lta n eity .71 Official relationships w h ich d o not receive con tin u ou s m aintenance ten d to becom e w hat th ey are for the gen ealogist: theoretical relationships, like abandoned roads on an old m ap. In sh ort, the logical relations of kinship to w hich the structuralist tradition ascribes a m ore or less com p lete au ton om y w ith respect to econ om ic d eterm in ants, and correlatively a near-perfect internal co ­ herence, exist in practice on ly through and for the official and unofficial uses m ade o f th em b y agents w hose attachm ent to keeping them in w orking order and to m aking th em work in ten sively - h en ce, through constant u se, ever m ore easily - rises w ith the degree to w h ich they actually or p otentially fulfil fu n ction s in dispensab le to th em or, to put it less a m b ig u o u sly , the exten t to w hich th ey do or can satisfy vital m aterial and sym bolic interests.72

O fficializing strategies By th e m ere fact o f talking o f en d ogam y and o f tryin g, ou t o f a laudable desire for rigour, to m easure its d egrees, on e assu m es the ex isten ce o f a purely gen ealogical definition of th e lin eage. In fact, every adult m ale, at w hatever level on th e genealogical tree, represents a p oint of potential segm entation w h ich m ay b ecom e effective for a particular social purpose. T h e further back in tim e and genealogical space w e place th e p oint o f origin - and n othing forb ids a regression to in finity in th is abstract space - the m ore w e push back the boundaries o f the lineage and th e m ore th e assim ilative pow er of genealogical ideology grow s, but on ly at the exp en se o f its distinctive pow er, w hich increases as w e draw nearer th e p oint o f com m on origin . T h u s the kind of use w h ich can be m ade o f the exp ression ath (" th e d escen d an ts o f, th e people o f . . . ”) o b eys a positional logic altogether sim ilar to that w h ich accord in g to Evans-Pritchard characterizes th e u ses o f the w ord ciengy th e sam e person b ein g able, d ep en d in g on circum stance, situ ation , and interlocutor, to call h im self a m em ber o f the A th A bba (th e h ou se, akham ), of the A th Isa'd ( takharrubth), of the A th O usseb'a (adh ru m )t or of the A th Y ahia ('arch). T h e absolute relativism w hich b esto w s upon the agents th e pow er to m anipulate w ith ou t lim it their ow n social id en tity (or that o f th e adversaries or partners w h om they assim ilate or exclu d e b y m anip ulating the lim its o f the classes they each b elo n g to ), w ould at least have the m erit of repu d iating the naive realism o f those w h o cannot characterize a grou p other than as a popu lation defined

O fficializing strategies

3 9

directly visible boundaries. H ow ever, the structure o f a group (and h en ce the social id en tity of th e in dividu als w h o m ake it u p) d ep en d s on the fu n ction which is fundam ental to its con stru ction and organization. T h is is also forgotten by those w h o try to escape from genealogical abstraction by con ­ trasting the d escen t line w ith the local line or the local d escen t grou p , that portion of a unilineal d escen t group w h ich , b y the m ere fact of com m on residence, can act collectively as a g ro u p .73 O n e again su ccu m b s to realism if one forgets that the effects of spatial d istance are d ep en d en t on the fun ction which the social relation ship aim s to ach ieve. W e m ay adm it, for exam p le, that the potential u sefu ln ess of a partner ten d s to decrease w ith distance (except in the case o f p restige m arriages, w here the m ore distant the people between w hom the relationship is estab lish ed , th e greater th e sym b olic profit). If u nity of resid en ce con trib u tes to the integration of the grou p , the unity given to the grou p b y its m obilization for a com m on fun ction con trib utes towards m in im izin g the effect o f d istance. In sh ort, althou gh w e cou ld in theory m aintain that there are as m any p ossib le groups as there are fu n ctio n s, the fact rem ains that, as w e saw in the case o f m arriage, on e cannot call on absolutely anyone for a n y occasion , any m ore than on e can offer o n e’s services to anyone for a n y en d . T h u s , to escape from relativism w ithou t falling into realism , w e m ay posit that th e con stants of the field o f potentially useful relationships (i.e . th ose that are actually u sable, because spatially close, and useful, because socially influential) cause each grou p of agents to ten d to keep up b y con tin u ou s m aintenance-w ork a privileged netw ork o f practical relationships w hich com p rises not only th e su m total of the genealogical relationships kept in w orking order (here called practical kinsh ip ) b ut also the sum total o f the non-gen ealogical relation ship s w hich can be m obilized for the ordinary n eed s of existen ce (practical relation ship s). T h e official set o f th ose in dividuals am enable to definition b y the sam e relationship to the sam e ancestor at th e sam e level on the genealogical tree may con stitu te a practical grou p : th is is the case w h en the genealogical divisions cover (in both sen ses) u nits foun ded on other p rin cip les, w hether ecological (n eigh b ou rh ood ), econ om ic (un d ivid ed p atrim on y), or political. T he fact that the d escrip tive value o f the genealogical criterion is greater w hen the com m on origin is nearer and the social u nit is m ore lim ited d oes not m ean that its unificatory efficacy rises in the sam e w ay. In fact, as w e shall see, the closest genealogical relationship, that b etw een brothers, is also th e p oin t of greatest ten sion , and o n ly in cessan t work can m aintain the co m m u n ity of interests. In sh ort, th e genealogical relation ship is never stron g en ou gh on its ow n to provide a com p lete d eterm ination o f th e relationship b etw een the individuals w hich it u n ites, and it has su ch p redictive value on ly w h en it g oes with the shared interests, produced by th e com m on possession of a m aterial


T h e objective lim its o f objectivism

an d sy m b o lic p atrim on y, w h ich en ta ils co llec tiv e v u ln era b ility as w ell as co llectiv e p rop erty. T h e e x te n t o f practical k insh ip d ep en d s on th e capacity o f th e official grou p m em b ers to o v erco m e th e ten sio n s en g en d ered b y the co n flict o f in terests w ith in th e u n d iv id ed p rod u ction and co n su m p tio n grou p , and to k eep u p the kind o f p ractical relation sh ip s w h ich co n fo rm to th e official v iew h eld b y every grou p wrh ich th in k s o f itself as a corporate u n it. O n that co n d itio n , th e y m ay en joy b o th th e ad van tages a ccru in g fro m ev ery practical relation sh ip and th e sy m b o lic p rofits secu red b y th e approval so cia lly con ­ ferred o n practices c o n fo rm in g to th e official represen tation of practices. S tra teg ies aim ed at p ro d u c in g "regular ” p ractices are o n e categ o ry , am ong oth ers, o f officializing strategies, th e o b ject o f w h ich is to tr a n s m u te " e g o is tic ”, private, particular in terests (n o tio n s d efin ab le only w ith in th e relation ship b etw een a social u n it and th e en co m p a ssin g social u n it at a h ig h er le v el) in to d isin te re ste d , co llec tiv e, p u b lic ly avow ab le, leg itim a te in terests.

In the

ab sen ce o f p olitical in stitu tio n s en d o w e d w ith an effectiv e m o n o p o ly of leg itim a te v io len ce, p olitical action p rop er can b e ex ercised o n ly b y th e effect o f officialization and th u s p resu p p o ses th e competence (in th e se n se o f a ca pacity socially recogn ized in a pu blic au th ority) required in ord er to m anip ulate th e co llec tiv e d efinition o f th e situ a tio n in su ch a w ay as to b rin g it closer to th e official d efin ition o f th e situ ation and th ereb y to w in th e m ea n s of m o b ilizin g th e largest p o ssib le grou p , th e op p o site strategy te n d in g to reduce th e sam e situ ation to a m erely private affair .74 T o p o ssess th e cap ital of a u th ority necessary to im p o se a d efin ition o f the situ a tio n , esp ecia lly in the m o m e n ts o f crisis w h e n th e co llec tiv e ju d g m en t falters, is to be able to m o b ilize th e grou p b y so le m n iz in g , officializin g, an d th u s u n iv e rsa lizin g a p rivate in cid en t (e .g . b y p resen tin g an in su lt to a particular w om an as an affront to th e hurma o f th e w h o le g r o u p ). It is also to b e ab le to d em o b ilize it, b y d iso w n in g th e p erson d irectly co n ce rn ed , w h o , fa ilin g to id en tify his particular in terest w ith th e " gen eral in te r e s t”, is red u ced to th e sta tu s o f a m ere in d ivid u al, co n d em n e d to appear u nreason able in seek in g to im p o se his private reason - idiotes in G reek and am ah bul in K a b y le. In fa ct, grou p s d em an d in fin itely less than legalist form alism w o u ld have u s b e lie v e , but m u ch m ore than th o se w h o " w o n ’t p lay th e g am e ” are w illin g to gran t th em . B etw een th e responsible m an, w h o m th e ex c e lle n c e o f a p ractice im m ed iately in lin e w ith th e official rule, b eca u se p ro d u ced b y a regu lated h abitus, p red isp o ses to fulfil th e fu n ctio n s o f d eleg a te and sp o k e s­ m an, and th e irresponsible m an w h o , n ot c o n ten t w ith break in g th e ru les, d oes n o th in g to ex ten u a te h is in fraction s, g r o u p s m ake room for th e w ell-m eaning rule-breaker w h o b y c o n c e d in g th e ap pearan ces or in ten t o f co n fo rm ity , that is, recognition, to rules he can n eith er resp ect nor d en y , co n trib u tes to the - en tirely official - su rvival of th e ru le. It is natural that p o litics sh o u ld b e th e

O fficializing strategies


ivjjeged arena for th e d ia lec tic of th e official and th e u sefu l: in their efforts ^ draw th e g ro u p ’s d eleg a tio n upon th e m se lv e s and w ith d ra w it from their rivals, the agen ts in co m p etitio n for p olitical p ow er are lim ited to ritual s tr a te g ie s in te r e sts

and strategic ritu als, p rod u cts o f th e c o lle c tiv iz in g of private and th e sy m b o lic ap propriation o f official in terests.

But th e stru ggle to m o n o p o liz e th e leg itim a te exercise o f v io le n c e - that is to say,

^ e ab sen ce o f ec o n o m ic a cc u m u la tio n , th e stru g g le to a ccu m u late

sym bolic capital in th e form of c o llec tiv ely reco g n ized credit - m u st n ot lead us to forget th e n ecessarily h id d en o p p o sitio n b etw een th e official and th e unofficial. C o m p etitio n for official p ow er can be se t up o n ly b etw een m en , while the w o m e n m ay en ter in to com p etitio n for a p ow er wrh ich is b y d efin itio n condem ned to rem ain unofficial or ev en cla n d estin e and o cc u lt. W e find in fact in the p olitical sp h ere th e sam e d iv isio n o f lab ou r w h ich en tru sts relig io n - p u b lic , official, so le m n , and co llec tiv e - to th e m en , and m agic - secret, clandestine, and private - to th e w o m e n . In th is co m p e titio n th e m en have the w hole official in stitu tio n o n their sid e , startin g w ith th e m vth ico-ritu al representations and th e rep resen tation s o f k in sh ip w h ic h , b y red u cin g the opposition b etw e en th e official and th e private to the o p p o sitio n b etw een the outside and th e in sid e, h en ce th e m ale and th e fem a le, esta b lish a sy stem a tic hierarchization c o n d e m n in g w o m e n ’s in te rv e n tio n s to a sh a m e fu l, secret, or, at b est, unofficial ex iste n c e . Even w h en w o m e n d o w ield th e real p ow er, as is often th e case in m atrim onial m atters, th e y can ex ercise it fu lly o n ly on condition that th e y leave th e appearance o f powrer, that is, its official m anifestation, to th e m e n ; to have any p ow er at all, w o m e n m ust m ake do with th e unofficial p ow er o f th e eminence grise, a dom in ated p o w e r w h ich is opposed to official p ow er in that it can op erate o n ly b y p ro x y , u n d er th e cover of an official au th o rity , as w ell as to th e su b v ersiv e refusal o f th e rule-breaker, in that it still serves th e au th ority it u ses. T h e true statu s o f kin relatio n sh ip s, p rin cip les of stru ctu ration of th e social world w h ich , as su c h , alw ays fulfil a p olitical fu n ctio n , is m o st clearly seen in the d ifferen t u ses wrh ich m en and w o m e n can m ake o f th e sam e field of genealogical rela tio n sh ip s, and in particular in th eir d ifferen t " r ea d in g s” and u s e s ” o f gen ea lo g ica lly am b ig u o u s k in sh ip ties (w h ich are relatively freq u en t on accou n t of the narrow area of m atrim onial c h o ic e ). In all cases o f genealogically am biguous relationship, one can always bring closer the most distant relative, or m ove closer to him , by em phasizing what unites, w hile one can hold the closest relative at a distance by em phasizing wrhat separates. What ls at stake in these m anipulations, w hich it w ould be naive to consider fictitious on the grounds that no one is taken in, is in all cases nothing other than the definition of the practical lim its of the group, w hich can be redrawn by this m eans so as to go beyond or fall short of an individual one w ants to annex or ex clu d e. An idea of these subtleties m ay be got from considering the uses of the term khal (strictly, m other’s

T h e objective limits o f objectivism





Koula (





i k.- Mohand


A thm an

/ K hedoudja

“ Ahmed Case i

Case 2

F ig . i.

b roth er): used by a m arabout to a com m on, lay peasant, it expresses the desire to distinguish oneself, w ithin the lim its of courtesy, by indicating the absence of any legitim ate kin relationship; whereas between peasants, it m anifests the intention of setting up a minimal relationship of familiarity by invoking a distant, hypothetical affinal relationship.

It is the official reading that the an th rop ologist is accep tin g w h en , w ith his in form an ts’ b lessin g , he assim ilates to parallel-cousin m arriage the relation ­ sh ip w h ich u nites, for exam p le, secon d -d egree patrilateral parallel cou sin s w hen on e o f them is h im self th e ch ild o f a parallel-cousin m arriage, and a fo rtio ri w h en b oth are ch ild ren of su ch m arriages (as in th e case o f an exchan ge o f w om en b etw een the son s of tw o b rothers). T h e m ale, that is to say, the d om in an t reading, w h ich im p oses itself w ith particular in sisten ce in all p u b lic, official situ a tio n s - in sh ort, in all honou r relation ship s in w hich one m an of h onou r is sp eak in g to another - p rivileges th e n oblest asp ect, the aspect m ost w o rth y o f p u b lic p roclam ation, of a m ulti-faceted relation ship , lin k ing each of th e in d ivid u als w h o are to be situated to his patrilineal forebears and, th rou gh th e latter, to the patrilineal forebears th ey have in co m m o n . It represses the other p ossib le pathw ay, alb eit so m etim es m ore direct and often m ore co n v en ien t p ractically, w h ich w ou ld reckon through the w om en . T h u s , gen ealogical prop riety requires on e to con sid er Z oubir as having m arried in A ldja his fath er’s fath er’s b rother’s so n ’s d augh ter, or his fath er’s b roth er’s d a u gh ter’s daughter, rather than h is m o th er’s b roth er’s daughter, even if, as h app en s to be the case, th is latter relation ship lies at the origin o f the m arriage (see fig. i, case i) ; or again, to cite another case from the sam e gen ea lo g y , that K h ed oud ja sh ould b e seen as her husband

C ollective beliefs an d w hite lies


d ’s father's father’s b rother's son 's daughter, instead o f b ein g treated cross cou sin (father’s siste r’s d au gh ter), w h ich sh e equally w ell is (case ^

T h e h eretical reading, w'hich p rivileges the relation s through w o m en that exclu d ed from the official a ccou n t, is reserved for private situ a tio n s, if

^ot for m a g ic, w h ich , like in su lts, d esign ates its victim as " his m o th er’s son ” and not “ h is fath er's son

A part from the cases in w hich w om en are sp eak ing

to oth er w om en about a w om an ’s kin relation sh ip s, w hen use of the language of kin sh ip through w om en is taken for granted, th is language m ay also be current in the m ost in tim ate sp h ere of fam ily life,

i.e . in a w o m a n ’s

con versatio n s w ith her father and his brothers or her h u sb an d , her so n s, or even p erh ap s her h u sb an d ’s b rother, taking on th en the value of an affirm ation of th e in tim a c y o f the grou p of in terlocu tors as w ell as at least the sy m b o lic participation in that in tim acy of th e person th u s d esign a ted . T h e an th rop olo­ gist is in d eed the on ly person to undertake pure, d isin terested research into all p o ssib le routes b etw een tw o p o in ts in gen ealogical s p a c e : in p ractice, the ch oice o f one route rather than an oth er, the m ale or the fem ale, w h ich orients the m arriage tow ards on e or the oth er lin eage, d ep en d s on the pow er relations w ith in the d om estic u n it and ten ds to rein force, b y leg itim a tin g it, the balance o f pow er w h ich m akes th e ch oice p ossib le.

C ollective beliefs an d w h ite lies T he am biguity o f the strategies in to w h ich it enters is su ch as to lead us to ask w hether parallel-cousin m arriage sh ou ld be seen as th e ideal, hardly ever achieved in practice, o f accom p lish ed m arriage; or as an ethical norm (a duty of honour) w hich

bears on every m arriageable person b u t w h ich can

conceivably be broken (w h en circu m stan ces m ake it im p o ssib le); or sim p ly as a " m o v e ” recom m en d ed in certain situ ation s. It is because it is all these things at once that it is a favoured ob ject of m anip ulation. In this case, the second-order strategies aim ed at d isg u isin g the first-order strategies and th e interests th ey p u rsu e, u nd er the appearances of o b ed ien ce to the rule, arise from the a m b igu ity of a practice that is ob jectively am en able to a tw ofold reading, th e gen ealogical reading, w h ich everyth in g en cou rages, and the econom ic and p olitical reading, w h ich w ould p resup pose access to com p lete inform ation on the exchan ges b etw een the groups in q u estio n . B ut the ideological trap w orks both w ays: too m uch faith in native a ccou n ts can lead °n e to present a m ere id eological screen as the norm o f practice; too m uch distrust of them m ay cause on e to n eglect the social fu n ction of a lie socially devised and en cou raged , on e o f th e m ean s agen ts have of correcting the sym bolic effects o f strategies im p o sed b y other n ece ssitie s .75 T h ere is n o d ou b t that th e p re-em in en t p osition en joyed by parallel-cousin


T h e objective lim its o f objectivism

m arriage in native accoun ts and, co n seq u en tly , in eth nograph ic accoun ts, is d u e to the fact that it is the m arriage m ost p erfectly co n sisten t w ith the m yth ico-ritu al representation of th e sexual d iv isio n of labour, and m ore parti* cularly o f th e fu n ction s assigned to the m en and the w o m en in inter-group relations. F irst, it con stitu tes the m ost ab solute affirm ation of the refusal to recogn ize the relation ship of affinity for w hat it is, i.e. w hen it does not appear as a sim p le duplication of the relationship o f filiation: there is praise for the result peculiar to a m arriage b etw een parallel co u sin s, the fact that the resu lting ch ild ren (" th ose w h ose extraction is u n m ix ed , w h o se b lood is p u r e ”) can be attached to th e sam e lineage through their father or their m oth er ("he took his m aternal u n cles from the place w here he has his r o o ts’*- ichathel, ikh aw el, or in A rabic, " h is m aternal u n cle is h is paternal u n c le ” - khalu ram m u). O n the other hand w e know that the husband is free (in theory) to repudiate his w ife, and that a w ife co m in g from ou tsid e is a virtual stranger until sh e has p roduced a m ale d escen dan t and so m etim es even b eyon d that tim e. W e know too the am bivalen ce of the relationship b etw een n ep h ew and m aternal uncle ( khal): " h e w h o has no en em ies need o n ly await his sister's s o n ” (that is, the person w h o , in con tem p t o f h onou r, can alw ays claim his m oth er’s in heritan ce p ortion ). But the refusal to recogn ize the affinity relationship (" th e w om an neither u n ites or se p a r a te s”, tham attuth u r th a zed d i ur theferreq) finds reinforcem ent, if not a basis, in the m yth ical representation of w om an as the sou rce from w hich im pu rity and d ishon ou r threaten to en ter the lin eage. N o th in g entirely g ood can com e fom a w om an : sh e can bring n o th in g but evil or, at b est, the lesser of tw o ev ils, her w ick ed n ess on ly b ein g com p en sated for by her weakness (" G od knew what he w as creating in the d o n k ey ; he d id n ’t g iv e him any h o rn s”) . T h is lesser ev il, th is g ood in evil, alw ays arises in w om en through the corrective and p rotective action o f a m an. "S h am e is th e m a id e n ” - aVar thaqchichth - the proverb says, and th e son -in -law is so m etim es called setter la y u b " th e veil cast over sh a m e ” .76 It fo llo w s that a w om an is n ever w orth m ore than the w orth o f the m en of her lin eage. It fo llo w s to o that the best, or least bad, of w om en is the on e w h o is sp ru n g from the m en o f th e lineage, the patrilateral parallel cou sin , the m ost m ascu lin e of w om en - th e extrem e in stance o f w h ich , the im p ossib le figm en t of a patriarchal im agin ation , is A th en e, born o f Z e u s’ head. "M arry the daughter o f you r 'amm; even if she ch ew s yo u , sh e w o n ’t sw allow y o u .” T h e patrilateral parallel co u sin , a cu l­ tivated, straightened w om an , is op posed to th e m atrilateral parallel cou sin , a natural, tw isted , m aleficen t, im pu re w om an , as the m ale-fem ale is op posed to the fem ale-fem ale, i.e . in accordance w ith the stru cture (o f the ty p e a :b : : b j : b 2) w h ich also organ izes the m yth ic space o f the h ouse and o f the agrarian calen dar .77 M arriage to the father’s brother’s daughter is the m ost

C ollective beliefs an d w h ite lies


j 0 f ail m arriages, and the on e m ost likely to call d ow n b lessin gs on roup- I 1 usec*t0 r^ e ° f the o p en in g rite of the m arriage season , nded, like the h o m o lo g o u s rite in the case of p lou g h in g , to exorcize the threat contained in the co m in g togeth er of m ale and fem ale, fire and w ater, kv and earth, plough sh are and furrow , in acts o f in evitab le sa crileg e .78 T h e projection of the categories of m yth ic th o u g h t on to kin relation ship s duces op p osition s w h ich w ould rem ain relatively unreal if th e d ivision s thev engender d id not corresp ond to a fun dam en tal d ivision in d om estic politics: the interests of the m other, seek in g to reinforce her p o sitio n in her adoptive hom e by b rin gin g into the fam ily a w om an sp ru n g from her ow n lineage, are ob jectively op p osed to the in terests of the father, wrh o, in arranging his son ’s m arriage, as befits a m an, by an agreem en t w ith h is ow n kin, his own brother, or som e other patrilineal kinsm an, rein forces the agnatic unit and, thereby, his ow n p osition in the d om estic u n it. The in-marrying woman ( thislith), depending on whether she is linked to her husband’s father (and in that case, whether she is so by her father, or more generally bv a man, or by her m other) or to her husband’s m other (and there again, whether it is by her father or her m oth er), carries very different w eight in the power relationship with her husband’s m other ( thamgharth); this relationship clearly also varies depending on the thamgharth’s genealogical relationship to the men of the lineage (i.e . to her husband s father). T h u s the patrilateral parallel cousin finds herself from the outset in a position of strength w hen she has to deal w ith an "old w o m a n ” from outside the lineage, whereas the "old w om an’s ” position may be strengthened in her relations with thislith, and also, indirectly, in her relations w ith her ow n husband, w hen thislith is her own sister’s daughter, and, a fortiori, her brother s daughter. Since the mother and the father have (in a certain respect) structurally opposed interests, the so n ’s marriage provokes a confrontation - albeit undeclared, because the wom en can have no official strategy - betw een the parents, the father tending to favour marriage within the lineage, i.e. the one w hich mythical representation, the ideological legitim ation of male dom ination, presents as the best, while the mother directs her secret approaches towards her own lineage, and at the opportune m om ent will invite her husband to give his official sanction to the results. T h e wom en w ould not deploy in matrimonial exploration all the ingenuity and effort that is generally conceded to them by the sexual division of labour, at least up to the m om ent w hen official dialogue can be established between the m en, if it were not the case that their so n ’s marriage contains the potentiality of the subversion of their ow n pow er, and thus of a crisis in the dom estic economy which w ould lead consum ption ( lakhla ukham, the em ptiness of the house) to overtake the accum ulation of stocks (la'mara ukham, the fullness of the house), resulting eventually in the break up of joint ow nership. T h is m eans, incidentally, that the interests of "the old m an ” (amghar) and "the old w o m a n ” ( thamgharth) are not necessarily antagonistic: conscious of the advantage to him self of the choice of a young Wlfe (thislith) fully devoted to a thamgharth herself devoted to the lineage, am gharw ill authorize thamgharth to seek out a docile girl from her lineage: moreover, since the w ole structure of practical relationships betw een kinsm en is present in each particular je ationship, he may deliberately choose to take for his son his own sister’s daughter \patrilateral cross cousin) or even, w ithout being seen to do so , encourage his wife t° marry him to her broth ers daughter (matrilateral cross cousin) rather than


T he objective limits o f objectivism

strengthen the hold of a brother already dom inant (by age or prestige), by agreeing to take his daughter (patrilateral parallel cousin).

Parallel-cousin m arriage m ay in certain cases im p ose itself as a necessity w h ich is, howrever, not that of a gen ealogical rule. In practice th is ideal marriage is often a forced ch o ic e, w'hich p eop le so m etim es try to pass off as a p ositive ch oice of the id eal, th u s m aking a virtue of n ecessity . T h e native " theory ”, taken up w ith en th u siasm b y legalist form alism , accord in g to which everyon e has a sort o f " righ t o f p re-e m p tio n ” over h is parallel cou sin , is d o u b tless sim p ly another exp ression o f the id eo lo g y o f m a scu lin ity w hich gives the m an su periority, and therefore the in itiative, in all relations b etw een the sexes and especially in m arriage. It is im possible to find an informant or anthropologist who will not declare that in Arab and Berber countries every boy has a ''rig h t” to his parallel cousin: " If the boy wants his father’s brother’s daughter, he has a right to her. But if he d o esn ’t, he isn ’t consulted. It’s the same as with land.” A lthough infinitely closer to the reality of practice than anthropological legalism , which does not even suspect the homology betw een a m an’s relation to the w om en of the lineage and his relation to the land, this remark by an inform ant, w hich adopts the official language of law, masks the real and infinitely more com plex relation linking an individual with his parallel cousin. A m an’s supposed right to the bent'amm, the father’s brother’s daughter, may in fact be a duty which obeys the same principles as the obligation to avenge a kinsman or to buy up a piece of family land coveted by strangers, and is therefore totally binding only in very special and even som ewhat exceptional circum stances.79 T h e fact that, in the case of land, the right of pre-em ption (achfa') is formulated and codified by the learned legal tradition (furnished with an institutionalized authority and guaranteed by the courts) as w ell as by " cu sto m ” ( qanun) in no way im plies that the juridical or customary rule can be m ade the principle of the practices actually observed when land changes hands. Because the sale of a piece of land belonging to the patrimony is first and forem ost an internal matter for the lineage, it is entirely exceptional for the group to have recourse to the authorities (the clan or village assem bly) which transmute the obligation of honour into a right, and if they do invoke the right or custom of chafa‘ (or achfa'), they are alm ost always m otivated by principles which have nothing to do w ith those of legal rights (e.g . the intention to challenge the purchaser of the lands by dem anding the annulm ent of an allegedly illegal sale) and which govern m ost of the practices of buying or selling land. T h e obligation to marry a woman who is in a situation similar to that of fallow land, neglected by its masters ( athbur, unmarried girl; el bur, fallow land) sim ply im poses itself w ith less urgency than the obligation to buy land put up for sale by a group m em ber, or to buy back land fallen into the hands of outsiders, land ill defended and ill possessed ; and it is infinitely less binding than the im perative of avenging the murder of a group mem ber. In all these cases, the force o f the duty depends on the agent’s positions in the genealogy and also, of course, on their dispositions. T h u s, in the case of revenge, the obligation of honour may becom e a right to honour in the eyes of som e (the same murder is som etim es avenged tw ice), while others w ill back out or bring them selves to do it only under pressure. In the case of land, the material advantage o f purchase is clear, and the hierarchy of rights to honour and obligations to buy is both more apparent and more often transgressed, with conflicts and com plex transactions betw een

C ollective beliefs an d w h ite lies


of the family who feel obliged to purchase but cannot afford to, and t^l°Se xrhn have lesser duty-rights to purchase but could afford to. m e m b e rs


In practice, parallel-cousin m arriage d oes not take on the ideal sign ifican ce

and function w hich th e official accou n ts attribute it, excep t in th o se fam ilies which are sufficiently stron gly integrated to wrant th is rein forcem en t o f their integration. It on ly im p oses itself, at least in an ab solu te wray, in extrem e circum stances, su ch as the case of the daughter of the am engur, the m an w ho has " fa iled ”, w h o has n ot had a m ale heir. In this case in terest and d uty com cide to require the m arriage of the parallel cou sin s, sin ce the amengur's brother and his ch ild ren w ill in any case inherit not on ly the land an d the house of the " fa ile d ” m an but also his ob ligation s w ith regard to his daughters (particularly in the case o f w id ow h ood or rep u d iation ), and sin ce this marriage is, m oreover, the on ly wray o f avoid in g the threat w'hich m arriage to a stranger (aw rith ) w ou ld pose to the h onou r of th e grou p and perhaps to its patrim ony. T h e obligation to m arry the parallel cou sin also im p o ses itself w h en a daughter has not fou n d a h usb and , or at least not fou n d on e w orth y o f her family: " H e wrh o has a daughter and d oes not marry her off m u st bear her sh am e” ; " T h e m an w h ose daughter grow s up w ith ou t m arrying w ould be better off dead than a liv e .” T h e relation ship b etw een brothers is su ch that a man cannot w ith h old his daughter w h en his b rother, esp ecially an elder brother, asks for her for his son . In th is lim itin g case, in w hich the taker is also the giver, in asm uch as he is the eq u ivalen t of and su b stitu te for the father, shirking the obligation is scarcely thinkable, as w h en an u n cle asks for his niece on behalf of so m eon e to wrh om he has prom ised her; it w ould m oreover, be a serious sligh t to a m an ’s b rothers to marry off his daughter w ithou t inform ing and co n su ltin g th e m , and a b roth er’s disapproval, o ften g iven as a reason for refusin g, is not ahvays a ritual p retext. T h e d em an d s o f solidarity are even m ore b in d in g , and refusal is unthin k able wrh en , g o in g against all propriety (it is alw ays the m an w ho " a sk s” for the w om an in m arriage), the girl’s father offers her for h is n ep h ew , h in tin g at it as d iscreetly as possible, thou gh to con travene cu stom in th is w ay on e has to be able to co u n t °n a relationship as stron g as that b etw een twro closely u n ited brothers. T h e fact rem ains that, sin ce honou r and d ishon ou r are held in co m m o n , th e tw o brothers have the sam e in terest in "coverin g u p the sham e before it is un v eile d ”, or, in the language of sy m b o lic in terest, before the fam ily finds that its sy m b olic capital has been d evalu ed b y the lack o f takers for its aughters on the m atrim onial m arket .80 S o , even in th ese lim itin g situ ation s where the ch oice of th e parallel co u sin im p oses itself writh extrem e rigour, ere is no need to appeal to ethical or juridical rules in order to a cco u n t for Practices w hich are th e result of strategies co n sciou sly or u n co n scio u sly


T he objective lim its o f objectivism

directed tow ards th e satisfaction o f a d eterm in ate type of m aterial and sy m ­ bolic in terests. T h e eth ic o f honou r is the self-in terest eth ic of social for­ m ations. grou p s, or classes in w hose patrim on y sy m b o lic capital figures p rom in en tly. O n ly total unaw areness o f the terrible and perm anent loss w h ich a slur on th e honour of the w o m en o f the lin eage can represent could lead on e to see o b ed ien ce to an ethical or juridical rule as the principle of the action s in ten d ed to p revent, con ceal, or make g ood the outrage. M arriages w h ich are id en tical as regards gen ea lo g y alone m ay th u s have differen t, even o p p o site , m ean in gs and fu n ctio n s, d ep en d in g on the strategies in w h ich th ey are in v o lv ed . T h e s e can on ly be grasped b y m eans o f a re­ con stru ction of th e entire system of relation ship s b etw een the twro associated grou p s and o f th e state of th ese relation ship s at a g iven p oint in tim e. A s soon as one con sid ers not sim p ly the m arriages already co n clu d ed , those counted and classified by the g en ealogist, b u t also the co n scio u s and u n con sciou s strategies and th e ob jective co n d ition s w h ich m ade them p o ssib le and n eces­ sary, i.e . the in d ivid u al and collectiv e fu n ction s w h ich they have fulfilled , one cannot fail to n o tice that any tw o m arriages b etw een parallel co u sin s m ay have n oth in g in co m m o n , d ep en d in g on w heth er th ey w ere co n clu d ed d uring the lifetim e of the co m m o n paternal grandfather, and even perhaps by him (w ith the agreem en t of th e tw o fathers, or "over their h e a d s”), or on th e contrary by direct agreem en t b etw een the tw o b rothers ; w hether in th is latter case they w ere arranged w h ile the future sp ou ses w ere still ch ild ren , or on ce th ey were o f m arriageable age (not to m en tion the case o f the daughter w h o has already passed that a g e); w h eth er th e tw o brothers live and work separately or have kept u n d ivid ed th eir farm ing activity (land, herds, and other g o o d s) and their d om estic e c o n o m y ("a sin gle cook in g p o t ”), not to m en tion th e case in w hich on ly the appearance of u n d ivid ed property is m aintain ed ; w h eth er it is the elder brother ( d a d d a ) w h o g ives his daughter to his junior, or on th e contrary w h o takes a d augh ter from h im , a d ifferen ce in age and esp ecially in sib lin g order so m etim es b ein g associated w ith d ifferen ces in social rank and prestige; w h eth er the brother g iv in g h is daughter has a m ale heir or is an am engur; w h eth er the tw o brothers are alive at the m om en t w hen the m arriage is settled , or on ly one of th em is, and m ore p recisely w h eth er th e surviving brother is the b o y s father, the d esign ated protector of th e girl he is taking for h is son (esp ecially if sh e has n o adult b rother), or on the contrary, the girl’s father, wrh o m ay u se his d om in ant p osition in order to secure the allegiance of th e son -in -law . A nd as if to add to the a m b igu ity of this type of m arriage, it is not u nu sual, as w e have seen , that th e d uty to sacrifice o n eself, so as to be the " veil cast over s h a m e ”, and to p rotect a su sp ect or ill-favoured g irl, sh ould fall to a m an from the poorest branch o f th e lineage, w h ose act it is easy, u seful and p raisew orthy to praise as if it sprang from

Collective beliefs a n d w h ite lies h is e a g e r n e s s


to fulfil a d uty of h on ou r tow ards the d augh ter of h is 'amm or

even to exercise his right as a m ale m em b er o f the lin ea g e .81 I n f o r m a n t s con stantly rem ind u s by th eir very in coh eren ces and con trad ic­ tions that m arriage can n ever be fu lly defined in gen ealogical term s, and that it may take on different, even o p p o site m ean in gs and fu n ctio n s, accord in g to its d eterm in in g con d itio n s. T h e y also rem ind u s that parallel-cousin marriage can be th e w orst or the b est o f m arriages d ep en d in g on w h eth er it is seen as voluntary or forced , i.e . d ep en d in g prim arily on th e relative p o sitio n s 0f

the fam ilies in the social stru ctu re. It m ay be the best kind o f m arriage

("to marry the daughter of your 'amm is to have h on ey in your m o u th ”), not simply from the m yth ic p oin t o f v ie w , but also in term s o f practical satisfactions, sin ce it is the least on erou s econ om ically and socially - the transactions and m aterial and sy m b o lic costs b ein g reduced to a m in im u m - and at the sam e tim e th e safest: th e sam e term s are u sed to contrast a close marriage w ith a d istant on e as are u sed to contrast direct exch a n g es b etw een peasants w ith m arket tran saction s .82 It m ay also be th e w orst kind of u nion ("Marriage b etw een *paternal u n c le s ' - a z w a j el la 'm u m - is bitter in m y heart; I pray you , oh m y G od , p reserve m e from that m isfo r tu n e ”),83 and also the least prestigious (" F rien d s have com e w h o oversh adow y o u ; you re­ main, you w h o are b la c k ”) w h en ever it is forced on th e grou p as a last resort. In short, the apparent in coh eren ce o f in form an ts’ accou n ts in fact draw s our attention to th e fun ction al am b ig u ity o f a genealogically (i.e . id eo lo g ica lly ) unequivocal m arriage, an d th ereb y to the m an ip u lation s of the ob jective m eaning o f practice and its p ro d u ct w h ich th is com b in a tio n of am bigu ity and clarity allow s and en cou rages Perhaps the only victim of these m anipulations is the anthropologist: by putting into the same class all patrilateral parallel-cousin marriages (and assim ilated cases) whatever their functions for the individuals and groups involved, he assimilates practices which may differ in all the respects left out of account by the genealogical model. One example will suffice to give an idea of the econom ic and sym bolic inequalities w hich may be disguised beneath the mask of the genealogical relationship between classificatory parallel cou sin s and to bring to light the specifically political strategies cloaked under the legitim acy of th is relationship. T h e spouses belong to the house of Belaid ”, a big fam ily in term s both of its num bers (perhaps ten m en of fork in g age and about forty people in all) and of its econom ic capital. Because undivided property is never anything other than a refusal to divide, the inequalities " nich separate the potential "shares ” and the respective contributions of different lines strongly felt. T h u s the line of the descendants of A hm ed, from which the , egroom com es> *s m uch richer in men than the line of Y oucef, from which the e com es, and which is correspondingly richer in land. Wealth in m en, considered 2s reproductive strength and therefore as the prom ise of still greater wealth in m en, 18 related, provided one knows how to make the capital work, to a great num ber of ? Vantages the most im portant of w hich is authority in the conduct o f the house’s internal and external affairs: " T h e house of men is greater than the house of ca ttle”

T h e objective limits o f objectivism

( akham irgazen if akham izgaren). T h e pre-em inent position of this line is shown by the fact that it has been able to take over the first nam es of the rem ote ancestors of the family and that it includes A hcene, who represents the group in all major external encounters, w hether conflict or cerem onies, and A hm ed, the "wise m a n ” who by his mediation and counsel ensures the unity of the group. T h e girl’s father (Y oucef) js totally excluded from power, not so m uch on account of the difference in age separating him from his uncles (A hcene and A hm ed), since A h m ed ’s sons, although much younger than he, are associated w ith the decisions, but above all because he has cut him self off from com petition betw een m en, from all exceptional contributions, and even to a certain extent from work on the land. (A n only son, and, moreover, "son of the w id o w ”, coddled by a w hole set o f w om en (m other, aunts, etc.) as the only hope of the lineage, kept away from the gam es and work of the other children in order to go to school, he has kept in a marginal position all his life. After a period of army service and then agricultural labour abroad, he takes advantage, now that he is back in the village, of his favourable position as possessor of a large share of the patrimony with only a few m ouths to feed, restricting him self to the work of overseeing, gardening, and tending (m ills, gardens, and fig-driers) - those tasks w hich require the least initiative and entail the few est responsibilities, in short, the least male of male jobs.) T h ese are som e of the elem ents which m ust be taken into account in order to understand the internal and external political function of the marriage betw een Belaid - t h e last son of Amar, him self the son of A hm ed, the uncle of Y oucef - and Y ou cefs daughter Yasmina, his classificatorv parallel cousin (father’s father’s brother’s son’s daughter). T h is marriage, arranged by A hm ed and A hcene, the holders of p o w e r as usual w ithout consulting Y oucef, and leaving his w ife to protest in vain against a union bringing little profit - reinforces the position of the dom inant line, strengthening its links w ith the line rich in land, w ithout in any way com prom ising its external prestige, since the structure of dom estic power is never declared outwardly, and because even its m ost im poverished mem ber nevertheless shares in the brilliance of the lineage. T h u s the com plete truth about this marriage resides in its tw ofold truth. T he official im age, that of a marriage betw een parallel cousins in a large family anxious to demonstrate its unity by a marriage able to reinforce it at the sam e time as displaying its adherence to the m ost sacred of the ancestral traditions, coexists without contradiction, even am ong strangers to the group, w ho are always sufficiently well inform ed never to be taken in by the representations they are given, with knowledge of the objective truth about a union w hich sanctions the forced alliance between tw o social units sufficiently attached to one another negatively, for better or for w orse, i.e. genealogically, to be forced to unite their com plem entary riches. Endless exam ples could be given of this sort of collective bad faith.

It is u nd erstan dab le that, faced w ith su ch accom plished p rod ucts o f the art of m asking con strain ts and in terests u nd er exp ressio n s capable o f sidetrack­ ing sp on tan eou s h erm en eu tics tow ards the less real but m ore presentable m otives o f m orality and d u ty , the collectiv e ju d gem en t should h esitate. But there is n o case in w hich th e ob jective m ean in g o f a m arriage is so strongly marked as to leave n o room for sy m b o lic transfiguration. T h u s th e marriage of the so-called mechrut, by w h ich a m an w h o has no male d escen d an ts gives his d augh ter in m arriage to an " h e ir ” (aw rith ) on con d ition that he com es to live in his fath er-in -law ’s h ou se, is en cou n tered on ly in tales or anthropology' books in the form o f th e sort of purchase of a son -in -law , recruited for his

Collective beliefs an d w h ite lies er§ 0f p rod uction and reprodu ction , that m echan ical application o f the Official p r in c ip le K abyle w orld -view w ould lead u s to see in i t .84 T h e w ho m en tion it, in w hatever region , are right in saying that this

°n fo r m a n ts

form of marriage is u n k n ow n am ong th em and on ly to be foun d in other areas. T h e m ost careful scru tin y of gen ealogies and fam ily h istories w ill not reveal a single case w hich p erfectly m atches the d efin ition (" I g iv e y o u m y d aughter, but vou w ill com e to m y h o m e ”). Rut on e is eq u ally en titled to claim that there is no fam ily w h ich d oes not in clu d e at least on e a w rith y but an aw rith disguised u nd er the official im age of the " a sso cia te” or th e "adopted s o n ”. The word aw rith , the " h eir ”, is an official eu p h em ism a llo w in g p eop le to nam e the unnam eable, i.e . a m an w ho cou ld o n ly be d efin ed , in the h o u se w hich w elcom es him , as th e h usband of h is w ife. It is clear that th e m an of honour who plays the gam e fairly can cou n t on th e b en evolen t co m p licity o f his ow n group w hen he attem p ts to d isguise as an ad option a u n io n w h ich , v iew ed cvnically, represents an inversion o f all th e honourable form s of m arriage and which, as su ch , is no less dishon ou rab le for the aw rith (" h e is the on e w h o is playing the b r id e ”, th ey say) than for kinsm en su fficien tly self-in terested to give their daughter to th is kind of u np aid d om estic servan t. A nd th e grou p is quick to join in the circle of the calculated lies w h ich ten d to con ceal its failure to find an h onou rab le way of savin g th e am engur from resortin g to such extrem ities in order to prevent the " b a n k ru p tcy” ( lakh la) o f h is fam ily. But the genealogies also contain cases about w hich it is hard to understand how they can benefit from similar com plicity. For exam ple, in the history of one prestigious lineage one finds a series of acquisitions of sons-in-law who are neither seen as nor declared mechrut, although their annexation was im posed not by necessity, but as part of a quasi-systematic effort to increase the capital o f m en, a fact w hich one m ight expect to double the sense of scandal. In one such case, the fact that the " ill-gotten ” son-in-law was a marabout no doubt lent credibility to the status of "adopted son ” which he was supposed to have received, although he had put him self in the position of an awrith by coming to live with his w ife’s family (a sign that the latter were in a stronger position) after spending a few m onths with his own fam ily (w hich he was made to do for the sake of appearances). N evertheless, various subterfuges were resorted to in order to get over the problem of his presence in the h o u se : he was given the job of miller, which made it possible to keep him at a distance; as is customary in such c^ses, his food was brought to him at the m ill. T h en the heads o f the lineage discreetly suggested that he should take outside work, an ingenious solution w hich kept the profits of his labour w hile rem oving the em barrassing situation created by his presence in ls l i f e ’s fam ily. After the death of her husband, the woman remarried and had a son, whom she took back into her ow n lineage w hen her second husband died; this son was not regarded as an aw ritn, either, w hen his maternal uncles married him to j*n orphan under their protection, so as to bind him to her. T h e reason was that in nnging up their quasi-son as "their ow n s o n ” (though he still calls them khal and not dadda, and is called A hm ed u A gouni, after his father’s village) and marrying him o one of their quasi-daughters, they had given sufficient proof of their adherence to e official image of the aw rith as " h eir ” and "adopted s o n ” to im pose a collective


T h e objective lim its o f objectivism

recognition of it. T h is is how the second-order strategies - w hich all tend to transform useful relationships into official ones and hence to ensure that practices which in fact obey altogether different principles appear to be deduced fom the genealogical definition - achieve in addition an unexpected result, in giving a representation of practice seem ingly designed to confirm the representation the structuralist anthro­ pologist has of practice.

T he ordin ary and the extra-ordinary T h u s , far from o b eyin g a norm w hich w ou ld design ate an ob ligatory spouse from am on g the wTh ole set o f official k in, the arrangem ent o f m arriages d epends d irectly on the state o f the practical k insh ip relation s, relation ship s through th e m en usable by th e m en and relation ship s through the w o m en usable bv th e w om en , and on the state of the p ow er relations w ith in th e " h o u s e ”, that is, b etw een the lineages u n ited b y m arriage in th e p reviou s gen eration, w hich allowr and favour the cu ltivation of o n e or th e other field o f relationships. If on e accep ts that on e of the principal fu n ctio n s o f m arriage is to reproduce th e social relations of w h ich it is th e p rod u ct, then it is im m ed iately u nd er­ stand able w h y the different types of m arriage w h ich can b e d istin gu ish ed as m u ch b y the criterion o f th e ob jective ch aracteristics o f the groups brought togeth er (th eir p osition in th e social hierarchy, their rem oteness in sp ace, etc.) as by the characteristics of the cerem on y itself, in particular its solem n ity, sh o u ld correspond very closely to th e characteristics o f th e social relations w h ich have m ade th em p ossib le and w h ich they ten d to reprodu ce. T h e official kin grou p , p ub licly nam ed and socially recogn ized , is w hat m akes possible and necessary the official m arriages w hich provide its on ly o p p ortu n ity to m o b ilize practically and thereby to reaffirm its u n ity , a u n ity at on ce as solem n and as artificial as th e occasion s on w h ich it is celebrated. It is w ith in practical k insh ip , that is, in the field o f relation ship s constantly reused and thus reactivated for future u se, that ordinary m arriages are con tracted, w ith a freq u en cy w hich itself con d em n s th em to the in sign ifican ce o f th e unm arked and the banality of the everyday. It is logical that the h igher a group is placed in the social hierarchy and h en ce th e richer it is in official relation ship s, the greater the proportion o f its work o f reprodu ction that is d ev o ted to reprodu c­ ing su ch relation ship s, w hereas the poor relations, w h o have little to spend on so lem n ities, can m ake d o w ith th e ordinary m arriages that practical k inship en su res for them . T h e m ost in sid ious of the d istortion s in herent in inform ants' exp lan ations is d ou b tless the fact that they give a disproportionate im portance to extra­ ordinary m arriages, w h ich d istin g u ish th em selv es from ordinary m arriages by a p ositive or a negative m ark. A s wrell as the various curios wrhich the an th ro­ p ologist often finds h im self b ein g offered by w’ell-in ten tio n ed inform ants, such as m arriage by exchan ge (a b d a l, tw o m en " e x c h a n g e ” their sisters),

T he ord in a ry and the extra-ordinary


gjfiage b y " a d d itio n ” (th im i, tw o b rothers marry tw o sisters, the second sister being " a d d e d ” to th e first; the son marries th e sister or even the daughter of th e secon d w ife o f h is fath er), or again, the levirate, a particular case of marriage as " rep aration ” ( thiririth, from err, to g iv e or take back), native discourse also d efines th e extrem e cases: parallel-cousin m arriage, the

niost perfect m yth ically, and m arriage u n itin g the h ead m en o f tw o trib es or two different clans, the m o st perfect p olitically. Thus, the tale, a sem i-ritualized didactic narrative, a sim ple paraphrase in parabolic form of the proverb or saying w hich serves as its moral, only ever relates marked, marking marriages. First, there are the different types of parallel-cousin marriage, whether intended to preserve a political heritage or to prevent the extinction of a lineage (in the case of an only daughter). T h en there are the most flagrant misalliances, like the marriage of the tawny ow l and the eagle’s daughter - a pure m odel of upward marriage (upward socially, but also m ythically, up being opposed to dow n as day, light, happiness, purity, honour are opposed to night, darkness, m isfortune, im purity, and dishonour) between a man at the bottom of the social ladder, an aw rith and a woman of a fam ily of higher rank, in w hich the traditional relationship o f assistance is inverted by the discrepancy betw een the partner’s positions in the social and sexual hierarchies. It is the one w ho g iv es, in this case the higher, w ho must g o to the aid of the one who has taken his son-in-law, the tawny ow l, on his back, to spare him a humiliating defeat in com petition with the young eagles - a scandalous situation denounced in the proverb " giving him your daughter and corn to o ’*.

Contrary to th ese official represen tation s, observation and sta tistics estab ­ lish that, in all the groups ob served , the m ajority of the m arriages b elo n g to the class of ordinary m arriages, generally arranged by th e w o m e n , w ithin the area of the practical k insh ip or practical relation ship s w hich m ake them possible and w hich they help to stren g th en .85 T h e m arriages contracted w ithin this area, b etw een fam ilies u n ited by frequ en t and ancient ex ch an ges along age-old b eaten paths con tin u ou sly kept op en for gen eration after gen era tio n , are those about w hich n o th in g is said, as w ith everyth in g wfhich can be taken for granted because it has ahvays been as it is - th ose w hich have no other function, apart from b iological rep rod u ction , than the reprodu ction of those social relationships w hich m ake them p o ssib le .86 T h e se m arriages, w hich are generally celebrated w ith o u t cerem on y, stand in the sam e relation ship to extra-ordinary m arriages, wTh ich are con clu d ed b y the m en b etw een different villages or tribes, or m ore sim p ly , ou tsid e practical k insh ip , and for th is reason alw ays sealed by solem n cerem on ies, as th e exchan ges o f everyday life, th e little presen ts (thuntichin) exchan ged by w om en to " b in d them in friendship ”, stand to th e extra-ordinary exchan ges on special o cca sio n s, the solemn gifts solem n ly p roclaim ed (Ikhir) w h ich are exp ected b etw een official kin .87 Extra-ordinary m arriages ex clu d e the w om en , as d o es parallel-cousin marnag e, wrhich differs in th is respect - alone 88 - from ordinary m arriages, w hich


T he objective lim its o f objectivism

w ould be u nthin k able w ith o u t their in terven tio n . B u t, in contrast to marriage arranged b etw een brothers, o r at any rate a m on g the m en of the lin eage, with the b lessin g o f th e patriarch, a distant m arriage is officially p resen ted as p olitical. C ontracted o u tsid e th e zon e of everyday relation ship s, celebrated w ith cerem on ies w h ich m o b ilize exten sive gro u p s, its sole justification is p olitical, as in the lim itin g case o f th e m arriages in ten d ed to set the seal on peace or on an alliance b etw een th e " h e a d s” o f tw o trib es .89 M ore o fte n , it is m arriage of the m arketplace, a neutral grou n d from w h ich w o m en are exclu d ed and w here lin eages, clans, and tribes w arily m eet. It is " p u b lish e d ” in the m arket by th e crier (b erra k ), u nlike other m arriages w h ich , sin ce they on ly bring togeth er k in sm en , d o not in volve so lem n in vitation s. It treats the w om an as a political in stru m en t, a sort of p led g e or liquid asset, capable of earning sym b olic profits. B ein g an op p ortu n ity to ex h ib it p u b licly and officially, and hence p erfectly legitim ately, the fam ily's sy m b o lic capital, to m ake a show of k insh ip ties, and thereby to increase th is capital, at the cost o f con sid erable eco n o m ic ex p en d itu re, it is faithful at all tim es to the logic of the accum u lation of sy m b o lic capital. T h u s m arriage to a stranger w h o has been cut off from his grou p and has fled to o n e s village is sh u n n e d , w hile marriage to a stranger liv in g at a d istance is p restigiou s becau se it bears w itn ess to the extent o f th e lin eage’s p restige. Sim ilarly, political m arriages, as op posed to ordinary m arriages w hich follow w ell-w orn tracks, are not and cannot be repeated , sin ce th e alliance w ould be d evalued b y b ecom in g co m m on . F urth erm ore, th is typ e o f m arriage is fun d am en tally m ascu lin e and often causes conflict b etw een the father o f th e bride and her m other, w ho is less appreciative of the sy m b o lic profit w h ich the m arriage m ay b rin g and m ore con cern ed about th e draw backs it m ay entail for her daughter, co n d em n ed to a life of ex ile ( thaghribth, the ex ile, sh e w h o has g o n e off to the w est ).90 Insofar as it b rin gs large grou p s in to in terrelation sh ip through the fam ilies and lineages d irectly in volved , it is totally official and every aspect of the celebration is strictly ritualized and m agically stereo ty p ed : th is is d ou b tless b ecau se the stakes are so h igh and the ch an ces of a rift so great that the agen ts dare not tru st to the regulated im provisation of orchestrated habitus. T h e marriages arranged in the sort o f privileged sub-market (that o f the akham) which the authority of the elder and agnate solidarity set up as a free zone from which all outbidding and all com petition are absolutely excluded, unquestionably distinguish them selves from extra-ordinary marriages by their incomparably lower material and sym bolic cost. T h e union is generally regarded as a self-evident necessity, and when this is not the case, the discreet m ediation of the w om en of the fam ily is sufficient to bring it about. T h e celebration of the marriage is reduced to a strict m inim um . First, the expenses ( thaqufats) incurred in the reception of the marriage procession by the girl’s fam ily are very m odest; the imensi cerem ony, at w hich the bride-

T he ord in a ry an d the extra-ordin ary


alth is presented, brings together only the m ost im portant representatives o f the * * fafnilies being allied (perhaps tw enty m en) ; the bride’s trousseau ( la d ja z) is limit** to three dresses, tw o scarves, and som e other item s (a pair o f shoes, a haik) ; the sum agreed upon as the bridew ealth, negotiated in advance in relation to what the girl’s parents have to buy in the market to dower their daughter (a m attress, a illow, a trunk, as well as the blankets which are the fam ily’s own work and are handed down from m other to daughter), is presented w ithout m uch cerem ony, and w ithout bluff or pretence; as for the w edding-feast expenses, they are m inim ized by arranging for the feast to coincide w ith the A id: the sheep traditionally sacrificed on that o c c a s io n is sufficient for the requirem ents of the w edding, and the guests are more likely to be kept at hom e at that time and present their excuses. Compared with these ordinary marriages, w hich the old peasant morality eulogizes (in contrast to marriages w h ich , like ’’w id ow s’ daughters’ m arriages”, go beyond the socially recognized lim its of each fam ily), extra-ordinary marriages differ in every wav. T o conceive the am bition of seeking a wife at a distance, one has to be predisposed to do so by the habit of keeping up relationships that are out of the ordinary, w hich im plies possession of the skills, especially the linguistic ones, indis­ pensable in such circum stances; one also needs a large capital of very costly distant relationships, w hich are the only source of reliable information and of m ediators necessary to the success of the project. In short, to be able to m obilize this capital at the right m om ent, it is necessary to have invested a lot and for a long tim e. For example, to take only one case, the heads of marabout fam ilies who have been asked to act as mediators are paid back in countless ways: the taleb of the village, or a fortiori the religious figure of higher rank who takes part in the procession of iqafafen, is given new clothes and shoes by the "m aster of the w ed d in g ”, and the gifts he traditionally receives, in cash at the tim e of religious feasts and in provisions at harvest time, are in a sense proportionate to the services rendered ; the A id sheep he is given that year is sim ply com pensation for the " sh a m e” ( ihachem udhmis, he has covered his face with sham e) he has incurred in going to solicit a layman (w ho, whatever his power, does not "hold in h is heart” Koranic know ledge) and consecrating the marriage writh his faith and know ledge. O nce the agreem ent is reached (possibly involving the paym ent of thaj'alts to one or another of the girl’s close relatives), the ceremony of " p led gin g” ( asarus, the laying dowrn of the pledge, thimristh)y which functions as an appropriation rite (a'ayam , nam ing, or a'allam , marking, comparable to that of the first plot of land ploughed; or m ore exactly am lak, appropriation on the same term s as land) is in itself alm ost a w'edding. Presents are brought not only for the bride (w ho receives her " pledge ”, a jew'el of value, and m oney from all the men who see her on that day - tiz r i) , but also for all the other w om en o f the house; the visitors also bring provisions (sem olina, honey, butter) and som e cattle, to be slaughtered and eaten by the gu ests or added to the bride’s capital. T h e men of the amily demonstrate how num erous they are w ith the noise of their rifle volleys, as on the wedding day. A ll the feasts w hich take place betw een this feast and the w edding are opportunities to bring thislith her " sh are” (el haq): great fam ilies at a great istance from each other cannot be content w’ith exchanging a few dishes of couscous; Presents appropriate to the persons they unite are added. T hough granted, that is to g iv e n ”, "appropriated”, and "recalled to m in d ” by the m any " sh ares” she has received, the girl is not yet a cq u ired : a point o f honour is set on allowing her fam ily e time it w ishes to wait and to keep one waiting. T he celebration of the marriage is obviously the high point of the sym bolic confrontation of the two grou p s, and also the m om ent of the greatest expense, T h e glrl s fam ily is sent thaqufats, at least tw o hundred kilos of sem olina, fifty kilos of flour,


T h e objective limits o f objectivism

abundant meat (on the hoof) - w hich the senders know will not all be eaten - honev (twenty litres) and butter (tw enty litres). T h e case was mentioned of a marriage in which the girl’s family was taken a calf and five live and one slaughtered sheep. The delegation of iqafafen consisted, it is true, of forty rifle-bearing m en, together with all the kinsmen and notables exem pted by their age from shooting - fifty men in all. T h e bride’s trousseau w hich may in such cases consist of up to thirty item s, is matched by a similar number of item s given to the various other w om en of the family. And if one often hears it said that betw een great fam ilies there are no chrut (conditions laid dow n by the father for his daughter before he grants her hand), it is because the status of the fam ilies is in itself a guarantee that the "con d ition s” explicitly stated elsewhere will here be surpassed. Although the value of the bridewealth is always subject to strict social supervision, exceptional marriages may ignore the lim its tacitly set by the group. T h e proof may be seen in phrases nowadays used as challenges: " Who do you think you are? T h e woman of fourteen [am arba'tach] ? ” - an allusion to the fourteen reals paid for the most expensively bought w ife w ho became the mistress of the house of the family which was richest and the most endow ed with men. For w om en married around 1900-1910, the same expression speaks of a payment of forty duros, w hich, according to the popular notion of equivalence ("W e got her for ’the equivalent of two pairs of oxen*”, elhaq nasnath natsazwijin) , must have corresponded to the price paid for two pairs of oxen; just before the Second World War, a typical bridewealth was worth around tw o thousand old francs (£20). A prestigious marriage celebrated with great cerem ony in 1936, to w hich virtually all the m en of the tribe were invited (together with a troupe of tbal who performed for three days and nights) cost the organizer in addition to all his liquid assets, the value of one of his best pieces of land (four days’ ploughing for one m an). T o feed his guests he had to slaughter tw o oxen, a calf, and six sheep. In fact the econom ic cost is probably insignificant in comparison with the symbolic cost of imensi. T h e ritual of the cerem ony of presenting the bridewealth is the occasion for a total confrontation betw een the tw o groups, in w hich the econom ic stakes are no more than an index and pretext. T o dem and a large paym ent for one’s daughter, or to pay a large sum to marry off one’s son, is in either case to assert one’s prestige, and thereby to acquire prestige: each side intends to prove its own "worth ”, either by show ing what price men of honour, w ho know how to appreciate it, set on alliance w ith them , or by making a brilliant dem onstration of their estim ation of their ow n value through the price they are prepared to pay in order to have partners worthy of them . By a sort of inverted haggling, disguised under the appearance of ordinary bargaining, the two groups tacitly agree to step up the amount of the payment by successive bids, because they have a com m on interest in raising this indisputable index of the sym bolic value of their products on the matrimonial exchange market. And no feat is more highly praised than the prowess of the bride’s father w ho, after vigorous bargaining has been concluded, solem nly returns a large share of the sum received. T he greater the proportion returned, the greater the honour accruing from it, as itin crow ning the transaction w ith an act of generosity, the intention was to make an exchange of honour out of bargaining which could be so overtly keen only because the pursuit of maximum material profit was masked under the contests of honour and the pursuit of maxim um sym bolic profit.91

T h e m ost distant m arriages are p erfectly u nequ ivocal sin ce, at least until recent tim es, it w as im possible to marry at a d istance for negative reasons, for lack of anyone to marry near at hand. L ik e all close m arriages, p a rallel-co u sin m arriage, the on ly type o f ordinary m arriage to b e p ositively and officially

T h e ordin ary and the extra-ordin ary


marked, often occurs in the poorest lin eages or the poorest lin es o f the dominant lineages (th e clien ts), w h o , in resorting to th is, th e m ost econom ical type of u nion, release the group in the m ost satisfactory wray (if only by avoiding m isalliances) from the obligation to marry off tw o of its particularly disadvantaged m em bers. B ut at the sam e tim e, because it alw ays has the objective effect of rein forcin g the integration of th e m inim al unit and, consequently, its d istin ctiven ess vis-a-vis other u n its, it is likely to b e th e tactic of groups characterized by a strong desire to assert their distinction. T h u s its am biguity p redisposes it to play the role of th e poor m an ’s p restige m arriage: it offers an elegant w ay ou t for all those w h o, like the ruined n oblem an unable to indicate other than sym b olically his refusal to derogate, seek in the affectation o f rigour the m eans o f affirm ing their d istin ctio n , su ch as a lineage cut off from its original group and an xious to m aintain its originality, a fam ily aiming to affirm th e d istin ctive features of its lineage b y g o in g on e better in purism (alm ost alw ays the case w ith on e fam ily in a m arabout co m m u n ity ), a clan seeking to mark its d istin ction from the o p p o sin g clan b y stricter observance of the traditions (like th e A it \la d h i at Ait H ich em ), and so on. Because it can appear as the m ost sacred and, under certain co n d ition s, the most " d istingu ish ed ” m arriage, it is the ch eap est form of extra-ordinary marriage, obviating exp en d itu re on the cerem on y, hazardous negotiations, and a costly b ridew ealth. A nd thu s there is no m ore accom plished w ay of making a virtue of n ecessity and of p u ttin g o n eself in lin e w ith the rule. H ow ever, any particular marriage is m ean ingfu l o n ly in relation to the totality of sim u ltan eou sly p ossib le m arriages (or, m ore con cretely, in relation to the range o f potential p artners); in other w ords, it is situated som ew h ere on a con tinu um ru n nin g from parallel-cousin m arriage to m arriage b etw een members of different trib es, the m ost risky b ut m ost p restigious ty p e, and is therefore necessarily characterized from both stan d p oin ts, by the extent to which it rein forces integration and by th e exten t to w h ich it exp an ds alliances. T h ese tw o typ es o f m arriage represent the p oints of m axim um intensity of the tw o valu es w hich all m arriages seek to m axim ize: on the one hand the integration of the m inim al unit and its secu rity, on th e other hand alliance and prestige, that is, op en in g up to th e ou tsid e w orld, tow ards strangers. T h e ch oice b etw een fission and fusion, the in sid e and the ou tside, security and adventure, is posed anew w ith each m arriage. If it en su res the Maximum of integration for the m inim al group, parallel-cousin m arriage duplicates the relation ship o f filiation w ith a relationship of alliance, sq uan ­ dering by th is redundancy the op p ortu n ity of creating new alliances w hich n^arriage represents. D istant m arriage, on the other hand, sccu res p restigious aHiances at the cost of lineage integration and the bond b etw een brothers, * e foun dation of the agnatic u n it. N ative discou rse repeats th is o b sessively. 3



T he objective lim its o f objectivism

T h e centripetal thrust - exaltation of the in tern al, of secu rity , autarky, the ex cellen ce o f th e b lo o d , agnate solidarity - alw ays calls forth, if o n ly to oppose it, the centrifugal thrust, exaltation of th e p restigiou s alliance. T h e categorical im perative alw ays m asks calcu lation of the m axim u m and the m in im u m , the search for th e m axim u m of alliance com p atib le w ith the m ainten an ce or rein forcem ent o f in tegration b etw een brothers. T h is can be seen from the in form an ts’ syn tax, w h ich is alw ays that of preference: " I t is b etter to protect your p oint o f honou r [nif\ than reveal it to o th e r s.” " I d o n ’t sacrifice adhrum [th e lineage] to aghrum [ w h e a t c a k e ] " T h e in sid e is b etter than the o u tsid e .’1 "F irst m ad n ess [daring, risky ste p ]: to g ive the daughter of 'amm to other m en . S econ d m adness to g o p en n iless to m arket. T h ird m ad n ess: to vie with the lions on th e m oun tain to p s .” T h is last sayin g is the m ost significant, because u n d er the gu ise o f ab solute con d em n a tio n of d istant m arriage, it expressly recogn izes the logic in w h ich it b elon gs, that o f th e ex p lo it, prow ess, prestige. It takes great p restige and w ild audacity to go to m arket w ithout any m oney in ten d in g to b u y th in g s, just as it takes en orm ou s cou rage to take on lion s, th e cou rageous strangers from w h om the foun ders of the villages had to w in back their w iv es, accord in g to m any leg en d s o f origin.

M atrim on ial strategies an d social reproduction T h e characteristics o f a m arriage, and in particular the p o sitio n it occupies at a determ in ate point on the co n tin u u m ru n n in g from p olitical m arriage to parallel-cousin m arriage, d ep en d on th e aim s o f th e co llectiv e strategies o f the grou p s in v o lv ed . M ore p recisely, given that the ob jectives th e m selv es depend very closely on the m eans available, analysis o f the op eration s w'hich have led u p to different typ es of m arriage sen d s u s back to analysis o f the conditions w h ich had to be fulfilled for th em to be p o ssib le, i.e . con ceivab le and realizable. T h e m atrim onial gam e is sim ilar to a card gam e, in w h ich the o u tco m e d ep en d s partly on the deal, the cards held (th eir value itself being defined by th e rules of the gam e, characteristic of the social form ation in q u e stio n ), and partly on the players’ s k ill: that is to say, firstly on the material and sy m b o lic capital p ossessed b y the fam ilies con cern ed , th eir w ealth in in stru m en ts o f production and in m en , con sid ered both as p rod u ctive and reproductive p ow er and also, in a p revious state of play, as figh tin g strength and h en ce sy m b o lic stren gth ; and secon d ly on the co m p eten ce wrhich en ­ ables the strategists to m ake the best u se o f this capital, practical m astery of the

(in the w id est sen se) econ om ic axiom atics b ein g th e precondition

for p rod u ction o f the p ractices regarded as " rea so n a b le” w ith in th e group and p ositively san ction ed b y the laws o f th e m arket in m aterial and sym bolic g ood s.

M atrim on ial strategies an d social reproduction


T h e collective strategy w h ich leads up to a particular " m o v e ” (in the case 0f marriage or in any oth er area of practice) is b u t th e p roduct o f a com b ination 0f the strategies of the in terested parties w h ich ten d s to g iv e their resp ec­ tive interests the w eigh t corresp on d in g to their p ositio n , at the m o m en t in question, w ith in the stru cture of p ow er relations w ith in th e d o m estic u n it. It is a striking fact that m atrim onial n egotiation s are really th e b u sin ess of the whole group, everyon e p layin g h is part at th e appropriate m o m en t, and thu s being able to con trib u te to the su ccess or failure o f the project. First o f all, the women w ith their unofficial and recoverable con tacts m ake it p o ssib le to start semi-official n egotiation s w ith ou t th e risk of a h u m iliatin g rebuff. T h e n the most em in en t m en , th ose m ost representative o f official kinsh ip , a ctin g as guarantors exp ressly m andated by the w ill of their grou p and as ex p licitly authorized sp ok esm en , m ed iate and in terced e, p resen tin g at the sa m e tim e a striking testim on y of th e sym b olic capital p ossessed b y a fam ily capable of m obilizing such p restigiou s m en . F in ally, each grou p in its en tirety enters into the d ecision , passion ately d iscu ssin g th e m atrim onial projects, evaluatin g the reception g iv en to th e d elegates’ p rop osals, and d irectin g th e cou rse w h ich future n egotiations sh ou ld take. T h is m ean s, in cid en tally - for th e benefit of those eth n ologists w h o cou n t th em selves satisfied w'hen th ey have charac­ terized a m arriage in exclu sively gen ealogical term s - that b eh in d th e q u asi­ theatrical im age p u t forw ard b y the official kin at the tim e of the m arriage, the tw o grou p s carry ou t a system atic in vestigation to estab lish co m p lete information on th e variables ch aracterizing not on ly th e co u p le (age, and especially age differen ce, p revious m atrim onial h istory, sib lin g order, th eo re­ tical and practical kin relation to th e fam ily au th ority h old er, e tc .) but also their grou p s. Inform ation is ob tain ed on th e eco n o m ic and social history of the fam ilies about to be allied and o f the larger grou p s to w h ich they b elo n g ; the sym bolic p atrim on y, esp ecially th e capital o f h onou r and m en o f honour which they c o m m a n d ; th e q uality o f th e netw ork o f alliances on w h ich they count, and o f the grou p s to w hich th ey are traditionally o p p o sed ; each fam ily’s p osition in its grou p - a particularly im portant factor b ecau se a display o f p restigiou s k in sm en m ay d isg u ise a d om in ated p osition w ith in an em inent grou p - and th e state o f its relations w ith th e other m em b ers of its group, i.e . the fam ily’s d egree o f integration (u n d ivid ed o w n ersh ip , e t c .) ; the structure o f th e pow er an d authority relations w ith in the d o m estic u n it (and, f° r a fam ily m arrying off a d augh ter, esp ecially th ose am ong th e w o m e n ), etc. In a social form ation oriented tow ards sim p le reprodu ction , i.e . tow ards the biological reprodu ction of the grou p and the p rod uction of su fficien t g o o d s 0r its su b sisten ce and b iological reprodu ction , and, inseparably from this, wards reprodu cing th e structure o f social and id eological relations w ith in which and through w h ich th e a ctivity o f p rod uction is carried on and le g iti­


T h e objective lim its o f objectivism

m ated, th e strategies o f th e different categories of agen ts, w h o se interests w ithin the d om estic u n it m ay be con trad ictory (am on g other o ccasion s, at the tim e o f a m arriage), arise from th e system s of interests ob jectiv ely assigned to them b y the system o f p rin cip les w h ich m ake u p a particular mode 0f reproduction: th ese p rin cip les g overn fertility, filiation , resid en ce, inheritance, and m arriage, and, in c o m b in in g to fulfil th e sam e fu n ctio n - the biological and social reprodu ction o f th e grou p - are ob jectively co n ce rted .92 In an eco n o m y characterized by the relatively equal d istrib u tion of th e m eans of p rod uction (gen erally o w n e d in com m on b y the lineage) and by th e weakness and stability o f th e p rod u ctive forces, w h ich rule out th e p rod uction and accum u lation of su bstan tial su rp lu ses and h en ce the d ev elo p m en t of clearly m arked eco n o m ic d ifferen tiation (alth ou gh it is p ossib le to see in th e levying o f labour in th e " m u tu a l-h elp /c o rv e es” - th iw iz i - a disguised form of the sale of lab ou r-p ow er), th e fa m ily ’s efforts are d irected tow ards th e maintenance and reprodu ction o f th e fam ily, not the p rod u ction of assets. If one insists on seein g thinnzi as a corvee (the better, for exam ple, to force reality into the framework of a realist, reified definition o f m odes of production) one must at least take into account the fact that this corvee is disguised under the appearance of mutual aid. In fact th iw izi mainly profits the richer farmers and also the taleb (whose land is ploughed and sow n co llectiv ely ): the poor have no need o f assistance with the harvest; but th iw izi may also benefit the poor man in the case of the building of a house (the transporting o f stones and beam s). Ostracism is a terrible sanction which is not only sym bolic: ow in g to the lim ited technical resources, m any activities would be im possible w ithout the help of the group (e .g . the building of a house, with the transporting of stones, or the transporting of m ill-w heels, which used to m obilize forty men in non-stop shifts for several days). M oreover, in this econom y of insecurity, a capital of services rendered and gifts bestowed is the best and indeed the only safeguard against the "thousand con tin gen cies’*on w hich, as Marx observes, depends the maintenance or loss of working conditions, from the accident which causes the loss of an animal to the bad weather w hich destroys the crops.

In su ch co n d itio n s an ab un dan ce o f m en w ou ld n o d o u b t be a liab ility if, taking a strictly eco n o m ic view , on e saw in it on ly " a r m s” and therefore " sto m a ch s”. In fact th e political in secu rity w h ich perp etu ates itself b y gen­ erating th e d isp o sitio n s required in order to respond to w ar, brawling, robbery, or ven gean ce ( reqba) w as d ou b tless the basic reason w h y m en were valued as " r ifles” , i.e . not o n ly as a labour force but also as fig h tin g power: the value of the land lies on ly in th e m en w h o cu ltivate and also d efen d itT h e patrim on y of th e lin eage, sym b o lized by its nam e, is d efined not simply by th e p ossession o f th e land and the h ou se, g o o d s w h ich are p reciou s and therefore vu lnerab le, but also by the p ossessio n of th e m ean s of protecting it, i.e . m en ; th is is s o b ecau se the land and th e w o m en are n ever r e d u c e d to th e statu s of sim p le in stru m en ts o f p rod uction or reprodu ction , and stih less to the statu s of co m m o d ities or even " p ro p er ty ”. A ttack s on the lan d ,

M atrim on ial strategies and social reproduction


house, or th e w om en are attacks on their m aster, on h is nif, his very ^ defined by th e g ro u p - h is " p o te n c y ”. A lienated land, u navenged or m urder, are different form s of the sam e offence, w h ich alw ays elicits the same response from the grou p 's p oin t of honour: just as a m urder is " paid back’ i but at a h igher rate, b y striking if p ossib le at the person closest to the murderer or the m ost p rom in en t m em ber in his g ro u p , so a piece of ancestral land, even a not very fertile on e, is " b ou gh t b a ck ” a t a n y price in

order to w ipe ou t the sta n d in g insult to the group's h o n o u r .93 Just as, in the logic of challenge and riposte, th e best land b oth techn ically and sy m b olically is that m ost closely tied to the p atrim ony, so the m an through w hom on e can

most cruelly strike at the grou p is its m ost representative m em ber. The ethos of honour is but the transfigured expression of these econom ic and political facts. A sharp distinction is drawn betw een n if the point of honour, and hurma, the sum total of that w hich is haram, i.e . forbidden, all that goes to make up the vulnerability of the group, its m ost sacred possession (from w hich there follows a distinction betw een the challenge, w hich touches only the point of honour, and sacrilegious outrage).94 Only the punctilious, active vigilance of the point o f honour (n if) can guarantee the integrity of honour (hurma) - w hich, being sacred, is inherently exposed to sacrilegious outrage - and win the consideration and respectability accorded to the man who has sufficient poin t of honour to keep his honour safe from offence.95 Hurma in the sense of the sacred (haram ), nif, and hurma in the sense of respectability, are inseparable. T h e more vulnerable a fam ily, the more n if it m ust possess to defend its sacred values, and the greater the m erit and esteem opinion accords i t ; thus poverty, far from contradicting or prohibiting respectability, makes doubly meritorious the man who, though particularly exposed to outrage, nonetheless manages to w in respect. Conversely, the point of honour has a m eaning and a function only in a man for whom there exist things worthy of b ein g defended. A being devoid of the sacred could dispense with the point of honour because he w ould in a sense be invulnerable. What is haram (i.e. literally, taboo) is essentially the sacred of the left hand, hurma, that ,s* ^ e inside and more precisely the fem ale universe, the world of the secret, the enclosed space of the house, as opposed to the outside, the open world of the public square (thajm afth)f reserved for the m en. T h e sacred of the right hand is essentially the rifles”, that is, the group o f the agnates, the "sons of the paternal u n cle”, all those whose death m ust be avenged by blood and all those who are bound to carry °ut blood vengeance. T h e rifle is the sym bolic em bodim ent o f the nif of the agnatic group, nif defined as that which can be challenged and w hich enables one to take up the challenge. T h u s to the passivity of hurma, fem ale in nature, there is opposed the ^ctive susceptibility of nif, the m ale virtue par excellence. It is ultim ately on nif, its 'physical or sym bolic) fighting capacity, that the defence of the group’s material and symbolic patrimony - the source both o f its potency and of its vulnerability depends.

M en con stitu te a political and sy m b o lic force on w h ich d ep en d the p rotec*,Qn and exp an sion of th e p atrim on y, the d efen ce o f the grou p and its good s against the en croach m en ts of violen ce, and at the sam e tim e the im p osition its dom in ance and th e satisfaction of its in terests. C o n seq u en tly , th e o n ly reat to the pow er of th e grou p , apart from th e sterility of its w o m e n , is the


The objective lim its o f objectivism

fragm en tation of the m aterial and sy m b o lic p atrim on y w h ic h w ould result from quarrels b etw een th e m en . H e n c e th e fertility strategies w h ich aim to p rod u ce as m an y m en as p ossib le as q u ick ly as p o ssib le (th rou gh early m arriage), and th e ed u cative strategies w h ich , in in cu lca tin g an exalted a d h eren ce to th e lineage and to th e v alu es o f h on ou r (th e transfigured exp ression o f the ob jective relation b etw e en th e agen ts an d an extremely vu lnerab le and p erp etu ally threaten ed m aterial and sy m b o lic patrim ony) collaborate to su pp ort th e in tegration of th e lin eage and to divert aggressive ten d e n c ies ou tw ard s: " T h e land is cop p er ( nehas), m e n ’s arm s are silver." T h e very am b ig u ity of th is say in g - nehas also m ean s jealou sy - p o in ts to the p rin cip le of th e con trad iction w h ich th e su ccessio n a l cu sto m en gen d ers in attaching m en to the land. T h e su ccessio n a l stra teg ies, w h ich ob jectively tend to attach as m an y m en as p o ssib le to th e p atrim on y by en su rin g eq u ality of in h eritan ce and b y gu aran teein g the u n ity o f th e patrim ony through the d isin h eritin g o f th e w o m e n , in trod u ce an u n a v o id a b le co n tra d ictio n : n ot only d o th ey threaten to fragm en t th e ancestral lands by p arcelling th em out eq u ally am on g very n u m erou s h eirs, b u t ab o v e all th ey set at the very heart of th e sy stem the p rin cip le of co m p etitio n for p ow er over th e domestic ec o n o m y and p olitics - co m p etitio n an d con flict b etw een father and sons, wrh o m th is m o d e o f pow er tran sm ission c o n d em n s to su b ord in ation so long as the patriarch lives (m an y p arallel-cou sin m arriages are arranged by th e "old m an ” w ith o u t th e fathers b ein g c o n s u lte d ); co m p etitio n and conflict between b rothers or co u sin s w h o , at least w h en th e y in their turn b eco m e fath ers, are d estin ed to find that th eir in terests c o n flic t .96 T h e strategies of agnates are d om in ated b y the an tagon ism b etw een th e sy m b o lic p rofits of p olitical and ec o n o m ic n on -d ivision and th e m aterial profits o f a breakup w h ich are con tin u a lly recalled to m in d b y th e sp irit o f ec o n o m ic ca lcu la tio n . T h e urge to calcu late, repressed in m en , find s m ore overt ex p ressio n in w o m e n , who are stru ctu rally pred isp osed to be less con cern ed w ith the sy m b o lic profits accru in g from political u n ity , and to d ev o te th e m se lv e s m ore readily to strictly ec o n o m ic practices. T h e ideology which makes wom an a principle of division and discord th u s finds an apparent basis in the effects of the division of labour betw een the sexes, w h ic h , as we have seen, predisposes the w om en to be less sensitive to sym bolic profits and freer to pursue material profits.97 L en d in g b etw een w om en is regarded as the antithesis of the exchange of honour; and it is indeed closer to the econom ic :ruth of exchange than the m en ’s dealings. O f th e man w ho, unlike the man of honour anxious not squander his capital of "c r e d it”, too readily seeks loans, especially of m on ey, the matf w ho has so often blanched w ith sham e on asking for a loan that he has a "yellow face . it is said that " his borrowing ( arrtal) is like that of w o m e n ’*. T h e opposition between the two " econom ies is so marked that th e expression err arrtal, also used to e x p r e s s the taking of revenge, means the returning o f a g ift, an exchange, in the m en ’s s p e e c h whereas it m eans "giving back a lo a n ” w hen used by the w om en. Loan c o n d u c t


M atrim on ial strategies an d social reproduction


• 1 * more frequent and more natural am ong the w om en, w ho w ill borrow and certai . . jor any pUrpose; it follow s that the econom ic truth, held back in lend c joser t0 t he surface in fem ale exchanges in w hich there may be specific svvaP £o r r e p a y m e n t (" when m y daughter gives birth ”) and precise calculation of the quantities lent.

In sh o r t, the sym bolic an d politica l in terests attached to th e unity o f land ow n ersh ip , to the exten t of allian ces, to th e m aterial and sy m b o lic p ow er o f the agnatic g r o u p , and to th e valu es o f h on ou r and p restig e w h ich m ake a ^reat h o u se ( akham am oqrane), m ilitate in favour of th e stren g th en in g of corporate b o n d s . C on versely, as is sh o w n b y th e fact that th e breaking u p of joint o w n e r sh ip h as b eco m e m ore and m ore freq u en t w ith the g en eralizin g of m on etary exch an ges and th e spread o f the (corresp o n d in g ) calcu lative spirit, economic in terests (in th e narrow s e n s e ), th o se relatin g to co n su m p tio n , are c o n d u c iv e to the breakup of u n d iv id ed o w n e rsh ip .98 E ven in cases in w h ich a h older of d o m e stic p ow er has lo n g prepared for his su c c e ssio n by th e m anip ulation of in d ivid u al asp iration s, d irectin g each of the b ro th ers tow ards th e " s p e c ia lity ” w h ich su ited h im in the d iv isio n of d om estic labour, com p etition for internal p ow er is alm ost in evitab le, and can be su b lim a ted in to a co m p etitio n of h on ou r on ly at th e co st o f co n tin u o u s control b y th e m en over th e m se lv e s and b y th e g rou p ov er all of th e m . B ut the forces o f coh esion represen ted b y th e n o n -d iv isio n o f th e land and the in tegration of th e fam ily - in stitu tio n s w h ich rein force each other - clash con stantly w ith forces of fission su ch as th e " je a lo u sy ” arou sed by an u nequ al d istrib u tion of powrers or resp o n sib ilities, or th e im b alan ce b etw een resp ective co n trib u tio n s to p rod u ction and co n su m p tio n (" T h e hard -w ork in g m a n s labour has b een eaten u p b y th e m an w h o lean s against th e w a ll ”).99 In general, au th ority over th e d eleg a tio n of w ork, th e con tro l o f exp en d itu re and the m anagem ent of the p atrim on y, or over the fam ily's external relation s (alliances, e tc .) resid es in fact in a sin gle p erso n , w h o th u s appropriates the sy m b o lic

profits wrh ich

accrue from g o in g to m arket, p resen ce at

°lan assem b lies or th e m ore excep tion al g a th erin gs o f tribal n otab les, etc . — n°t to m en tion th e fact that th ese d u ties have the effect of e x e m p tin g tta person w h o assu m es th em from th e ex ig en cie s o f th e daily w ork rou tine.

O bjectively u n ited , for th e w orse if n o t for th e b etter, th e b rothers are o b je c tiv e ly d iv id ed , even in their solid arity. " M y b r o th e r ”, said an informant,

is th e m an wTh o w o u ld d efen d m y h on ou r if m y p o in t o f h onour failed ,

Wh° w ° u ld save m e from d ish o n o u r but p u t m e to sh a m e .” A n oth er in form an t reported an acq u aintance as sa y in g : " M y brother is h e w h o , if I d ie d , cou ld I^arry m y w ife and w ou ld b e praised for i t .” T h e h o m o g e n e ity o f th e m ode

0 Production o f h abitus ( i.e . of th e m aterial co n d itio n s of life , and o f


The objective lim its o f objectivism

ped agogic action) p rod uces a h om ogen ization of d isp o sitio n s and in terests w h ich , far from exclu d in g com p etition , m ay in so m e cases en g en d er it by in clin in g th ose w h o are the product of th e sam e co n d itio n s of production to recogn ize and pursue the sam e g o o d s, w h ose rarity m ay arise en tirely from this com p etitio n . T h e d om estic u n it, a m o n o p o listic grou p ing defined, as W eber said, b y the exclu sive appropriation o f a determ in ate type o f goods (land , nam es, e tc .) is the locus o f a co m p etitio n for th is capital, or rather, for con trol over th is capital, w hich co n tin u o u sly threatens to d estroy the capital b y d estroyin g th e fundam ental con d itio n of its p erp etu ation . T h e relationship b etw een brothers, k eystone o f the fam ily structure, is also its w eakest p oint, w hich a w h ole series o f m echan ism s are d esign ed to su pp ort and stren gth en ,100 startin g w ith parallel-cousin m arriage, the ideolo­ gical resolu tion, som etim es realized in practice, o f the specific contradiction o f this mode o f reproduction. If p arallel-cou sin marriage is a m atter for m e n ,101 con sisten t w ith the m en ’s in terests, that is, the h igher interests of th e lineage, o ften arranged w ith o u t the w om en b ein g in form ed , and against their w ill (w hen th e tw o b rothers’ w iv es are on bad term s, on e not w anting to a d m it the other’s d augh ter to her h ou se and th e other n o t w ish in g to place her daughter under her sister-in -law ’s au th ority), the reason is that it is in tend ed to counteract, p ractically, d ivision b etw een the m en . T h is is taken so m uch for granted that th e father’s ritual advice to h is son (" D o n ’t listen to your w iv es, stay united am ongst y o u r se lv e s!”) is naturally taken to m ean "M arry you r ch ild ren to o n e a n oth er.” E verything takes places as if th is social form ation had had to grant itself officially a p ossib ility rejected as in cestu o u s by m ost so cieties, in order to resolve id eologically the ten sion w h ich is at its very centre. P erhaps the exaltation of m arriage w ith the ben'amm (parallel cou sin ) w ould have been better u nd erstood if it had been realized that ben amm has co m e to designate th e en em y , or at least, the in tim ate en em y , and that en m ity is called thaben'ammts "that of th e ch ildren of the paternal u n c le ”. In fact, the forces o f ideological coh esion are em b od ied in the elder, djedd, w h ose authority based o n the pow er to d isin h erit, on the threat of m aled iction , and above all on adherence to the values sym b olized b y th adjadith, can secu re equilibrium b etw een th e b rothers o n ly by m aintain in g th e strictest eq u ality b etw een them (and their w iv es) both in w ork (th e w o m e n , for exam p le, taking turns to do th e h ousew ork, prepare the m eals, carry w ater, etc .) and in co n su m p tio n . It is no accid en t that crisis so often coin cid es w ith the disappearance of this p ositive coh esive factor, arising w h e n the father d ies leaving adult so n s n on e o f w h om w ield s a clear estab lish ed au th ority (b y virtue o f th e age gap or


other p rin c ip le ). But the extrem ely variable relative strength of the te n d e n c ie s to fu sion or fission d ep en d s fu n d am en tally, at th e level o f the d o m estic u n it

M atrim on ial strategies and social reproduction


m uch as at th e level o f larger u n its like the clan or th e trib e, on the elationship b etw een the grou p and the external u n its: in secu rity provides a negative principle of coh esion capable of m aking up for the d eficien cy of o sitive p rin cip les.102" I hate m y brother, but I hate the m an w h o hates h im .” T h e n eg a tiv e, fo rced solid arity created by a shared vu ln era b ility , w hich is reinforced every tim e th ere is a threat to the jointly ow ned m aterial and svm bolic p atrim ony, rests o n the sam e prin cip le as the d iv isiv e ten d e n c y w hich

it tem p ora rily thw arts, that o f th e rivalry b etw een agnates. S o , from the u n d ivid ed fam ily up to th e largest political units., the co h esio n en d lessly exalted b y the m yth ological and genealogical ideology lasts no lon ger than the pow er r ela tio n s capable o f h o ld in g in dividu al in terests togeth er. H avin g restated the p rin cip les w hich define the system s of in terests of the different ca te g o r ie s of a gen ts in the d om estic pow er relations w h ich result in the d efin itio n o f a co llectiv e m atrim onial strategy, if w e now p o sit that the more th e w orking o f th e sy stem serves the agen ts’ in terests, the m ore they are inclined to serve the w orking of the system , w e are able to u nd erstan d the fundam ental p rin cip les o f th e strategies w h ich are con fron ted o n the occasion of a m a rria g e.103 T h o u g h it is true that marriage is on e of th e principal o p p ortu n ities to con serve, in crease, or (b y m isalliance) d im in ish the capital of au th ority conferred b y stron g integration and th e cap ital of p restige stem m in g from an ex ten siv e netw ork o f affines ( nesba), the fact rem ains that the m em b ers of the d om estic u nit w h o take part in arranging th e marriage do not all id e n tify their o w n interests to the sam e degree w ith th e collective interest o f the lineage. As the products of elaborate strategies, of which more is expected than sim ple biological reproduction, i.e. external or internal alliances intended to reproduce the domestic and political power relations, marriages are a sort of short-term and long-term investment in, am ong other th in gs, the quality of the "maternal u n cles” they procure. It is understandable that they cannot be lightly dissolved, the most long-standing and prestigious relationships naturally being best protected against an ill-considered break. If repudiation becom es inevitable, then all sorts of subterfuges are resorted to so as to prevent the total loss of the capital of alliances. T h e husband’s relatives may go and heg the w ife’s relatives to give her back, attributing the divorce to the youth, recklessness, thoughtless ch oice of w ords, and irresponsibility of a husband too young to appreciate the value of alliances; it is pointed out that he did not pronounce the ormula three tim es, but only once, im petuously, and without w itnesses. T h e divorce ecomes a case of thutchha (the wife w ho lost her temper and w ent home to her relatives); there may even be th e offer of a new w edding (w ith imensiand a trousseau). the repudiation proves to be final, there are several ways of "separating” : the greater the importance and solem nity of the marriage, the more one has " in v ested ” *n, *he more one has therefore an interest in preserving relations w ith those from Whorn one is separating (either out of kinship or neighbourhood solidarity, or out tK Se^ ‘*nterested calculation), and the greater the discretion of the break; return of e bridewealth is not dem anded im m ediately, nor is the return refused (" free”

T h e objective lim its o f objectivism


repudiation - battal - being a grave in su lt); it m ay not even be expected until the woman remarries; not too m uch attention is paid to the precise am ount, and witnesses especially outsiders, are kept away from the divorce settlem ent.

T h e in h eritan ce tradition w h ich exclu d es w om an from th e h eritage, the m yth ic w orld -v iew w h ich accord s her o n ly a lim ited ex iste n c e and never grants her full participation in th e sy m b o lic capital o f her ad o p tiv e lineage, th e sexual d iv isio n of labour w h ich restricts her to d o m estic tasks leaving the representational fu n ctio n s to th e m an - ev ery th in g co m b in es to id en tify the in terests o f th e m en w ith the m aterial and particularly the sy m b o lic interests o f the lin eage ; all th e m ore so , th e greater th e m e n ’s au th ority in th e agnatic grou p . A nd th e typ ically m ascu lin e m arriages - parallel-cou sin and political m arriages - testify u n am b ig u o u sly to the fact that m en s’ in terests are more d irectly id en tified w ith th e official in terests o f th e lin eage, and that their strategies are m ore d irectly d esig n ed to rein force th e d o m estic u n it’s integra­ tion or th e fa m ily ’s n etw ork of alliances, con trib u tin g in b oth cases to the g row th o f the lin ea g e’s sy m b o lic capital. A s for th e w o m e n , it is n o accid en t that th e m arriages for w h ich they are resp on sib le fall in to th e class of ordinary m arriages, or m ore p recisely , that th ey are left resp on sib ility on ly for unrem arkable, u ncerem onial m arriages .104 B ein g exclu d ed from representational k in sh ip , th e y are th row n back on to practical k insh ip and practical u ses of k in sh ip , in v estin g m ore econom ic realism (in th e narrow se n se ) than th e m en in th e search for a partner for their so n s or d a u g h ters .105 M ale and fem ale in terests are m o st likely to d iverge w hen a daughter is to be m arried. N o t only is th e m oth er less sen sitive to th e " fam ily in te r e st” w h ich ten d s to see the d augh ter as an instrument for stren g th en in g th e in tegration o f th e agnatic g ro u p , or as a sort o f sy m b o lic m on ey a llo w in g p restigiou s alliances to be set up w ith other g ro u p s; b ut also, in m arrying her daughter in to her ow n lin eage and in ten sify ­ ing th e ex ch an ges b etw een th e grou p s, sh e ten d s to stren g th en her own p osition in th e d om estic u n it. T h e m arriage o f a son raises for th e m istress o f th e h ou se first and forem ost th e q u estion o f her d om in an ce over the d o m estic eco n o m y . H er in terest is o n ly n egatively adjusted to that o f the lin eage: in taking a d au gh ter from th e fam ily sh e herself cam e from , sh e is fo llo w in g th e path traced b y th e lin eage, and a con flict a m o n g th e w om en resu ltin g from a bad ch o ice w ou ld u ltim ately threaten th e u n ity o f th e agnatic g rou p . T h e in terest o f th e m en , alw ays d o m in an t officially and te n d in g alw ays to b e so in reality, im p oses itself all the m ore fu lly th e stron ger th e integration of th e agn atic grou p and th e m ore nearly equal (at least) th e fa th er’s lineage is to th e m o th er’s in th e social hierarchy. It is n o exaggeration to claim that th e g ro u p ’s w h ole m atrim onial h istory is p resen t in the internal transactions

M a trim on ial strategies an d social reproduction


0ver each in ten d ed m arriage. T h e lin ea g e’s in terest, i.e . the m ale in terest, requires that a m an sh o u ld n ot b e placed in a su b ord in ate p o sitio n in th e fam ily bv b e in g m arried to a girl of m arkedly h igh er statu s (a m an, they say, can raise a w om an , b u t n ot th e o p p o site; y o u give - a d augh ter - to a su perior or an e q u a l, yo u take - a d au gh ter - from an in ferior). It has m ore chance of assertin g itself if th e m an w h o has th e resp on sib ility (at least th e official

responsibility) for th e m arriage has not h im self b een m arried ab ove h is sta tu s. In fact, a w h ole set of m ech an ism s, in clu d in g th e b rid ew ealth and th e w ed d in g exp en ses, w h ich rise in p rop ortion to the p restige o f th e m arriage, tend to ex clu d e alliances b etw een grou p s too u nequ ally m atched in term s of econ om ic and sy m b o lic capital (th e freq u en t cases in w h ich the fam ily o f on e sp ouse is rich in on e form o f capital - e .g . in m en - w hereas th e other p o ssesses rather th e other form of w ealth - e .g . land - are n o ex c ep tio n s to

this): " M en ally w ith their e q u a ls” , th e sa y in g g o es medden

( " tsnassaben (naseb)

widh m'adhalen”).

In short, th e stru cture of ob jective relation s b etw een th e kin w h o m ake th e matrimonial d ecisio n , as m an or w om an or as m em ber o f th is or that lin eage, helps to d efine th e stru ctu re of relation sh ip s b etw een th e lin eages u n ited by the proposed m arriage .106 In fact it w ou ld be m ore accurate to say that the determ inant relation ship , b etw een th e lin eage o f th e person to b e m arried and the lineage offerin g a p ossib le partner, is alw ays m ed iated by th e d o m estic power structure. In d eed , in o rd er to d e scr ib e co m p letely th e m u lti-d im en sio n a l and m u lti-fu n ction al relation ship (irred u cib le to k insh ip ties) b etw een th e tw o groups, it is n ot sufficient to take in to accou n t o n ly th e spatial, eco n o m ic, and social d istan ce b etw een th em at th e m om en t of m arriage in term s of econom ic and sy m b o lic capital (m easured b y th e n u m b er of m en and o f m en of honour, b y th e d egree of in tegration of th e fam ily , e t c .) . W e m u st also take into con sid eration th e state, at that particular tim e, o f th e b alan ce-sh eet of their m aterial and sy m b o lic ex ch an ges, i.e . th e w h o le h istory o f th e official, extra-ordinary ex ch an ges su ch as m arriages b rou ght ab out or at least co n se­ crated b y the m en , and also th e u nofficial, ordinary ex ch a n g es co n tin u o u sly carried o n b y th e w o m en w ith th e co m p lic ity o f th e m en and so m etim es w ithout th eir k n ow led ge, a m ed iation through w h ich th e o b jectiv e relations predisposing tw o grou p s to com e tog eth er are prepared for and realized. Whereas econom ic capital is relatively stable, sym bolic capital is relatively pre­ v i o u s : the death of a prestigious head of the fam ily is som etim es enough to dim inish severely. Fluctuations in the group’s sym bolic fortunes are follow ed by corresponding changes in the w hole im age of itself w hich the group aim s to present, afld in the objectives - alliance or integration - w hich it sets for its marriages. T h u s the space of tw o generations, a great fam ily, w hose econom ic situation was in fact ^•proving, declined from male marriages - marriages w ithin the close kin or extraurt»nary marriages (arranged by m en, outside the usual area, for purposes of alliance)

T he objective limits o f objectivism


- to ordinary marriages, generally set up by the w om en, w ithin their own network of relationships. T h is change in m atrimonial policy coincided w ith the deaths of the two eldest brothers (H ocin e and L aid ), the long absence of the oldest men (w ho had gone to France), and the weakening of the authority o f thamgarth, who had become blind, with real power passing into the hands of Boudjemaa and, intermittently, A thm an. Because it is not clear w ho is to succeed thamgarth, the wom an who imposes order and silence ( ta'a n thamgarth, da susm i"obedience to the old wom an is silen ce’ ) the structure of relations betw een the wives reflects the structure of relations between the husbands, leaving vacant the position o f m istress of the house; in such c ir c u it stances, marriages tend to go tow ards the w om en’s respective lin eages.107

T h e structural ch aracteristics gen ericallv d efin in g the value of a lineage’s prod ucts on th e m atrim onial m arket are ob v io u sly sp ecified by secondary ch aracteristics su ch as the m atrim onial statu s of th e person to be married, h is or her age, se x , etc. T h u s th e gro u p ’s m atrim onial strategies and the type of m arriage w hich m ay result from th em are q uite different d ep en d in g on w heth er the m an to be m arried is a b ach elor " o f th e m arrying a g e ” or has already "p assed the a g e ” , or w h eth er he is an already m arried m an looking for a co-w ife, or a w id ow er or d ivorcee w antin g to rem arry (w ith th e situation ch an gin g further d ep en d in g on w heth er or not he has ch ild ren from his first m arriage). F or a girl the p rin cip les o f variation are th e sam e, w ith the d ifferen ce that the depreciation en tailed by p reviou s m arriages is infinitely greater (becau se of the price p u t on virginity and in sp ite of the fact that a reputation as a " m an w h o repu d iates ” is just as dam agin g as that o f a " woman to be r e p u d ia te d ”). T h is is only one aspect of the dyssvm m etry betw een the situation of the man and the woman before marriage: " T h e m an ”, runs the saying, "is always a man, whatever his state [unlike the wom an, w ho can disqualify herself, and cast herself into shame, . « Class seriality makes the individual (w hoever he is and whatever the class) being who defines him self as a hum anized t h i n g .. .T h e other form of class, that * the group totalizing in a praxis, is born at the heart of the passive form and as Its negation.”12 T h e social w orld, the site of these com prom ises betw een thing and meaning which define "objective m ean in g” as m eaning-m ade-thing and dispositions as meaning-made-body, is a positive challenge to som eone who can only live in the mire transparent universe of consciousness or individual ” praxis”. T h e only lim it this artificialism recognizes to the freedom of the ego is that which freedom sets itself by the free abdication of a pledge or the surrender of bad faith, the Sartrian name for alienation, or the subm ission im posed on it by the alienating freedom of the alter ego in the Hegelian struggles betw een master and slave. S eeing "in social arrangments onlv artificial and more or less arbitrary com b in ation s”, as Durkheim puts it ,13 without a second thought he subordinates the transcendence of the social - reduced to "the reciprocity of constraints and autonom ies ” - to the " transcendence of the ego ”, as the early Sartre used to put i t : " In the course of this action, the individual discovers the dialectic as rational transparency, inasm uch as he produces it, and as absolute necessity inasmuch as it escapes h im , in other w ords, quite sim ply, inasm uch as others produce it; finally, precisely insofar as he recognizes him self in overcom ing his needs, he recognizes the law which others im pose on him in overcom ing their own (recognizes it: this does not mean that he subm its to it), he recognizes his ow n autonom y (inasmuch as it can be used by another and daily is, bluffs, m anoeuvres, e tc .) as a foreign power and the autonom y of others as the inexorable law which allows him to coerce th em .”1,1 T h e transcendence of the social can only be the effect of recurrence, that is to say, in the last analysis, o f number (hence the importance accorded to the " series”), or of the "m aterialization of recurrence” in cultural objects;15 alienation consists in the free abdication of freedom in favour of the demands of "worked upon m atter” : "the 19th century worker makes himself w hat he is, that is, he practically and rationally determ ines the order o f his expenditure hence he decides in his free praxis - and by his freedom he makes him self what he was, what he is, what he m ust be: a m achine w hose wages represent no more than its running c o s t s .. . C lass-being as practico-inert being com es to men by m en through the passive syntheses of worked upon m atter.”16 Elsewhere, affirmation o f the " logical ” primacy of "individual praxis”, constituent R eason, over history, constituted Reason, leads Sartre to pose the problem of the genesis of society in the same terms as those employed by the theoreticians of the social contract: "H istory determ ines the content ° f human relationships in its totality and these relationships. . .relate back to every­ thing. But it is not H istory w hich causes there to be human relationships in general, t is not the problem s of organization and division of labour that have caused relations to be set up betw een those initially separate objects, m en .”17 Just as for D escartes creation is con tin u ou s”, as Jean Wahl puts it, "because tim e is n o t” and because extended substance does not contain w ithin itself the power to subsist - God being ^vested w ith the ever-renewed task of recreating the world ex nihilo by a free decree 0 his w i l l - s o the typically Cartesian refusal of the viscous opacity of "objective potentialities” and objective m eaning leads Sartre to entrust to the absolute initiative c mdividual or collective "historical a g en ts”, such as the Party, the hypostasis of the subiect’ t^Le indefinite task of tearing the social w hole, or the class, out of e inertia of the " practico-inert ”. At the end o f his im m ense imaginary novel of the eath and resurrection of freedom , with its tw ofold m ovem ent, the "externalization


Structures an d the habitus

of internality”, w hich leads from freedom to alienation, from consciousness to the materialization of consciousness, or, as the title puts it, "from praxis to the practicoin ert”, and the “ internalization of externality” w hich, by the abrupt shortcuts of the awakening of consciousness and the " fusion of consciousnesses ”, leads "from the group to h istory”, from th e reified state of the alienated group to the authentic existence of the historical agent, consciousness and thing are as irremediably separate as they were at the outset, w ithout anything resem bling an institution or a socially constituted agent ever having been observed or constructed. T h e appearances of a dialectical discourse (or the dialectical appearances of the discourse) cannot mask the endless oscillation betw een the in-itself and the for-itself, or in the new language, between materiality and praxis, betw een the inertia of the group reduced to its " essen ce”, i.e. to its outlived past and its necessity (abandoned to sociologists) and the continuous creation of the free collective project, seen as a series of acts of com m itm ent indispen­ sable for saving the group from annihilation in pure m ateriality.18

It is, o f cou rse, never ruled ou t that the resp onses o f the h abitus m ay be accom pan ied b y a strategic calculation ten d in g to carry on quasi-consciously th e operation th e habitus carries on in a q u ite d ifferen t w ay, nam ely an estim ation o f ch an ces w h ich assu m es the transform ation o f the past effect into the exp ected o b jectiv e. But the fact rem ains that these resp on ses are defined first in relation to a system o f ob jective p oten tialities, im m ed ia tely inscribed in the presen t, th in g s to d o or not to d o , to say or not to say, in relation to a forthcom ing reality w hich - in contrast to th e future co n ceiv ed as " absolute p o ssib ility ” ( absolute M oglich keit), in H e g e l’s sen se, projected by the pure project o f a " n egative fr e e d o m ” - p u ts itself forw ard w ith an u rg en cy and a claim to existen ce exclu d in g all d elib eration . T o elim in a te the n eed to resort to ‘'r u le s” , it w o u ld b e necessary to estab lish in each case a com plete d escrip tion (w h ich invocation o f rules allow s one to d isp en se w ith ) of the relation b etw een th e h abitus, as a socially con stitu ted sy stem of co g n itiv e and m otivatin g stru ctu res, and th e socially stru ctured situ a tio n in w h ich the a g en ts’ interests are d efin ed , and w ith th em the o b jectiv e fu n ctio n s and su bjective m otivation s o f their p ractices. It w ould th en b ecom e clear that, as W eber in d ica ted , the juridical or custom ary rule is never m ore than a secondary p rin ciple o f the d eterm in ation of p ractices, in terv en in g w hen the prim ary p rin cip le, in terest, fa ils .19 S ym b o lic - that is, conventional and conditional - stim u la tio n s, w h ich act on ly on co n d itio n th ey en cou n ter agen ts co n d itio n ed to perceive th em , tend to im pose th e m se lv e s u n con d ition ally and n ecessarily w h en in cu lcation of the arbitrary ab olish es the arbitrariness of b oth the in cu lca tio n and th e sign ifica­ tio n s in cu lcated . T h e w orld of u rgen cies and of goals already ach ieved , of u ses to b e m ade and path s to be taken, o f ob jects en d o w e d w ith a "permanent teleological ch a ra cter”, in H u sse rl’s phrase, tools, in stru m en ts and institu* tion s, the w orld o f practicality, can grant on ly a co n d itio n a l freedom - liberet si liceret - rather like that of the m agnetic n eed le w h ich L eib n iz im agined

A false dilem m a: mechanism an d finalism


tid ily en joyed tu rn in g northw ards. If one regularly o b serves a very close

rrelation betw een the scien tifically co n stru cted objective probabilities (e .g . the chances of access to a particular g o o d ) and subjective aspirations (" m o tiv a ­ tions” or " n e e d s”) or, in other term s, b etw een the a posteriori or ex post

probability know n from past exp erien ce and the a p rio ri ox ex ante probability attributed to it, this is not becau se agen ts co n sc io u sly adjust their aspirations t0 an exact evaluation o f their ch an ces o f su c c e ss, like a player regulating his bets as a function of perfect inform ation as to h is ch an ces o f w in n in g, as one im plicitly p resup poses w h en ever, forgettin g th e "every th in g takes place as if”, one proceeds as if gam e theory or the calcu lation of p rob abilities, each

constructed against sp on tan eou s d isp o sitio n s, am ou n ted to anthropological descriptions of practice. C om pletely reversin g the ten d en cy of ob jectiv ism , w'e can, on th e contrary,

seek in th e scien tific theory of p rob abilities (or strategies) not an an th rop olo­ gical m odel of practice, but the elem en ts o f a negative description o f the im p licit logic of th e spontaneous interpretation o f statistics (e .g . the p rosp en sity to p rivilege early exp erien ces) w h ich th e scien tific theory necessarily con tain s becau se it is explicitly con stru cted against that log ic. U n lik e th e estim a tio n o f p rob abili­ ties w hich scien ce con stru cts m eth od ically on th e basis of con trolled ex p eri­ ments from data estab lish ed according to precise rules, practical evaluation of the lik elihood o f the su ccess o f a given action in a g iv en situ ation brings into play a w'hole b ody of w isd om , sayin g s, com m o n p la ces, ethical p recepts ("that’s not for th e likes of u s ”) and, at a d eep er lev el, the u n co n scio u s principles of the ethos w h ich , b ein g the p rod u ct of a learn ing p rocess d o m i­ nated by a d eterm inate typ e of ob jective regularities, d eterm in es" rea so n a b le ” and ''u n reason ab le” con d u ct for every agen t su b jected to th o se regu larities .20 "We are n o soon er acquainted w ith the im p o ssib ility o f sa tisfy in g any d esire ”, says H u m e in A T reatise o f H um an N a tu re, " th an the d esire itself v a n ish e s.” And Marx in the Economic and Philosophical M anuscripts: " If I have n o m oney for travel, I have no need, i.e . no real and self-realizin g n eed , to travel. If I have a vocation to stu d y , b u t n o m on ey for it, I have no vocation to study, i.e . no real, true v o ca tio n .” Because th e d isp o sitio n s durably in cu lcated b y ob jective co n d itio n s (w h ich science ap preh en ds through statistical regularities as the p rob abilities ob jec­

tively attached to a grou p or class) en gen d er asp iration s and practices ob jec­ tively com p atib le w ith th ose ob jective req u irem en ts, the m ost im probable practices are ex clu d ed , eith er totally w ith o u t exam in a tio n , as unthinkable, or at the co st o f the double negation w hich in clin e s agen ts to m ake a virtu e of necessity, that is, to refuse wrhat is an yw ay refu sed and to love th e in evitab le. T h e very co n d ition s of p rod uction o f the e th o s, necessity m ade into a virtu e, ^ e su ch that the ex p ectation s to w hich it g ives rise ten d to ignore the


Structures and the habitus

restriction to w h ich the valid ity of any calcu lu s o f p ro b a b ilities is sub­ ordinated, n am ely that the co n d ition s o f th e ex p erim en ts sh o u ld not have b een m od ified . U n lik e scien tific estim ation s, w h ich are corrected after each exp erim en t in accordance w ith rigorous rules o f ca lcu lation , practical esti­ m ates g iv e d isp rop ortion ate w eigh t to early e x p e r ie n c e s: th e stru ctu res charac­ teristic of a d eterm in ate ty p e of co n d ition s o f ex iste n c e, through the eco n o m ic and social n ecessity w h ich th ey b rin g to bear on th e relatively a u to n om ou s u n iverse o f fam ily relation ship s, or m ore p recisely , through the m ediation of th e specifically fam ilial m an ifestation s of th is external necessity (sexual d iv isio n of labour, d om estic m orality, cares, strife, ta stes, etc.), p rod uce the stru ctu res of the h abitus w h ich b ecom e in turn th e basis of p erception and ap preciation of all su b seq u en t ex p erien ce. T h u s , as a result o f th e hysteresis effect necessarily im plied in the logic o f th e co n stitu tio n of habitus, p ractices are alw ays liable to incur n egative san ction s w h en the en viron m en t w ith w h ich th e y are actually con fron ted is to o distant from that to w hich they are ob jectively fitted . T h is is w h y g en eration con flicts oppose not age-classes separated by natural p rop erties, but h ab itu s w h ich have been p roduced by d ifferen t modes o f generation, that is, b y co n d itio n s of existence w h ich , in im p o sin g different d efin ition s of th e im p o ssib le, the p o ssib le, and the probable, cau se on e grou p to exp erien ce as natural or reasonable practices or aspirations w h ich another grou p finds unthin k able or scand alous, and vice versa. Structures, habitus an d practices T h e habitus, th e durably installed gen erative p rin cip le o f regulated im provi­ sation s, p rod u ces practices w h ich ten d to reproduce th e regularities im m anent in the ob jective co n d ition s of the p rod u ction o f their gen era tiv e principle, w h ile ad justing to the d em and s inscribed as ob jectiv e p oten tialities in the situ ation , as d efined b y the cogn itive and m otivatin g stru ctu res m aking up the h ab itu s. It fo llo w s that these practices can n ot b e d irectly d ed u ced either from the ob jective con d itio n s, defined as the in stan tan eou s su m o f th e stim uli w h ich m ay appear to have d irectly triggered th em , or from th e con d itions w h ich p rod u ced the durable p rin cip le of their p ro d u ctio n . T h e se practices can b e accou n ted for on ly b y relatin g the ob jective structure d efin in g the social co n d ition s of th e p rod u ction of the h abitus w h ich en g en d ered th e m to the co n d ition s in w h ich th is h ab itu s is op eratin g, that is, to th e conjuncture w hich, short o f a radical transform ation, represents a particular sta te o f th is structure. In practice, it is th e habitus, h istory turned into n atu re, i.e . d en ied as such, w hich acco m p lish es practically th e relating o f th ese tw o sy stem s o f relations, in and th rou gh th e p rod u ction o f practice. T h e " u n c o n s c io u s ” is never an yth ing other than the forgettin g of h istory w h ich h isto ry itself p rod uces by

Structures , habitus an d practices


. corporating th e ob jective stru ctures it p rod u ces in the seco n d natures of habitus: " . • • in each o f u s, in varying prop ortions, there is part of y esterd a y ’s man; it IS yesterd ay’s m an w h o in evitab ly p red om in ates in u s, sin ce the resent a m ou n ts to little com pared w ith th e lo n g past in the course o f w hich we were form ed and from w hich w e resu lt. Y et w e d o n ot sen se this m an of the p ast, b ecause he is inveterate in u s; he m akes u p th e u n c o n scio u s part 0f ourselves. C on seq u en tly w e are led to take no accou n t of h im , any m ore than w e take accou n t o f his legitim ate d em an d s. C on versely , w e are very m uch aware of th e m ost recent attain m en ts of civilization , b ecau se, b ein g recent, they have n ot yet had tim e to settle in to our u n c o n sc io u s .”21 G enesis am nesia is also en cou raged (if n ot en tailed ) b y th e ob jectivist apprehension w h ich , graspin g the p rod uct of h istory as an opus operatum , a fa it accom pli, can on ly invoke the m ysteries of p re-esta b lish ed harm ony or the prodigies of co n scio u s orchestration to acco u n t for w h at, apprehended in pure sy n ch ron y, appears as ob jective m ean in g, w h eth er it be the internal coherence o f w orks or in stitu tion s su ch as m yth s, rites, or b o d ies of law , or the objective co-ordin ation w h ich th e con cordan t or co n flictin g p ractices of the m em bers o f the sam e grou p or class at on ce m anifest and p resup pose (inasmuch as they im p ly a com m u n ity o f d isp o sitio n s). Each agen t, w ittin g ly or u n w ittin gly, w illy n illy , is a p roducer and repro­ ducer of ob jective m ean in g. Because h is action s and w orks are the p rod uct of a modus operandi of w h ich he is not th e p rod ucer an d has n o co n scio u s mastery, th ey contain an " ob jective in ten tion ”, as th e S ch o la stics put it, w h ich always o u tru n s his co n scio u s in ten tio n s. T h e sch em es o f th o u g h t and expression he has acquired are the basis for th e intentionless invention of regulated im p rovisation . E n d lessly overtaken by h is o w n w ord s, w ith w h ich he m aintains a relation of "carry and b e ca r ried ”, as N ico la i H artm ann put it, the v irtu oso finds in the opus operatum n ew triggers and new su p p orts for the modus operandi from w h ich th ey arise, so that h is d iscou rse co n tin u o u sly feeds off itse lf like a train b rin gin g alon g its ow n ra ils .22 If w itticism s surprise their author no less than their au d ien ce, and im p ress as m uch b y their retrospective n ecessity as b y their n ov elty , the reason is that the trouvaille appears as the sim p le u nearthin g, at o n ce accid en tal and irresistib le, of a buried p o ssib ility . It is b ecau se su bjects d o not, strictly sp eak ing, know w hat they are d o in g that w hat th ey d o has m ore m ean in g than th ey know . T h e habitus is th e u n iversalizin g m ediation w h ich cau ses an in dividu al a g en t’s practices, w ith ou t eith er ex p licit reason or sig n ify in g in ten t, to be none the less " s e n s ib le ” and " r ea so n a b le”. T h a t part o f practices w h ich rem ains °bscure in th e ey es of their ow n producers is th e aspect b y w h ich th ey are objectively adjusted to other p ractices and to th e stru ctures o f w h ich the Principle o f their p rod u ction is itself th e p rod u ct .23


Structures and the habitus O n e of th e fun dam en tal effects of the orchestration o f h abitus is the

p ro d u ction o f a com m o n sen se w orld en d ow ed w ith th e o bjectivity secu red by co n se n su s on th e m ean in g (sens) of practices and th e w o rld , in other words th e h arm onization o f ag en ts’ exp erien ces and th e co n tin u o u s reinforcem ent that each o f th em receives from th e exp ression , in dividu al or co llectiv e (in festivals, for exa m p le), im p rovised or program m ed (co m m o n p la ces, sayings), of sim ilar or id en tical ex p erien ces. T h e h o m o g e n e ity o f h ab itu s is w hat w ith in th e lim its of th e grou p of agen ts p ossessin g th e sch em es (o f production and in terp retation ) im p lied in their p rod uction - cau ses practices and works to b e im m ed iately in telligib le and foreseeable, and h en ce taken for granted. T h is practical com p reh en sion ob viates th e " in te n tio n ” and "intentional transfer in to th e O th e r ” dear to th e p h en om en o lo g ists, b y d isp en sin g , for th e ordinary occasion s of life, w ith close an alysis o f th e n uan ces o f another’s practice and tacit or ex p licit in q u iry (" W hat d o you mean ? ”) in to h is inten­ tio n s. A u tom atic and im person al, significant w ith o u t in ten d in g to signify, ordinary practices lend th em selv es to an u n d ersta n d in g no less au tom atic and im p e rso n a l: th e p ick in g u p of th e ob jective in ten tio n th e y exp ress in no way im plies " r ea ctiv a tio n ” of th e " liv e d ” in ten tion of th e agent w h o performs th e m .24 " C om m u n ica tio n of c o n sc io u sn e sse s” p resu p p o ses co m m u n ity of " u n c o n sc io u se s” (i.e . o f lin gu istic and cultural co m p eten ce s). T h e d eciph er­ in g of th e ob jective in ten tion of practices and w orks has n o th in g to d o with th e " r ep ro d u c tio n ” ( N achbildung, as th e early D iith e y p u ts it) o f lived ex p erien ces and the reco n stitu tio n , unnecessary'and u ncertain , o f th e personal sin gu larities of an " in te n tio n ” w h ich is not their true origin. T h e ob jective h o m o g en izin g of group or class h abitus w h ich resu lts from th e h o m o g en eity of th e co n d itio n s o f existen ce is w hat en ab les practices to be o b jectively h arm onized w ith o u t any in ten tion al calcu lation or conscious reference to a norm and m utually adjusted in the absence o f a n y d irect interaction or, a fortiori, ex p lic it c o -o r d in a tio n ." Im agine ”, L e ib n iz su g g ests, " tw o clocks or w atches in p erfect agreem en t as to the tim e. T h is m ay occur in o n e of three w ays. T h e first co n sists in m utual in flu e n c e; th e seco n d is to a p p o in t a skilful w orkm an to correct th em and syn ch ron ize th e m at all tim es; th e third is to con stru ct th ese clock s w ith su ch art and p recision that on e can b e assured o f their su b se q u en t a g reem en t .”25 S o lon g as, retaining o n ly th e first or at a p in ch the seco n d h y p o th esis, on e ignores th e tru e p rin cip le o f th e conductorless orchestration w h ich g iv e s regularity, u n ity , and sy stem a ticity to the p ractices of a grou p or class, and th is even in th e ab sen ce o f any sp on tan eou s or extern ally im p osed organ ization of in dividual projects, on e is con d em ned to th e naive artificialism w h ich recogn izes no other p rin cip le u n ify in g a group s or class’s ordinary or extraordinary action than th e co n scio u s co-ordination of a co n sp ira c y .26 If th e p ractices o f the m em b ers o f th e sam e grou p or class

Structures , habitus an d practices


are m ore and b etter h arm onized than th e agen ts know or w ish , it is becau se,

Leibniz puts it, " fo llo w in g on ly [his] ow n la w s”, each " n o n e th e less agrees % vith the o th e r ”.27 T h e h ab itu s is p recisely th is im m an en t law , lex in sita, laid j 0wn in each agent by h is earliest u p b rin gin g, w hich is th e p recon d ition not onlv for the co-ord in ation of p ractices b u t also for practices o f co-ord in ation , «ince th e correction s and ad ju stm en ts the agen ts th em selv es co n scio u sly carry out presuppose their m astery o f a co m m o n code and sin ce u nd ertak ings o f collective m ob ilization cannot su cceed w ith o u t a m in im u m o f con cordan ce between the h ab itu s o f th e m o b ilizin g agen ts (e .g . p rop h et, party leader, e tc .) and the d isp o sitio n s o f th o se w h o se aspirations and w o rld -v iew th ey exp ress. So it is becau se th ey are th e p rod u ct o f d isp o sitio n s w h ich , b ein g th e internalization o f th e sam e ob jective stru ctu res, are ob jectiv ely con certed that (he practices of the m em b ers o f th e sam e grou p or, in a differen tiated so c iety , the sam e class are en d ow ed w ith an ob jective m ean in g that is at on ce unitary

and system atic, tran scen d in g su b jective in ten tion s and co n sc io u s projects whether in d ivid u al or c o lle c tiv e .28 T o d escrib e th e p rocess o f ob jectification

and orchestration in th e lan guage o f interaction and m utual a d ju stm ent is to forget that the in teraction itself ow es its form to th e o b jectiv e stru ctures which have p rod uced th e d isp o sitio n s of th e in teracting agen ts and w h ich allot them their relative p o sitio n s in the in teraction and elsew h ere. E very co n fro n ­ tation b etw een agen ts in fact b rin gs togeth er, in an interaction d efined by the objective structure of th e relation b etw een th e groups th e y b elo n g to ( e .g . a boss g iv in g orders to a su b ord in ate, colleagu es d iscu ssin g th eir p u p ils, academics taking part in a sy m p o siu m ), system s of d isp o sitio n s (carried by 'natural p e r so n s”) su ch as a lin g u istic com p eten ce and a cultural co m p eten ce and, through th ese h ab itu s, all th e ob jective stru ctures o f w h ich they are the product, stru ctures w h ich are active on ly w hen em bodied in a co m p eten ce acquired in th e cou rse of a particular h istory (w ith th e d ifferen t ty p es of

bilingualism or p ron u n ciation , for exam p le, stem m in g from d ifferen t m o d es of a cq u isition ).29 T h u s, w h en w e speak o f class h abitus, w e are in sistin g , against all form s of the occasion alist illu sion w h ich co n sists in d irectly relating p ractices to properties in scrib ed in th e situ ation , that " in terp erso n a l” relations are never, except in appearance, in d ividu al-to-in dividu al relation ship s and that th e truth °f the in teraction is never en tirely con tain ed in the in teraction . T h is is w hat social p sy ch o lo g y and in teraction ism or eth n o m eth o d o lo g y forget w h en , reducing the ob jective stru cture of th e relation ship b etw een th e assem b led tfidividuals to the con jun ctural stru cture of their in teraction in a particular situation and grou p , they seek to explain everyth in g that occu rs in an ex p eri­ m ental or ob served in teraction in term s of the exp erim en tally con trolled characteristics o f the situ ation , su ch as the relative spatial p o sitio n s o f the


Structures an d the habitus

participants or th e nature o f th e ch an n els u sed . In fact it is th eir p resen t and past p ositio n s in th e social stru ctu re that b iological in d ivid u als carry with th em , at all tim es and in all p laces, in th e form o f d isp o sitio n s w h ich are so m any m arks o f social position and h en ce o f th e social d istance b etw een objective p o sitio n s, that is, b etw een social p erson s con jun cturally b rou ght together (in p hysical sp ace, w h ich is not th e sam e th in g as social sp a ce) and correlativelv, so m any rem in d ers o f th is d istan ce and of th e co n d u ct required in order to " k eep o n e ’s d ista n c e ” or to m an ip u late it strategically, w h eth er sym bolically or actually, to reduce it (easier for th e d om in a n t than for th e d om in ated ), increase it, or sim p ly m aintain if (b y n ot " lettin g o n ese lf g o ”, n ot "becom ing fa m ilia r”, in sh ort, " stan d in g on o n e ’s d ig n ity ”, or on th e other hand, refusin g to " take lib erties ” and " p u t o n ese lf forw ard ”, in s h o r t" k n o w in g o n es p la c e ” and stayin g th ere). E ven th o se form s o f in teraction seem in g ly m o st am en able to description in term s of " in ten tion al transfer in to th e O th e r ”, su ch as sy m p a th y , friend­ sh ip , or lo v e , are d om in ated (as class h om ogam y a tte s ts ), through th e harm ony o f h abitus, that is to say, m ore p recisely, th e h arm on y o f eth o s and tastes - d ou b tless sen sed in th e im p ercep tib le cu es of b o d y hexis - b y th e objective stru cture of th e relation s b etw e en social co n d itio n s. T h e illu sio n o f mutual election or p red estin ation arises from ignorance o f th e social co n d itio n s for th e h arm ony of aesth etic tastes or eth ical lean in g s, w hich is th ereb y perceived as ev id en ce o f th e ineffable affinities w h ich sp rin g from it. In sh ort, th e h abitus, th e p rod u ct of h istory, p rod u ces in d ivid u al and co llectiv e practices, and h en ce h istory, in accord ance w ith th e schem es en gen d ered b y h istory. T h e sy stem o f d isp o sitio n s - a past w h ich survives in th e p resen t and ten d s to p erp etu ate itself in to th e future b y m akin g itself p resen t in p ractices stru ctured accord in g to its p rin cip les, an internal law relayin g th e co n tin u o u s exercise of th e law of external n ecessities (irreducible to im m ed iate con jun ctural con strain ts) - is th e p rin cip le o f th e co n tin u ity and regularity w h ich o b jectivism d iscern s in th e social w orld w ith o u t b ein g able to g iv e th em a rational b asis. A n d it is at th e sam e tim e the p rin cip le o f the tran sform ation s and regulated revolu tion s w h ich n either th e extrin sic and in stan tan eou s d eterm in ism s o f a m ech an istic so cio lo g ism nor th e purely internal b u t eq u ally p u n ctu al d eterm in ation o f volu ntarist or spontaneist su b jectiv ism are cap ab le of a ccou n tin g for. It is just as true and just as u n tru e to say that co llectiv e actio n s produce th e even t or that th ey are its p rod u ct. T h e con ju n ctu re cap ab le o f transform ­ in g practices ob jectively co-ordin ated b ecau se su b ord in ated to partially or w h olly id en tical ob jective n ecessities, in to collective action ( e .g . revolutionary action ) is co n stitu ted in th e d ialectical relation ship b etw een , on the on e hand, a habitus, u n d erstood as a sy stem of lastin g, transposable d isp o sitio n s w h ich .

Structures , habitus an d practices


tegrating past ex p erien ces, fu n ctio n s at every m o m en t as a m atrix o f percep*n its ap p rec^ ons* an(* a c*i°ns an^ rnakes p ossib le th e a ch iev em en t o f infini11 diversified tasks, thanks to analogical transfers o f sc h e m e s p erm ittin g the olution of sim ilarly sh aped p ro b lem s, and thanks to the u n cea sin g correction s of the results ob tain ed , d ialectically p rod u ced by th ose resu lts, and on th e other hand, an objective even t w h ich exerts its action of co n d itio n a l stim u lation calling for or d em a n d in g a d eterm in ate resp on se, on ly on th o se w h o are disposed to con stitu te it as su ch b ecau se th e y are en d ow ed w ith a d eterm in ate type o f d isp osition s (w h ich are am en able to red u p lication and rein forcem en t by the ’'aw akening of class c o n sc io u sn e ss” , that is, b y th e d irect or in direct possession of a d iscou rse cap ab le o f secu rin g sy m b o lic m astery o f th e practi­ cally m astered p rin cip les o f th e class h a b itu s). W ith ou t ever b ein g totally co-ordinated, since they are th e p rod uct o f "causal s e r ie s ” characterized by different structural d uration s, th e d isp o sitio n s and th e situ a tio n s w h ich com bine syn ch ron ically to co n stitu te a d eterm in ate co n ju n ctu re are n ever whollv in d ep en d en t, sin ce th ey are en gen d ered by th e o b jectiv e stru ctures, that is, in th e last an alysis, b y th e eco n o m ic bases o f th e social form ation in question. T h e h ysteresis o f h ab itu s, w h ich is in h eren t in th e social co n d itio n s of the reproduction of th e stru ctures in h ab itu s, is d o u b tless on e of the foundations of th e structural lag b etw een op p ortu n ities and th e d isp o sitio n s to grasp them w h ich is th e cau se of m issed op p ortu n ities and, in particular, of the frequ en tly ob served in cap acity to thin k historical crises in categories of perception and th o u g h t oth er than th o se o f th e p ast, a lb eit a revolu tionary past. If one ignores th e dialectical relation ship b etw een the o b jectiv e stru ctures and the cogn itive and m otivatin g stru ctu res w h ich th ey p rod u ce and w h ich tend to reproduce th em , if o n e forgets that th ese ob jectiv e stru ctures are them selves products o f historical practices and are co n sta n tly reprodu ced and transformed by h istorical practices w h o se p rod u ctive p rin cip le is itself the product o f the stru ctures w h ich it co n seq u en tly ten d s to rep rod u ce, then on e is condem ned to redu ce th e relation sh ip b etw een th e d ifferen t social agen cies ( instances), treated as " d ifferen t tran slation s o f th e sam e s e n te n c e ” - i n a Spinozist m etaphor w h ich con tain s th e truth of th e o b jectiv ist lan guage of articulation ” - to th e logical form ula en a b lin g any on e o f th e m to b e derived from any other. T h e u n ify in g p rin cip le o f practices in d ifferen t d o m a in s w h ich objectivist


w ou ld



separate " s u b -s y s te m s ”, su ch


P atrim onial strategies, fertility strategies, or eco n o m ic ch o ic es, is n o th in g other than the h ab itu s, th e lo cu s o f practical realization o f th e " a r ticu la tio n ” ° f fields w hich ob jectivism (from Parsons to th e stru cturalist readers of M arx) lavs out side b y sid e w ith o u t secu rin g th e m ean s o f d isco v erin g the real Principle o f the structural h om o lo g ies or relations of transform ation o b ject­

Structures an d the habitus


iv ely estab lish ed b etw een th e m (w h ich is n ot to d en y that th e structures are o b jectiv ities irred u cib le to th eir m an ifestation in th e h a b itu s w h ich they p rod u ce and w h ich ten d to rep rod u ce th e m ). S o lo n g as o n e accepts the ca n on ic o p p o sitio n w h ich , en d lessly reappearing in n ew form s through out the h istory o f social th o u g h t, n ow ad ays p its "h u m a n is t” a g a in st" str u c tu r a list readings o f M arx, to declare diam etrical o p p o sitio n to su b jectivism is n ot g en u in e ly to break w ith it, b u t to fall in to th e fetish ism of social laws t0 w h ich ob jectivism co n sig n s itself w h e n in esta b lish in g b etw e en structure and p ractice th e relation o f th e virtual to the actual, of th e sco re to th e performance of essen ce to ex iste n c e, it m erely su b stitu tes for th e creative m an of subjects vism a m an su bjugated to th e dead law s of a natural h istory. A n d h ow could o n e u n d erestim a te th e stren gth o f th e id eological cou p le su bjectivism /objec­ tiv ism w h en o n e sees that th e critiq ue of th e in d ivid u a l co n sid ered as ens realissimum on ly leads to h is b ein g m ade an ep ip h e n o m en o n of hypostatized stru ctu re, and that the w ell-fo u n d ed assertion o f th e p rim acy of objective relation s resu lts in p ro d u cts o f h um an action , th e stru ctu res, b ein g credited w ith th e p ow er to d ev elo p in accord ance w ith their o w n law s and to determine an d o v erd eterm in e other stru ctu res?


Ju st as th e o p p o sitio n o f lan gu age to sp eech as m ere ex e cu tio n or even as a p recon stru cted o b ject m asks th e op p osition b etw een th e o b jectiv e relations o f th e lan guage and th e d isp o sitio n s m aking up lin g u istic co m p eten ce , so th e o p p o sitio n b etw e en th e stru ctu re and the in d iv id u a l again st w h om the stru ctu re has to be w o n and en d lessly rew’on stand s in th e w ay o f construction of th e dialectical relation sh ip b etw een the stru cture and th e dispositions m aking u p th e h abitus. If the debate on the relationship between " cu ltu re” and " p erson ality” which dom inated a w hole era of Am erican anthropology now seem s so artificial and sterile, it is because, am idst a host o f logical and epistem ological fallacies, it was organized around the relation betw een tw o com plem entary products of the sam e realist, substantialist representation of the scientific object. In its m ost exaggerated form s, the theory of "basic personality” ten d s to define personality as a miniature replica (obtained by " m o u ld in g ”) of the " cu ltu re”, to be found in all m em bers of the sam e society, except deviants. Cora D u B ois’s celebrated analyses on the Alor Island natives provide a very typical exam ple of th e con fu sion s and contradictions resulting from the theory that " cu ltu re” and personality can each be deduced from the other: determ ined to reconcile the anthropologist’s con clu sion s, based on the postulate that the same influences produce the sam e basic personality, with her ow n clinical observations of four subjects w ho seem to her to be "highly individual characters”, each "moulded by the specific factors in his individual fa te ”, the psychoanalyst w ho struggles to find individual incarnations of the basic personality is condem ned to recantations and contradictions.30 T h u s, she can see M angm a as "the m ost ty p ica l” of the four ("his personality corresponds to the basic personality stru ctu re”) after having written: " ll is difficult to decide how typical M angm a is. I w ould venture to say that if he were typical, the society could not con tin u e to ex ist.” Ripalda, w ho is passive and has


S tructu res , habitus an d practices

S 5

super-ego, is " atyp ical’*, S o is Fantan, w h o has "the strongest character a StfCfion devoid of inhibitions toward w o m e n ” (extrem e heterosexual inhibition *°fnl the rule), and "differs from the other m en as m uch as a citv-slicker differs from kc!°£ner ,\ T h e fourth, M alekala, w hose biography is typical at every point, is a 3 known prophet w ho tried to start a revivalist m ovem ent, and his personality seem s ^ resem b le that of Ripalda, another sorcerer w ho, as we have seen, is described as t0 ical. All this is capped by the analyst’s observation that "characters such as ngflia, Ripalda and Fantan can be found in any society ”. A nthony F . W allace, from Vhom this critique is taken,31 is no doubt right in p ointing out that the notion o f modal ' -onality has the advantage of avoiding the illogicalities resulting from indifference ^differences (and thus to statistics) usually im plicit in recourse to the notion of basic r s o n a l i t v . But what m ight pass for a m ere refinem ent of the m easuring and checking techniques used to test the validity o f a theoretical construct am ounts in fact to the - u b s t i t u t i o n of one object for another: a system o f h ypotheses as to the structure of personality, conceived as a hom eostatic system w hich changes by reinterpreting external pressures in accordance with its ow n logic, is replaced by a sim ple description of the central tendency in the distribution of the values of a variable, or rather a c o m b i n a t i o n of variables. Wallace thus com es to the tautological conclusion that in a population of Tuscarora Indians, the m odal personality type defined by reference to twenty-seven variables is to be found in only 37 per cen t of the subjects stu d ied . The construction of a class ethos m ay, for exam ple, make use of a reading of statistical regularities treated as indices, w ithout the principle w hich unifies and explains these regularities being reducible to the regularities in w hich it m anifests itself. In short, failing to see in the notion of "basic p erson ality’* anything other than a way of pointing to a directly observable " d a tu m ”, i.e . the "personality type*’ shared by the greatest number o f m em bers of a given society, the advocates o f th is notion cannot, in all logic, take issue w ith those w ho subm it th is theory to the test of statistical critique, in the name of the sam e realist representation of the scientific object.

The h abitus is the p rod uct o f the w ork of in cu lca tio n and appropriation necessary in order for th o se p rod u cts of co llec tiv e h istory, th e ob jective structures (e .g . o f lan gu age, e c o n o m y , e tc .) to su cceed in rep ro d u cin g th e m ­ selves m ore or less co m p letely , in th e form o f d urable d isp o sitio n s, in the organisms (w h ich on e can, if o n e w ish es, call in d ivid u a ls) lastingly su b jected to the sam e co n d itio n in g s, and h en ce placed in th e sam e m aterial co n d itio n s ° f existence. T h er efo re so c io lo g y treats as id en tical all th e b io lo g ica l in d iv i­ duals w h o, b ein g the p rod uct o f th e sam e o b jectiv e co n d itio n s, are the supports o f th e sam e h ab itu s: social class, u n d erstood as a sy stem o f o b jective determ inations, m u st be b rou gh t in to relation not w ith th e in d iv id u a l or w ith " c la ss” as a popu lation , i.e . as an aggregate of en u m erab le, m easurable

biological in d ivid u als, b u t w ith th e class h ab itu s, th e sy stem of d isp o sitio n s ^partially) co m m o n to all p ro d u cts o f th e sam e stru ctu res. T h o u g h it is ^ p o s s ib le for a ll m em b ers o f th e sam e class (or even tw o o f th em ) to have h&d the sam e ex p erien ces, in th e sam e ord er, it is certain that each m em b er the sam e class is m ore likely than any m em b er o f another class to have een con fron ted w ith th e situ ation s m ost freq u en t for the m em b ers o f that C,ass- T h e ob jectiv e stru ctu res w h ich sc ien ce ap p reh en d s in the form of


Structures a n d the habitus

statistical regu larities (e .g . e m p lo y m e n t rates, in co m e cu rv es, p rob abilities 0f a ccess to secon d ary ed u ca tio n , freq u en cy of h olid a y s, e tc .) in cu lca te , through th e direct or in d irect b u t alw ays co n vergen t ex p erien ces w h ich g iv e a social e n v iro n m en t its ph ysiogn om y, w ith its " clo sed d o o r s ”, " d ead e n d s ”, and lim ited " p r o s p e c ts ”, that "art of a ssessin g lik e lih o o d s”, as L e ib n iz put it, 0f a n ticip atin g th e ob jective fu tu re, in sh ort, th e sen se o f reality or realities which is perh ap s th e b est-co n cea led p rin cip le o f th eir efficacy. In order to d efin e the relation s b etw e en class, h ab itu s and th e organic in d iv id u a lity w h ich can never en tirely b e rem oved from so cio lo g ica l discourse, in a sm u ch as, b ein g giv en im m ed ia tely to im m ed ia te p ercep tio n (intuitus personae), it is also socially d esig n a ted and reco g n ized (n am e, legal identity, e tc .) and is d efin ed b y a social trajectory strictly sp eak ing irred u cib le to any o th er, th e h ab itu s cou ld b e con sid ered as a su b jectiv e b u t not in d iv id u a l system of in tern alized stru ctu res, sc h e m e s of p ercep tio n , co n ce p tio n , and action co m m o n to all m em b ers of th e sam e grou p or class and co n stitu tin g the p reco n d ition for all ob jectification and a p p ercep tio n : and th e o b jectiv e co­ ord in ation o f p ractices and the sh arin g o f a w orld -v iew cou ld be fou n d ed on the p erfect im p erson ality and in terch an geab ility o f sin gular practices and v iew s. B ut th is w ou ld am ou n t to regarding all the practices or representations prod uced in accord ance w ith id en tical sc h e m e s as im person al and su b stitu ­ table, like sin gular in tu itio n s of sp a ce w h ich , acco rd in g to K a n t, reflect none o f th e p ecu liarities o f th e in d ivid u al ego. In fact, it is in a relation of h o m o lo g y , of d iversity w ith in h o m o g en eity reflectin g th e d iv er sity within h o m o g e n e ity ch aracteristic of their social c o n d itio n s o f p ro d u ctio n , that the sin gular h a b itu s of th e d ifferen t m em b ers o f th e sam e class are u n ite d ; the h o m o lo g y of w orld -v iew s im p lies th e sy stem a tic d ifferen ces w h ich separate sin gular w o rld -v iew s, ad op ted from sin gular b u t con certed stand points. S in ce the h istory o f th e in d ivid u al is never a n y th in g other th an a certain sp ecification o f th e co llec tiv e h istory o f h is grou p or class, each individual system o f dispositions m ay b e seen as a structural v a r ia n t o f all th e o th er group or class h ab itu s, ex p ressin g th e d ifferen ce b etw e en trajectories and positions in sid e or o u tsid e th e cla ss. " P e r so n a l” sty le, th e particular stam p m arking all th e p ro d u cts of th e sam e h ab itu s, w h eth er p ractices or w orks, is n ev er more than a deviation in relation to th e style of a p eriod or class so that it relates back to th e co m m o n sty le n ot o n ly b y its co n fo rm ity - like P h id ias, who, accord in g to H e g el, had no " m ann er ” - b u t also b y th e d ifferen ce w h ich makes th e w h ole " m a n n e r ” . T h e p rin cip le o f th ese in d ivid u al d ifferen ces lies in th e fact that, b ein g the p rod u ct o f a ch ron o lo g ica lly ordered series of stru ctu rin g d eterm in a tio n s, the h a b itu s, w h ich at every m o m e n t stru ctu res in term s o f th e structuring ex p erien ces w h ich p rod u ced it th e stru ctu rin g ex p erien ces w h ich affect its

T h e dialectic o f objectification a n d em bodiment


tructure, b rin gs ab ou t a u n iq u e in tegration , d om in a ted b y th e earliest S neriences, o f th e ex p erien ces statistically co m m o n to th e m em b e rs o f the same class. T h u s , for ex a m p le, th e h ab itu s acq u ired in th e fa m ily u n d erlies the structuring of sch o o l ex p erien ces (in particular th e recep tio n and a ssim i­ lation of the sp ecifically p ed agogic m essa g e ), and th e h a b itu s tran sform ed b y schooling, itself d iversified , in tu rn u n d erlies th e stru ctu rin g o f all su b seq u en t experiences (e .g . th e recep tio n and assim ilation o f th e m essa g es o f th e cu ltu re industry or w ork ex p er ie n c es), and so o n , from restru ctu rin g to restru cturin g. Springing from th e en co u n te r in an in tegrative organ ism o f relatively independent causal series, su ch as b iological an d social d eter m in ism s, th e habitus m akes co h eren ce and n ecessity o u t o f accid en t and co n tin g e n c y : for

example, th e eq u iv a len ces it esta b lish es b etw e en p o sitio n s in th e d iv isio n o f labour and p o sitio n s in th e d iv isio n b etw e en th e se x es are d o u b tle ss not peculiar to so c ietie s in w h ich th e d iv isio n o f labour and th e d iv isio n b etw een the sexes co in c id e alm ost p erfectly. In a class so c iety , all th e p ro d u cts o f a given agen t, b y an essen tial overdeterm ination , speak in sep arab ly an d sim u l­ taneously o f h is class - or, m ore, p recisely, h is p ositio n in th e social stru cture and his risin g or fallin g trajectory - and of h is (or h er) b o d y - or, m ore precisely, all th e p rop erties, alw ays socia lly qualified, o f w h ich he or sh e is the bearer - sexu al p rop erties o f cou rse, b u t also p hysical p rop erties, p raised, like strength or b eau ty, or stig m a tized .

T h e dialectic o f objectification a n d em bodiment So long as th e w ork o f ed u cation is n ot clearly in stitu tio n a lized as a sp ecific, autonom ous p ractice, and it is a w h o le g rou p and a w h o le sy m b o lica lly stru c­ tured en v iro n m en t, w ith o u t sp ecialized agen ts or sp ecific m o m e n ts, w h ich exerts an an o n y m o u s, p ervasive p ed agogic actio n , th e essen tia l part o f the modus operandi w h ich d efin es practical m astery is tra n sm itted in practice, in its practical state, w ith o u t attain in g th e le v el of d iscou rse. T h e ch ild im itates not ,fm o d e ls ” b u t other p eop le's a ctio n s. B od y hexis sp eak s d irectly to the niotor fu n ctio n , in th e form o f a pattern of p ostu res that is b o th in d ivid u al and sy stem atic, b ecau se linked to a w h o le sy stem of tec h n iq u es in v o lv in g th e body and to o ls, and ch arged w ith a h ost of social m ea n in g s and va lu es: *n all so c ietie s, ch ild ren are particularly atten tive to th e g estu res an d p ostu res w hich, in their ey es, exp ress ev e ry th in g that goes to m ake an a cco m p lish ed adult - a w ay o f w alk in g, a tilt of the h ead , facial ex p ressio n s, w ays of sittin g and of u sin g im p lem en ts, alw ays associated w ith a to n e o f v o ic e , a sty le of sp eech , and (h o w cou ld it be o th erw ise? ) a certain su b jectiv e ex p erien ce. B ut the fact that sc h e m e s are able to pass from practice to p ractice w ith o u t g o in g through d isco u rse or co n sc io u sn e ss d o e s n ot m ean that acq u isitio n o f the


Structures an d the habitus

habitus co m es d ow n to a q u estion of m echanical learn ing by trial and error U nlike an in coh eren t series o f figures, w h ich can be learnt o n ly gradually through repeated attem p ts and w ith con tin u o u s p redictable p rogress, a num e­ rical series is m astered m ore easily b ecause it con tain s a structure w h ich makes it unnecessary to m em orize all the n um bers on e by o n e : in verbal products such as proverbs, sayin gs, m axim s, so n g s, ridd les, or gam es; in ob jects, such as tools, th e h ou se, or the village; or again, in p racticcs such as con tests of honour, gift exch an ges, rites, e tc ., the m aterial w h ich the K a b y le ch ild has to assim ilate is the p rod u ct of th e system atic application of principles coherent in practice ,32 wrh ich m ean s, that in all th is en d lessly redundant m aterial, he has no difficulty in graspin g th e rationale o f w hat are clearly series and in m aking it h is ow n in the form of a p rin cip le gen erating con d uct organized in accordance w ith the sam e rationale. Experimental analyses of learning w hich establish that " neither the form ation nor the application of a concept requires conscious recognition of the com m on elements or relationship involved in the specific i n s t a n c e s e n a b l e us to understand the dialectic of objectification and incorporation w hereby the systematic objectifications of system atic dispositions tend in their turn to give rise to systematic dispositions: when faced w ith series of sym bols - C hinese characters (H u ll) or pictures varying sim ultaneously the colour, nature, and num ber of the objects represented (Heidbreder) - distributed into classes w ith arbitrary but objectively based names, subjects who are unable to state the principle of classification nonetheless attain higher scores than they w ould if they were guessing a t random, thereby dem onstrating that they achieve a practical mastery of the classificatory schem es which in no way implies sym bolic mastery - i.e . conscious recognition and verbal expression - of the processes practically applied. Albert B. Lord's analysis o f the acquiring of structured material in a natural environm ent, based on his study of the training of the guslar, the Y u g o s l a v bard, entirely confirm s the experim ental findings: the practical mastery of what Lord calls "the form ula”, that is, the capacity to im provise by com bining "form ulae”, sequences of words "regularly em ployed under the sam e metrical conditions to express a given id ea”,34 is acquired through sheer familiarization, "by hearing the poem s”,35 w ithout the learner’s having any sense o f learning and subsequently mani­ pulating this or that form ula or any set of form ulae:36 the constraints of rhythm are internalized at the same tim e as m elody and m eaning, w ithout being attended to for their own sake.

B etw een ap p ren ticesh ip through sim p le fam iliarization, in w h ich th e ap­ prentice in sen sib ly and u n con scio u sly acquires th e p rin cip les of th e "art and the art of living - in clu d in g th ose w h ich are not know n to th e producer of the p ractices or w orks im itated , and, at the other extrem e, exp licit and express tran sm ission by precept and p rescription , every society provides for structural exercises ten d in g to transm it th is or that form o f practical m astery. S uch are the riddles and ritual con tests w h ich test the " sen se o f ritual language ” and all th e gam es, often structured accord in g to th e logic of the wager, the ch allenge or th e com bat (d u els, grou p battles, target-shootin g.

T he dialectic o f objectification a n d embodiment


etc ) which require the b oys to set to w ork, in th e m ode o f " le t’s p retend ”, the chetfies gen erating the strategies of h on ou r .37 T h e n there is daily participation in gift exchan ges and all their su b tleties, w h ich the b o y s derive from their role as m essengers an d, m ore especially, as interm ediaries b etw een th e fem ale

xvofld and the m ale w orld . T h ere is silen t ob servation o f th e d iscu ssio n s in the men’s assem b ly, w ith their effects o f elo q u en ce, their rituals, their s t r a t e g ie s ,

their ritual strategies and strategic u ses o f ritual. T h ere are the

interactions w ith their relatives, w h ich lead them to ex p lo re th e structured space of ob jective kin relationships in all d irection s b y m ean s o f reversals requiring the person w h o saw him self and b ehaved as a n ep h ew o f his fath er’s brother to see h im self and behave as a paternal uncle tow ards h is b rother’s son, and th u s to acquire m astery o f the transform ational sch em es w h ich p erm it the passage from th e sy stem of d isp o sitio n s attached to on e p o sitio n to the

system appropriate to the sym m etrically op p o site p o sitio n . T h ere are the lexical and gram m atical com m u tation s ( " I ” and " y o u ” d esig n a tin g the sam e person accord in g to the relation to the speaker) w h ich in stil the sen se o f the interchangeability o f p osition s and of reciprocity as w ell as a sen se of the lim its

of each. A n d , at a d eep er level, there are th e relation ship s w ith the m oth er and the father, w h ich , b y their d yssym m etry in an tagon istic co m p lem en tarity, constitute one of th e op p ortu n ities to in tern alize, inseparably, the sch em es

of the sexual division o f labour and of the division o f sexual labour. But it is in th e dialectical relation ship b etw een the b o d y and a space structured accord in g to the m yth ico-ritu al o p p osition s that on e finds the form par ex cellen ce o f the structural ap pren ticesh ip w hich leads to the em -b o d y in g of the structures of th e w orld, that is, the appropriating b y the w orld o f a body th u s enabled to appropriate the w orld. In a social form ation in w h ich the absence o f th e svm b olic-p rod u ct-con servin g tech n iq u es associated w ith literacy retards the ob jectification o f sy m b o lic and particularly cultural capital, inhabited space - and above all the h ou se - is the principal lo cu s for the objectification o f the gen erative sc h e m e s; and, through th e interm ediary of the divisions and hierarchies it sets up b etw een th in gs, p ersons, and practices, this tangible classifyin g system con tin u o u sly in cu lcates and reinforces the taxonom ic p rin cip les u nd erlyin g all th e arbitrary p rovision s of this cu ltu re .38 T h us, as we have seen , the op position b etw een the sacred o f the right hand and th e sacred of th e left hand, b etw een n if and h aram , b etw een m an, ^ v ested w ith p rotective, fecun datin g virtu es, and w om an , at on ce sacred and charged w ith m aleficen t forces, and, correlatively, b etw een religion (m ale) and m agic (fem a le), is reproduced in the spatial d ivision b etw een m ale space, Wlth the place of assem b ly, the m arket, or th e fields, and fem ale sp ace, the house and its gard en , the retreats of haram . T o d iscover h ow this spatial organization (m atch ed b y a tem poral organization o b ey in g the sam e logic)


Structures an d the habitus

gov ern s practices and represen tation s - far b eyon d the frequ en tly described rough d ivision s b etw een the m ale w orld and the fem ale w orld , th e assembly and the fou n tain , p ub lic life and in tim acy - and thereby con trib utes to the durable im p osition of th e sc h e m e s o f p ercep tion , th o u g h t, and action, it j8 necessary to grasp the dialectic o f objectification and em b o d im en t in the p rivileged locu s o f th e sp ace of th e h ouse and the earliest learn ing processes. T h is analysis of the relation sh ip b etw een the ob jectified sch em es and the sch em es incorporated or b ein g incorporated p resu p p o ses a structural analysis of the social organization of th e in tern al sp ace of the h ouse and th e relation of th is internal space to external sp ace, an analysis w h ich is not an end in itself but w h ich , p recisely on accou n t of the (dan gerous) affinity betw een ob jectivism and all that is already objectified, is the on ly m eans o f fully grasping the stru cturin g stru ctu res w h ich , rem aining ob scu re to them selves, are revealed on ly in the ob jects th e y stru cture. T h e house, an opus operatum, len d s itself as su ch to a d ecip h erin g , b u t on ly to a d eciph ering w h ich does not forget that the " b o o k ” from w h ich th e ch ild ren learn their v isio n of the w orld is read w ith the b o d y , in and through the m o v em en ts and displacem ents w h ich make the space w ith in wrh ich th ey are enacted as m uch as they are m ade by it. T h e interior of the Kabyle house, rectangular in shape, is divided into two parts by a low w all: the larger of these tw o parts, slightly higher than the other, is reserved for human use; the other side, occupied by the anim als, has a loft above it. A door w ith tw o w ings gives access to both room s. In the upper part is the hearth and, facing the door, the w eaving loom . T h e low er, dark, nocturnal part of the house, the place of damp, green, or raw objects - water jars set on the benches on either side of the entrance to the stable or against the "wall of darkness ”, w ood, green fodder - the place too of natural beings - oxen and co w s, donkeys and m ules - and natural activities sleep, sex, birth - and also of death, is opposed to the high, light-filled, noble place of humans and in particular of the guest, fire and fire-made objects, the lam p, kitchen utensils, the rifle - the attribute of the manly point of honour ( tiif) w hich protects fem ale honour ( hurma) - the loom , th e sym bol of all protection, the place also of the tw o specifically cultural activities performed w ithin the house, cooking and weaving. T he m eaning objectified in things or places is fully revealed only in the practices structured according to the sam e schem es which are organized in relation to them (and vice versa). T h e guest to be honoured (qabel, a verb also m eaning "to stand up t o ”, and "to face the east ”) is invited to sit in front of the loom . T h e opposite wall is called the wall of darkness, or the wall of the invalid: a sick person’s bed is placed next to it. T h e washing o f the dead takes place at the entrance to the stable. T h e low dark part is opposed to the upper part as the fem ale to the m ale: it is the m ost intim ate place w ithin the world o f intim acy (sexuality, fertility). T h e opposition betw een the male and the female also reappears in the opposition betw een the " master beam and the main pillar, a fork op en skywards. T h u s, the house is organized according to a set of hom ologous oppositions fire: water :: cook ed : raw :: h ig h : low :: lig h t: shade :: d a y : night :: m a le: fem ale ♦« nif: hurma:: fertilizing: able to be fertilized. But in fact the same oppositions are established between the house as a w hole and the rest of the universe, that is, the

T h e dialectic o f objectification an d embodiment


w o r l d , the place of assem bly, the fields, and the market. It follow s that each ^ th e s e two parts of the house (and, by the sam e token, each of the objects placed it a n d each of the activities carried out in it) is in a sense qualified at two degrees, If t as female (nocturnal, dark, etc.) insofar as it partakes of the universe of the U Se an c c*. % z


Structures , habitus , p o w e r

the word of w itnesses, which is enhanced if they are distant and influential; then there is a sim ple paper drawn up by som eone not specialized in th e production of lega] docum ents; then the contract signed before a taleb, providing a religious but not a legal guarantee, w hich is less solem n w hen drawn up by the village taleb than bv a w ell-known taleb; then the Cadi’s written docum ent; and finally the contract signed in front of a law yer.) It w ould be insulting to presum e to authenticate a transaction based on trust betw een trustworthy people, and still more so betw een relatives, before a lawyer, a adi, or even w itnesses. Sim ilarly, the share of th e loss w hich partners agree to accept w hen there is an accident to an animal m ay be entirely different depending on th e assessm ent of their responsibilities w hich th ey com e to in accordance w ith the relationship between them : a man w ho has lent an animal to a close relative feels he m ust m inim ize his partner’s responsibility. By contrast, a regular contract, signed before th e Cadi or before w itnesses, governed the arrangement by which the K abyles handed over their oxen to the southern X om ads to be looked after for one, tw o, or three w orking years (from autum n to autum n) in exchange for twenty-two double decalitres of barley per ox per year, with costs to be shared in the case of loss and profits shared in the case o f sale. Private arrangements betw een kin and affines are to market transactions what ritual war is to total war. T h e "goods or beasts of the fellah” are traditionally contrasted w ith the ‘’goods or beasts of the m arket”: old inform ants will talk endlessly o f the tricks and frauds w hich are com m on practice in the 'big m arkets”, that is to say, in exchanges betw een strangers. T here are countless tales of m ules w hich run off as soon as the purchaser has got them hom e, oxen made to look fatter b y rubbing them with a plant w hich makes them sw ell (adhris), and purchasers who band together to force prices dow n. T h e incarnation of econom ic war is the shady dealer, the man w ho fears neither G od nor m an. Men avoid buying animals from h im , just as they avoid buying from any com plete stranger: as one informant said, for straightforward goods such as land, it is the choice o f the thing to be purchased w h ich determ ines the buyer’s decision; for problem atic good s, such as beasts of burden, especially m ules, it is the choice of seller w hich decides, and at least an effort is m ade to substitute a personalized relationship ( “ on behalf o f . . . ”) for a com pletely im personal, anonym ous one. Every intermediate stage can be found, from transactions based on com plete distrust, such as that betw een th e peasant and the shady dealer, who cannot dem and or obtain guarantees because he cannot guarantee the quality of his product or find guarantors, to the exchange of honour which can dispense w ith conditions and depend entirely on the good faith of the " contracting p arties”. But in m ost transactions the notions o f buyer and seller tend to be dissolved in the network of m iddlem en and guarantors designed to transform the purely econom ic relationship betw een supply and dem and into a genealogically based and genealogically guaranteed relationship. Marriage itself is no exception: quite apart from parallel-cousin marriage, it alm ost always occurs b etw een fam ilies already linked by a whole network of previous exchanges, underwriting th e specific new agree­ m ent. It is significant that in the first phase of the highly com plex negotiations leading up to the marriage agreem ent, the fam ilies bring in prestigious kinsmen or affines as "guarantors”, the sym bolic capital thus displayed serving both to strengthen their hand in the negotiations and to guarantee the deal once it has been concluded.

S im ilarly, th e in dignan t co m m en ts provoked by the heretical b eh aviour of peasants w h o have d eparted from traditional w ays draw a tten tio n to the m echan ism s w h ich form erly in clin ed the peasant to m aintain a m agical relationship w ith the land and m ade it im p ossib le for him to see h is toil as

S ym bolic capital


labour: " I t ’s sacrilege, th ey have profaned the la n d ; th ey have d o n e away w ith fear [elhiba]. N o th in g in tim id ates th em or stop s th e m ; th ey turn ev eryth in g upside d o w n , I ’m sure th e y ’ll en d up p lo u g h in g in la k h r ifii they are in a hurry and if th ey m ean to sp en d lahlal [th e licit period for p lo u g h in g ] d o in g so m e­ thing e lse, or in rbi' [spring] if th ey Ve b een too lazy in lahlal. It’s all th e sam e to th e m .” E veryth in g in th e p easan t’s practice actu alizes, in a different m o d e, the o b jectiv e in ten tion revealed b y ritual. T h e land is n ever treated as a raw material to be ex p lo ited , but alw ays as th e ob ject o f respect m ixed w ith fear (elhiba): it w ill " settle its sc o r e s”, th ey say, and take reven ge for th e bad treatm ent it receives from a clu m sy or over-hasty farm er. T h e a ccom plished peasant " p resen ts h im s e lf” to h is land w ith the stan ce appropriate w hen one man m ee ts an oth er ( i.e . face to face), and w ith the attitu de of tru sting fam iliarity he w ou ld sh o w a resp ected kinsm an. D u r in g the p lo u g h in g , he would n ot think o f d elegatin g th e task of leadin g th e team , and the o n ly task he leaves for h is " c lie n ts ” ( ichikran) is that o f breaking up the so il b eh ind the p lo u g h . " T h e old m en used to say that to p lo u g h p rop erly, you had to be the m aster o f th e land. T h e y o u n g m en w ere left o u t of it: it w ould have been an in su lt to th e land t o ' p r e s e n t’ it [qabel] w ith m en one w o u ld not dare to p resent to oth er m e n .” " It is the m an w h o con fron ts [receives] other m en ”, says a p roverb , " w h o m u st con fron t th e la n d .” T o take u p H e sio d ’s o p p o sitio n betw een ponos and ergon, the peasant d oes not w o r k , he takes pains. " G iv e to the earth and the earth w ill g ive to y ou ”, says a p roverb . T h is can be taken to m ean th at in o b ed ien ce to th e logic o f gift ex c h a n g e, nature b esto w s its bounty o n ly on th ose w h o b rin g it their care as a trib u te. A nd the heretical behaviour o f th ose w h o leave to th e y o u n g the task o f " o p en in g th e earth and ploughing in to it th e w ealth of the n ew y ea r” p rovok es th e old er peasants to express th e p rin cip le o f the relation ship b etw een m en and the land, w hich could rem ain u nform ulated as lo n g as it w as taken for gran ted : " T h e earth no lon ger g ives b ecau se w e give it n oth in g . W e op en ly m ock th e earth and it is o n ly right that it sh ou ld pay us back w ith lie s .” T h e self-resp ectin g man should alw ays b e b usy d o in g so m eth in g ; if he can n o t find an yth ing to do, at least h e can carve h is s p o o n ”. A ctivity is as m u ch a d uty of com m un al life as an eco n o m ic n ece ssity . WThat is valu ed is activity for its ow n sake, regardless of its strictly econ om ic fu n ctio n , in asm u ch as it is regarded as appropriate to th e fu n ction o f th e p erson d o in g it .25 O n ly the application of categories alien to peasant exp erien ce (th o se im p o sed b y eco n o m ic d om in ation and the gen eralization of m onetary exch an ges) b rin g s up the d istin ction betw een th e tech n ical aspect and the ritual or sy m b o lic aspect o f agricultural activity. T h e d istin ction b etw een p rod u ctive and u np ro d u ctiv e w ork or b etw een profitable and u n p rofitable w ork is u n k n o w n : the ancient eco n o m y know s o n ly th e op p osition b etw een the idler w h o fails in h is social d u ty and


Structures , habitus , p o w e r

the w orker w h o perform s h is socially defined proper fu n ctio n , w hatever the product of h is effort. E verything con sp ires to con ceal the relation ship b etw een wrork and its p rod uct. T h u s th e d istin ction w h ich M arx m akes b etw een the w orking period proper - the tim e d evoted to p lou gh in g and harvest - and the production p erio d - th e n in e m on th s or so b etw een so w in g and h arvestin g, d uring which tim e there is hardly any p rod u ctive w ork to be d o n e - is d isgu ised in practice b y th e apparent con tin u ity conferred on agricultural a ctivity by the countless m inor tasks in ten d ed to assist nature in its labour. N o on e w ou ld have th o u g h t of assessin g th e tech n ical efficiency or eco n o m ic u sefu ln ess o f these in d issolu b ly techn ical an d ritual acts, the peasan t’s v ersion , as it wrere, of art for art’s sake, su ch as fen cin g the fields, p ru n in g the trees, p ro tectin g the n ew sh oots from th e anim als, or " v is itin g ” ( asafqadh) and look in g after th e fields, not to m en tion p ractices gen erally regarded as rites, such as action s in ten d ed to exp el or transfer evil (asifedh) or celebrate the com ing o f sp rin g. S im ilarly, no one wro u ld dream of try in g to evaluate the profitability o f all the activities w hich th e application o f alien categories w ou ld lead one to regard as u n p rod u ctive, su ch as th e fu n ctio n s carried o u t b y th e head of the fam ily as leader and representative o f the grou p - co-ord in atin g the w ork, sp eak ing in th e m en ’s a ssem b ly, b argaining in th e m arket, and reading in the m o sq u e. " I f th e peasant c o u n te d ”, runs a p roverb, " h e would n ot s o w .” Perhaps w e sh ou ld say that th e relation ship b etw een w ork and its product is in reality not u n k n ow n , b u t socially repressed; that the pro­ d u ctivity o f labour is so low that the peasant m u st refrain from co u n tin g his tim e, in order to preserve th e m ean in gfu ln ess o f h is w ork; o r - a n d this is o n ly an apparent con trad iction - that in a w orld in w h ich tim e is so p len tifu l and g o o d s are so scarce, h is b est and in d eed on ly course is to sp en d his tim e w ith ou t cou n tin g it, to sq uan der the on e th in g w h ich exists in ab u n d an ce .28 In sh ort, the reality of p rod u ction is no less repressed than th e reality of circulation , and th e peasan t’s " p a in s” are to labour w hat the g ift is to com m erce (an activity for w h ich , as E m ile B en ven iste p o in ts o u t, the IndoE uropean languages had no n a m e). T h e d iscovery o f labour p resu p p oses the co n stitu tion of th e com m on grou n d o f p rod u ction , i.e . th e d isen ch antm en t o f a natural w orld henceforw ard reduced to its eco n o m ic d im en sio n alone; ceasin g to b e th e tribute paid to a necessary order, activity can be directed tow ards an exclu siv ely eco n o m ic en d , the en d wrh ich m o n ey , h e n c e f o r w a r d th e m easure of all th in g s, starkly d esign ates. T h is m eans the en d of th e primal u n d ifferen tiated n ess w hich m ade p ossib le the play o f in dividu al and collective m isr e c o g n itio n : m easured b y th e yardstick of m onetary profit, the m ost sacred a ctiv ities find th em selv es co n stitu ted n egatively, as sym bolic, i.e ., in a sense

Sym bolic capital

17 7

the w ord so m etim es receives, as lackin g con crete or m aterial effect, in sh ort,

gratuitous, i.e . d isin terested but also u sele ss. T h o se w h o ap ply th e categories and m eth od s o f eco n o m ics to archaic econom ies w ith o u t taking in to accoun t the o n tological tran sm u tation they im pose on their object are certainly not alone now ad ays in treating th is type of eco n o m y "as th e F athers o f th e C hurch treated the religions w hich preceded C h ristia n ity ” : M arx’s phrase cou ld also b e ap plied to th o se M arxists w ho tend to lim it research on th e form ations th e y call " p re-ca p ita list” to scholastic d iscu ssion ab out the typ ology o f m o d es o f p rod u ctio n . T h e com m on root of this eth n ocen trism is the u n con sciou s acceptance of a restricted definition of economic interest, w h ich , in its exp licit form , is the historical p rod uct of capitalism : th e con stitu tio n o f relatively au ton om ou s areas o f practice is accom panied by a process through w h ich sy m b o lic in terests (o ften describ ed as " sp iritu a l” or " c u ltu ra l”) com e to b e set up in o p p o sitio n to strictly econom ic in terests as defined in the field o f eco n o m ic tran saction s b y the fundam ental tau tology " b u sin ess is b u s in e s s ” ; strictly " c u ltu ra l” or " aes­ th e tic ” in terest, d isin terested in terest, is the paradoxical p rod u ct of the ideological labour in w h ich w riters and artists, th ose m ost d irectly in terested , have played an im portant part and in th e cou rse o f w h ich sy m b o lic in terests becom e au ton om ou s b y b ein g op p osed to m aterial in terests, i.e . b y b ein g sym bolically nullified as in terests. E con om ism k now s no other in terest than that w hich cap italism has p rod uced , through a sort of con crete application of abstraction, by esta b lish in g a u n iverse o f relation s b etw een m an and m an based, as M arx says, on "callou s cash p a y m e n t” . T h u s it can find no place in its analyses, still less in its calcu lation s, for the strictly sy m b o lic interest w hich is occasion ally recogn ized (w h en too ob v io u sly en terin g in to conflict with " in te r e st” in the narrow sen se, as in certain form s o f nationalism or regionalism ) on ly to be redu ced to the irrationality of feelin g or p a ssio n . In fact, in a u niverse ch aracterized by the m ore or less p erfect in tercon vertib ility of eco n o m ic capital (in the narrow sen se) and sym b olic capital, the economic calculation d irectin g the a g en ts’ strategies takes in d isso cia b ly in to accoun t profits and losses w h ich the narrow d efin ition o f eco n o m y u n co n scio u sly rejects as unthinkable and unnameable, i.e . as econ om ically irrational. In sh ort, contrary to n aively id y llic represen tation s of " p re-ca p ita list” so cieties (or of the "cultural ” sp here of capitalist so c ie tie s), practice n ever ceases to con form to econ om ic calcu lation even w h en it g ives every appearance of d isin terested ­ ness b y d ep artin g from the lo g ic of in terested calculation (in the narrow sense) and p layin g for stakes that are non-m aterial and not easily quantified. T h u s the theory o f strictly econ om ic practice is sim p ly a particular case ° f a general theory of the ec o n o m ic s o f practice. T h e on ly way to escap e from the eth n o cen tric n aiveties o f ec o n o m ism , w ith ou t fallin g in to p o p u list

1 7 8

Structures , habitus , p o w e r

exaltation of th e gen erou s naivety of earlier form s of so ciety , is to carry out in fu ll w hat econ om ism d oes on ly partially, and to exten d eco n o m ic calculation t o a ll the good s, m aterial and sym b olic, w ith ou t d istin ctio n , that present th e m se lv e s as rare and w orthy of b ein g sou gh t after in a particular social form ation - w h ich m ay b e "fair w o r d s” or sm iles, handshakes or shrugs, c o m p lim en ts or attention , ch allenges or in su lts, honour or h onou rs, powers o r p leasures, gossip or scien tific inform ation, d istin ction or distinctions, e tc . E con om ic calculation has h ith erto m anaged to appropriate the territory o b jectively surrendered to th e rem orseless logic o f w hat Marx calls " naked se lf-in te r e st” only b y se ttin g aside a " sa cre d ” island m iraculously spared by th e " icy w ater of egoistical ca lcu la tio n ” and left as a sanctuary for the p riceless or w orth less th in g s it cannot assess. But an accountancy of sym bolic ex ch an ges w ou ld itself lead to a d istorted representation o f the archaic ec o n om y if it w ere forgotten that, as th e p rod uct o f a principle o f differentia­ tio n alien to the u niverse to w hich it is ap plied - the d istin ctio n between e co n o m ic and sym b olic capital - the on ly w ay in w hich su ch accoun tancy can ap preh en d th e u nd ifferen tiatedn ess of eco n o m ic and sy m b o lic capital is in the form of their perfect in tercon vertib ility. If the con stitu tion o f art qua art, a ccom p an yin g the d ev elo p m en t of a relatively au ton om ou s artistic field, leads o n e to con ceive o f certain p rim itive or popular practices as aesth etic, one in evitab ly falls in to th e eth n ocen tric errors unavoidable w hen on e forgets that th o se practices cannot b e con ceived as su ch from w ith in ; sim ilarly, any partial or total objectification o f the an cient econ o m y that d o es not include a theory of th e theorization effect and o f th e social co n d itio n s of objective a p p reh en sion , together w ith a th eory of that econ o m y 's relation to its objective reality (a relation of m isrecogn ition ), su ccu m b s to the su b tlest and m ost irreproachable form o f eth n ocen trism . In its fu ll d efin ition , th e patrim ony o f a fam ily or lineage in clu d es not only th eir land and in stru m en ts o f p rod uction but also th eir kin and their clien tele, nesba, th e netw ork o f alliances, or, m ore broadly, of relation ship s, to be kept u p and regularly m aintain ed , represen tin g a heritage o f co m m itm en ts and d eb ts of h on ou r, a capital o f rights and d u ties built up in the cou rse of su ccessiv e gen erations and p rovid in g an additional source of strength w hich can b e called upon w h en extra-ordinary situ ation s break in upon the daily rou tin e. For all its pow er to regulate th e rou tine o f the ordinary cou rse of ev e n ts through ritual stereotyp in g, and to overcom e crises by p rod u cin g them sy m b olically or ritualizing th em as soon as th e y appear, the archaic econom y is n on eth eless fam iliar w ith th e op p o sitio n b etw een ordinary and extraordinary o cca sion s, b etw een the regular n eed s w h ich th e h ou seh old can satisfy and th e excep tion al n eed s for m aterial and sy m b o lic go o d s and services (in u nusual circum stances of econ om ic crisis, political con flict, or sim p ly urgent


Sym bolic capital

farm work) requ iring th e unpaid assistan ce o f a m ore ex ten d ed grou p . If this

is so, it is b ecause, contrary to w hat M ax W eber su g g ests w h en he draw s a crude contrast b etw een th e traditionalist typ e and th e charism atic type, the ancient econ om y has its d isco n tin u ities, not o n ly in the p olitical sp here, w ith conflicts w h ich m ay start w ith a ch an ce in cid en t and escalate in to tribal war through th e interplay of the " le a g u e s” , b ut also in the ec o n o m ic sp here, w ith the op p osition b etw een th e labour period, w hich in traditional cereal cu ltivation

is particularly sh ort, and the production p e r io d - an op p o sitio n g iv in g rise to one o f th e basic con trad iction s o f that social form ation an d also, in co n se­ quence, to the strategies d esign ed to overcom e it .27 T h e strategy o f a ccu m u ­ lating a capital of h onou r and p restige, w h ich p rod uces th e clien ts as m uch as they produce it, provides the op tim al solu tion to th e p rob lem the group would face if it had to maintain continuously (th rou gh ou t th e p rod uction period as w ell) th e w h ole (hum an and anim al) w orkforce it n eed s d u rin g the labour period: it allow s th e great fam ilies to m ake use of th e m a x im u m w orkforce during the labour p eriod, and to reproduce con su m p tion to a m in im u m d uring the

u navoidably

lon g

p rod uction

p eriod.


hum an


anim al

consum ption are cu t, the form er b y th e redu ction of the g ro u p to the m inim al unit, the fam ily; and th e latter through hire con tracts, su ch as th e charka o f an ox, b y w hich the ow n er lend s h is anim al in exch an ge for n o th in g m ore than com p en sation in cash or in kind for " d ep reciation of th e ca p ita l” . T h ese services, p rovided at precise m om en ts and lim ited of p eriod s o f in tense activity, su ch as harvest tim e, are repaid eith er in th e fo rm of labour, at other tim es of the year, or w ith other services su ch as p ro tectio n , th e loan of animals, etc. T h u s w e see that sym b olic capital, w h ich in the form o f the p restige and renown attached to a fam ily and a nam e is readily co n v ertib le back into econom ic capital, is perhaps the most valuable form o f accum ulation in a so ciety in w h ich the severity of the clim ate (th e m ajor w ork - p lo u g h in g and harvesting - h aving to b e d on e in a very short sp ace o f tim e ) and th e lim ited technical resources (harvesting is d on e w ith the sickle) d em and collective labour. S h ou ld on e se e in it a d isgu ised form of purchase o f labour pow er, or a covert exaction o f corvees? B y all m eans, as lon g as the analysis h olds together w hat h olds together in practice, the double rea lity of instrinsically equivocal, ambiguous co n d u ct. T h is is the pitfall aw aiting all th ose w h o m a naively d u alistic representation of th e relation ship b etw een practice and ideology, b etw een th e " n a tiv e ” ec on om y and th e " n a tiv e ” representation of that eco n om y, leads into self-m y stify in g d em y stific a tio n s :28 th e com p lete reality of th is appropriation of services lies in the fact that it can only take Place in the d isgu ise o f the th iw iz i, th e voluntary assistan ce w hich is also a corvee and is th u s a voluntary corvee and forced assistan ce, and that, to use

i8 o

Structures , habitus , p o w e r

a geom etrical m etaph or, it im p lies a d oub le half-rotation returning to the startin g-p oin t, i.e . a con version of m aterial capital in to sy m b o lic capital itself reconvertible in to m aterial capital. T h e acq u isition o f a clien tele, even an inherited o n e, im p lies considerable labour d evoted to m aking and m aintaining relations, and also substantial m aterial and sym b olic investm ents, in the form o f political aid against attack th eft, offence, and in su lt, or eco n o m ic aid, w h ich can be very co stly , especially in tim es o f scarcity. A s w ell as m aterial w ealth , time m ust be in vested , f0r the value o f sym b olic labour cannot be defined w ithou t reference to the time devoted to it, giving or squandering time b ein g on e o f the m ost precious of g ifts .29 It is clear that in su ch con d ition s sy m b o lic capital can only be accum ulated at the exp en se of th e accum u lation of eco n o m ic cap ital. C om bin­ in g w ith th e ob jective ob stacles stem m in g from the in efficiency o f the means of p rod uction , th e action of th e social m echan ism s in clin in g a gen ts to repress or d isgu ise eco n o m ic interest and ten d in g to m ake th e accum ulation of sym b olic capital the on ly recogn ized , legitim ate fofrm of accum ulation, was sufficient to restrain and even p roh ibit the accum u lation o f material capital; and it w as n o d ou b t rare for the assem b ly to have to step in and order som eon e " n ot to get any ric h e r ” .30 It is a fact that co llectiv e pressure - with w hich th e w ealth y m em bers o f th e grou p have to reckon, because they draw from it not only their au th ority but also, at tim es, political pow er, the strength of w h ich u ltim ately reflects their capacity to m o b ilize th e group for or against in dividu als or grou p s - requires th e rich not o n ly to pay the largest share of th e cost of cerem onial exch an ges ( taw sa ) but also to m ake the biggest con trib ution s to th e m aintenance o f the poor, the lod gin g of strangers, and the organization of festivals. A bove all, w ealth im p lies d u ties. " T h e generous m a n ”, it is said, " is the friend o f G o d .” B elief in im m anent ju stice, which in spires a n um ber o f practices (such as collectiv e oath-sw earing), no doubt help s to m ake of gen erosity a sacrifice d esign ed to w in in return the blessing o f prosperity: "E at, you w h o are u sed to feed in g o th e r s” ; " L o rd , give unto m e that I m ay g iv e .” B ut th e tw o form s o f capital are so in extricab ly linked that the m ere exh ib ition o f th e m aterial and sy m b o lic strength r e p r e s e n t e d b y p restigious affines is likely to be in itself a sou rce o f m aterial profit in a good -faith ec on om y in w h ich good repute is th e b est, if not the only, econ om ic g u aran tee: it is easy to see w h y the great fam ilies n ever m iss a chance (and this is on e reason for th eir p red ilection for distant m arriages and vast processions) to organize ex h ib ition s of sy m b o lic capital (in w h ich c o n s p i c u o u s con su m p tion is on ly the m ost visib le asp ect), w ith p rocession s o f relatives and friends to so lem n ize the p ilgrim ’s departure or return; th e b rid e’s escort, assessed in term s o f the n um ber o f " r ifles” and the in ten sity o f the salutes fired in the c o u p le ’s honour; p restigiou s gifts, in clu d in g sh eep , g iv en on the

Sym bolic capital

occasion of the m arriage; w itn esses and guarantors w h o can be m ob ilized at aDy tim e and place, to attest the good faith o f a m arket transaction or to strengthen the p osition o f the lineage in m atrim onial negotiation and to

solemnize the contract. O nce on e realizes that sym b olic capital is alw ays credit, in the w id est sense of th e w ord, i.e . a sort of advance w hich the grou p alone can grant th ose w h o give it th e best m aterial and sym b olic guarantees, it can

be seen that the exh ib ition of sym b olic capital (w hich is alw ays very exp en sive in econom ic term s) is on e o f th e m echan ism s w hich (n o d ou b t u niversally) make capital g o to capital. It is th u s by d raw ing u p a comprehensive balance-sheet of sy m b o lic profits, without forgettin g the u nd ifferen tiatedn ess of the sy m b o lic and m aterial aspects of the patrim ony, that it b ecom es p ossib le to grasp the econ om ic rationality o f con d u ct w h ich econ om ism d ism isses as absurd: the d ecision to buy a seco n d pair of oxen after the harvest, on the grou n ds that they are needed for treading ou t the grain - w h ich is a w ay o f m aking it know n the crop has been p len tifu l - o n ly to have to sell th em again for lack of fodd er, before the autumn

p lou gh in g, w h en they wrou ld be techn ically necessary, seem s

econom ically aberrant on ly if on e forgets all the material and sy m b o lic profit accruing from this (albeit fictitiou s) addition to the fam ily ’s sy m b o lic capital in the late-su m m er period in w h ich m arriages are n egotiated. T h e perfect rationality o f this strategy o f bluff lies in the fact that marriage is the occasion for an (in the w id est sen se) econ om ic circulation w h ich cannot be seen purely in term s of m aterial go o d s; the profit a grou p can exp ect to draw from the transaction rises w ith its m aterial and especially its sy m b o lic patrim ony, in other w ord s, its stand in g in the eyes of other grou p s. T h is stand in g, w hich depends on the capacity of the g rou p ’s p oin t of honour to guarantee the invulnerability of its h onour, and con stitu tes an u n d ivid ed w hole in d issolu b ly uniting th e q uan tity and q uality of its go o d s and th e q u an tity and q uality of the m en capable of turnin g th em to good accoun t, is w'hat enables th e grou p , m ainly through m arriage, to acquire p ow erful affines (i.e . w ealth in the form of " rifles” , m easured not only b y the n um ber of m en b u t also by their quality, i.e . their p oin t o f h on ou r), and defines the g ro u p ’s capacity to preserve its land and h onour, and in particular th e honour o f its w om en (i.e . the capital o f m aterial and sym b olic strength w hich can actually be m obilized for m arket transactions, co n tests o f h on ou r, or work on the la n d ). T h u s the m terest at stake in the con d u ct of h onou r is on e for w h ich eco n o m ism has no n am e, and wThich has to be called sym b olic, although it is su ch as to inspire actions w h ich are very d irectly m aterial; just as there are p rofession s, like law and m ed icin e, in w h ich th ose w h o practise th em m ust be "above s u sp ic io n ”,

80 a fam ily has a vital interest in k eep in g its capital of honour, i.e . its capital of h onou rab ility, safe from su sp icio n . A nd th e h yp ersen sitivity to th e slightest

18 2

Structures , habitus , p o w er

slu r or in n u en d o (tkasalqu bth ) , and the m u ltip licity o f strategies designed to b elie or avert th em , can be exp lain ed by th e fact that sy m b o lic capital is jess easily m easured and cou n ted than land or livestock and that the group u ltim ately th e on ly sou rce o f cred it for it, w ill readily w ithd raw that credit and d irect its su sp icio n s at the stron gest m em bers, as if in m atters of honour as in land, on e m an ’s greater w ealth m ade the others that m u ch poorer. W e m ust analyse in term s o f the sam e logic th e m echan ism s w h ich som e­ tim es endowr a p iece of land w ith a value not alw ays corresp ond ing to its strictly techn ical and (in the narrow sen se) eco n o m ic q u alities. D o u b tless the nearest fields, th o se best m aintained and best farm ed, and h en ce the most " p r o d u c tiv e ”, th ose m ost accessib le to the w o m en (b y private paths, thikh uradjiyin), are p red isp osed to be m ore h igh ly valued by a n y purchaser; - h ow ever, a p iece of land w ill so m etim es take on a sy m b o lic value dispro­ p ortionate to its econ om ic valu e, as a fu n ctio n of th e socially accepted definition o f th e sym b olic p atrim on y. T h u s the first p lo ts to be relinquished w ill be the land least integrated in to the estate, least associated w ith the name o f its present ow n ers, the land w h ich w as b o u g h t (esp ecia lly by a recent purchase) rather than in h erited , the land b ou gh t from strangers rather than that bough t from k insm en. W h en a field en d o w ed w ith all th e properties wrh ich d efine a stron g in tegration in to th e patrim onial estate is ow ned by strangers, b u y in g it back b eco m es a q u estion o f honour, an alogous to avenging an in su lt, and it m ay rise to exorbitan t p rices. T h e y are purely theoretical prices m ost of th e tim e, sin ce, w ith in this lo g ic , the sy m b o lic p rofits o f making the ch allen ge are greater than th e m aterial profits that w o u ld accrue from cynical (h en ce repreh en sib le) ex p lo itin g o f the situ ation . S o , th e point of honou r the p ossessors set on k eep in g the land, esp ecially if their appropriation is su fficien tly recent to retain its value as a ch allen ge to the alien group, is equal to th e other sid e ’s d eterm in ation to b u y it back and to a v en g e the injury d o n e to the hurma o f their lan d. It m ay h app en that a third grou p w ill step in w ith a h igher b id , th ereb y ch allen gin g not th e seller, w ho o n ly profits from th e co m p etitio n , b u t the " le g itim a te ” o w n e rs .31 O n ly an in con sisten t - becau se reduced an d redu ctive - m aterialism can fail to see that strategies w h ose ob ject is to con serve or increase th e honour of th e grou p , in the forefront o f w h ich stand b lood ven gean ce and m arriage, are dictated b y interests no less vital than are in heritan ce or fertility strategies * T h e interest leadin g an agent to d efen d h is sy m b o lic capital is inseparable from the tacit ad heren ce, in cu lcated in th e earliest years of life and reinforced by all su b seq u en t ex p erien ce, to th e axiom atics ob jectively in scrib ed in the regularities o f the (in the broad sen se) eco n o m ic order w h ich co n stitu tes a d eterm in ate typ e of sy m b o lic capital as w orth y o f b ein g pursued and pre* served. T h e ob jective harm ony b etw een the a g en ts 5d isp o sitio n s (h ere, their

M odes o f domination

propensity and capacity to play the gam e of h onou r) and th e ob jective regularities o f w h ich their dispositions are the p rod u ct, m ean s that m em b er­ ship in this eco n o m ic co sm o s im p lies u n con d ition al recogn ition of the stakes which, by its very ex isten ce, it p resen ts as taken fo r granted, that is, m isrecogflition o f the arbitrariness o f the value it con fers on th em . T h is value is such to in d u ce in vestm en ts and o v er-in vestm en ts (in b oth the eco n o m ic and the

psychoanalytic sen ses) w h ich ten d , through th e en su in g co m p etitio n and rarity, to rein force the w ell-grou n d ed illu sion that th e value o f sy m b o lic g o o d s

is inscribed in the nature of th in gs, just as in terest in th ese g ood s is in scrib ed in the nature of m en . T h u s, the h o m o lo g ies estab lish ed b etw een the circulation of land sold and bought, the circulation o f " th ro a ts” " le n t ” and " retu r n e d ” (m u rd er and vengeance), and th e circulation o f w om en g iv en and received , that is, b etw een the different form s of capital and the corresp on d in g m o d es of circu lation , oblige u s to abandon the d ich o to m y of the eco n o m ic and the n o n -eco n o m ic which stand s in the w ay o f seein g the scien ce of eco n o m ic p ractices as a particular case of a general science o f the economy o f practices, capable of treating all practices, in clu d in g th o se p urportin g to b e d isin terested or gratu i­ tous, and h en ce n o n -eco n o m ic, as eco n o m ic p ractices d irected tow ards the m axim izing o f m aterial or sy m b o lic profit. T h e capital accum u lated by grou p s, the energy o f social d yn a m ics - in this case their capital o f p hysical strength (related to their m o b ilizin g cap acity, and h en ce to the n um ber o f m en and their readiness to fig h t), their eco n o m ic capital (land and liv esto ck ) and their sym bolic capital, alw ays ad dition ally associated w ith p o ssessio n o f the other kinds o f capital, b u t su scep tib le of increase or d ecrease d ep en d in g on h ow they are u sed - can exist in different form s w h ich , althou gh su b ject to strict laws of eq u ivalen ce and h en ce m utally con vertib le, produce sp ecific effec ts .33 Sym bolic capital, a transform ed and th ereb y disguised form of p hysical " e co ­ n o m ic” capital, p rod uces its proper effect in asm uch, and on ly in asm u ch , as it con ceals the fact that it originates in " m aterial ” form s o f capital w h ich are also, in th e last analysis, the source o f its effects.

M odes o f dom ination In so cieties w h ich have n o " self-regu latin g m arket ” (in K arl P o ly a n i’s se n se ), no ed u cational sy stem , n o juridical apparatus, and n o S tate, relation s o f dom ination can be set up and m aintained on ly at th e cost o f strategies w h ich m ust be en d lessly ren ew ed , becau se the co n d ition s required for a m ediated, losttng appropriation of other agents* labour, services, or h om age h ave not b een brought to geth er. By con trast, d om in ation n o lon ger n eed s to b e exerted in a direct, personal w ay w h en it is en tailed in p ossession of th e m ean s (eco n o m ic


Structures , habitus , po w er

or cultural capital) o f appropriating th e m echan ism s o f the field of production and the field of cultural p rod uction , w h ich ten d to assure their owrn reproduc­ tion b y their very fu n ctio n in g , in d ep en d en tly o f any deliberate intervention by the agents. S o , it is in the d egree o f objectification of the accum ulated social capital that on e finds th e b asis of all th e p ertin en t differences betw een the m odes of d om in ation : that is, very schem atically, b etw een , on the one hand social universes in w h ich relation s o f d om in ation are m ade, u nm ade, and rem ade in and b y the in teractions b etw een persons, and on the other hand, social form ations in w h ich , m ediated by ob jective, in stitu tionalized m echan­ ism s, su ch as th ose p rod ucing and guaranteeing the d istrib u tion o f " titles” (titles of n ob ility, d eed s o f p ossession , academ ic d egrees, e tc .), relations of d om in ation have the op acity and perm anence o f th in g s and escape the grasp o f individual co n sciou sn ess


pow er.

O bjectification guarantees the

perm anence and cu m u lativity o f m aterial and sym b olic acq u isition s which can then su b sist w ithou t the agen ts having to recreate them co n tin u ou sly and in th eir en tirety b y d eliberate action; but, because th e profits of these in­ stitu tion s are th e ob ject o f differential appropriation, objectification also and inseparably en su res the reproduction of the structure o f the distribution of th e capital wrh ich , in its various form s, is th e precond ition for su ch appropria­ tio n , and in so d oin g, reproduces the structure o f the relations of dom ination and d ep en d en ce. P aradoxically, it is p recisely because there exist relatively autonom ous fields, fu n ction in g in accordance w ith rigorous m echan ism s capable o f im ­ p osin g their n ecessity on the agen ts, that th ose wrh o are in a position to com m and th ese m echan ism s and to appropriate the m aterial an d /or sym bolic profits accruing from their fu n ction in g are able to dispense w ith strategies aim ed expressly (w h ich d oes not m ean m anifestly) and directly (i.e . w ithout b ein g m ed iated by th e m echan ism s) at the d om in ation o f individuals, a dom in ation w hich in th is case is the con d ition o f the appropriation of the m aterial and sym b olic profits o f their labour. T h e savin g is a real one, b ecau se strategies d esign ed to establish or m aintain lastin g relations of depen­ d en ce are generally very exp en sive in term s o f m aterial g o o d s (as in the p otlatch or in charitable acts), services, or sim p ly tim e; wrhich is wrh y , b y a paradox con stitu tive of this m ode o f d om in ation , the m eans eat up the end, and the actions necessary to en su re the con tinu ation o f pow er th em selv es help to w eaken it .34 E conom ic powrer lies not in w ealth b ut in th e relationship b etw een wealth and a field of econ om ic relations, th e con stitu tion o f w hich is inseparable from the d evelop m en t of a body o f specialized agents, w ith specific in terests; it is in this relationship that w ealth is con stitu ted , in th e form o f capital, that is, as the in stru m ent for appropriating the in stitu tional eq u ip m en t and the

M odes o f domination m echanism s in dispensab le to th e fu n ction in g o f the field, and th ereb y also appropriating the profits from it. T h u s M oses F in ley con v in cin g ly sh o w s that the an cient econ om y lacked not resources b ut the m eans " to overcom e the limits of individual re so u rces’*. " T h ere w ere no proper credit in stru m en ts no negotiable paper, no book clearance, no credit p a y m e n t s .. .T h e r e w as m oneylending in p len ty b u t it was concentrated on sm all u surious loans to peasants or con su m ers, and in large borrow in gs to enable m en to m eet the political or other con ven tion al exp en d itu res o f the upper c la s s e s . . . Sim ilarly in the field o f b u sin ess organization: there w ere no lon g-term partnerships or corporations, no brokers or agen ts, n o gu ild s - again w ith the occasional and unim portant ex cep tio n . In short, both the organizational and the opera­ tional

d ev ices

w ere




m obilization




resources .”35 T h is analysis is even m ore relevant to an cient K abylia, w hich lacked even the m ost elem entary in stru m ents o f an econ o m ic in stitu tion . Land was in fact m ore or less totally exclu d ed from circulation (th o u g h , occasion ally serving as secu rity, it w as liable to pass from one group to an oth er). V illage and tribal m arkets rem ained isolated and there w as n o way in w h ich th ey cou ld be linked up in a sin gle m echan ism . T h e op p osition m ade by traditional m orality, incarnated by the bu n iya , b etw een the "sacrilegious c u n n in g ” custom ary in m arket transactions and the good faith appropriate to exchan ges among kinsm en and friends 36 - w hich w as m arked by th e spatial d istin ction betw een th e place o f resid en ce, the village, and the place of transactions, the market - m ust not be allow ed to mask the op p osition b etw een the sm all local market, still "em b ed d ed in social re la tio n sh ip s”, as P olyani p uts it, and the market w hen it has b ecom e th e "d om inan t transactional m o d e ”.37 T he strategies of honour are not banished from the market: though a man may enhance his prestige by tricking a stranger, he may also take pride in having bought som ething at an exorbitant price, to satisfy his point of honour, just "to show he could do it ”; or he may boast of having managed to strike a bargain w ithout laying out a penny in cash, either by m obilizing a number of guarantors, or, better still, by drawing on the credit and the capital o f trust which com e as much from a reputation for honour as from a reputation for w ealth. It is said of such a man that "he could come back with the whole market even if he left home with nothing in his pockets”. Men whose reputation is known to all are predisposed to play the part of guarantors - either for the seller, w ho vouches for the quality of his animal in their presence, °r for the buyer, w ho, if he is not paying in cash, promises that he will repay his debt prom ptly.38 T h e trust in which they are held, and the connections w hich they can mobilize, enable them to "go to the market with only their faces, their names, and their honour for m o n ey ” - in other words, the only things w hich can take the place of money in this econom y - and even "to wager [to make an offer], whether they have money on them or not". Strictly personal qualities, "which cannot be borrowed or le n t’*, count at least as much as wealth or solvency. In reality, even in the market the degree of mutual information is such as to leave little scope for overpricing, cheating, and bluff. If, exceptionally, a man "w ho has not been brought up for the m arket” tries


Structures , habitus , pow er to ''make a b id ”, he is soon put in his place. " T h e market will ju d g e ”, they sav m eaning by "m arket” not the laws of the market, w hich in a very different univers sanction reckless undertakings, but rather the collective judgm ent shaped and mani fested in the market. Either a man is a "market m a n ” ( argaz nasuq) or he isn’t; a total judgm ent is passed on the whole man, and like all such judgm ents in every society it involves the ultim ate values laid dow n in the mythical taxonom ies. A "house mari” (argaz ukhamis) w ho takes it upon him self to overstep his "natural” lim its is put in his place with the w ords " Since you're only a fireside m an, remain a fireside man” (thakwath, the alcove in the wall o f the house w hich is used to hide the sm all, typically female objects which m ust not be seen in broad daylight - spoons, rags, weaving tools etc.).

T h e village/m ark et d ich o to m y is no d ou b t a m eans of p reventin g the im personal exch an ges of th e m arket from ob tru d in g the d isp o sitio n s of calculation in to th e wrorld of reciprocity relation sh ip s. In fact, wrh ether a small tribal m arket or a b ig regional m arket, the suq represents a transactional mode interm ediate b etw een tw o extrem es, n either o f w h ich is ever fu lly actualized: on the one hand there are th e exch an ges of th e fam iliar wrorld o f acquaintance, based on the trust and good fa ith that are p ossib le w h en the purchaser is well inform ed about the prod ucts exch an ged and the se lle r’s strategies, and when the relation ship b etw een the parties con cern ed ex ists before and after the exchan ge; and on th e other hand there are the rational strategies o f the self-regu latin g m arket, w h ich are m ade p ossib le b y th e standardization of its products and th e quasi-m echan ical n ecessity o f its processes. T h e suq does not p rovid e all the traditional in form ation , but n either does it create the con d ition s for rational in form ation . T h is is wrhy all the strategies applied by th e peasants aim to m in im ize the risk im p lied in the u np redictab ility of the o u tc o m e , b y tran sform ing th e im personal relationships o f com m ercial transactions, w h ich have n either past nor future, in to lasting relationships of reciprocity: by callin g u p on guarantors, w itn esses, and m ediators th ey are able to estab lish , or re-establish, the fu n ction al eq u iva len t of a traditional network of relation ship s b etw een th e con tractin g parties. Just as eco n o m ic wrealth cannot fu n ction as capital u n til it is linked to an econom ic apparatus, so cultural co m p eten ce in its various fo rm s cannot be con stitu ted as cultural capital u ntil it is in serted in to the objective relations betw een th e system o f eco n o m ic p rod uction and the system p rod ucing the producers (wrhich is itself con stitu ted b y th e relation b etw een the school system and th e fam ily). W h en a society lacks b oth the literacy w h ich would enable it to preserve and accu m u late in ob jectified form th e cultural resources it has in herited from the p ast, and also the ed u cational system w h ich would give its agen ts the ap titu des and d isp o sitio n s required for th e symbolic reappropriation o f those resou rces, it can on ly p reserve them in their incor­ porated sta te ." C o n seq u en tly, to en su re the p erpetuation o f cultural resources w hich wro u ld oth erw ise d isappear alon g w ith th e agen ts w h o bear th em , it has

18 7

M odes o f domination

resort to system atic in cu lcation , a p rocess w h ich , as is sh o w n b y the case J the b ard s, m ay last as lon g as the p eriod d u rin g w h ich the resou rces are actually u sed . T h e transform ations m ade p ossib le by an in stru m en t of cultural com m unication su ch as w ritin g have b een ab un dan tly d e sc r ib e d :40b y d etach ­ ing cultural resou rces from persons, literacy en ab les a so ciety to m ove b eyon d im m ediate hum an lim its - in particular th ose of in dividu al m em ory - and frees it from the con strain ts im plied b y m n em o n ic d ev ices su ch as poetry, the p reservation tech n iq u e par excellen ce in non-literate so c ie tie s ;41 it enables a society to accum u late culture h ith erto preserved in em b o d ied form , and correlatively en ab les particular grou p s to practise prim itive accumulation o f cultural ca pital, th e partial or total m o n o p o lizin g o f the so c ie ty ’s sym b olic resources in religion, p h ilosop h y, art, and scien ce, by m o n o p o lizin g the instrum ents for appropriation of th ose resources (w ritin g , reading, and other d eco d in g tech n iq u es) henceforw ard preserved not in m em ories but in texts. But th e ob jectification effects o f literacy are n o th in g in com parison w ith those p rod u ced b y the educational sy stem . W ith ou t en terin g in to d etailed analysis, it m u st suffice to point ou t that academ ic q ualifications are to cultural capital w hat m on ey is to econ om ic ca p ita l .42 By g iv in g the sam e value to all holders o f the sam e certificate, so that any on e of th e m can take the place of an y other, the educational sy stem m in im izes th e ob stacles to the free circulation o f cultural capital w h ich resu lt from its b ein g incorporated in individual persons (w ith o u t, how ever, sacrificing th e advantages of th e charis­ matic id eology o f th e irreplaceable in d iv id u a l); it m akes it p o ssib le to relate all q ualification-holders (and also, n egatively, all unqualified in dividu als) to a single standard, th ereb y settin g u p a single m arket for all cultural capacities and guaran teein g the con vertibility of cultural capital in to m o n ey , at a determ inate cost in labour and tim e. A cad em ic q ualifications, like m on ey, have a co n ven tion al, fixed value w h ich , b ein g guaranteed b y law , is freed from local lim itation s (in contrast to sch olastically u ncertified cultural capital) and tem poral flu ctu a tio n s: the cultural capital w h ich th ey in a sen se guarantee on ce and for all d oes n ot con stantly need to b e p roved . T h e objectification accom plished b y acad em ic degrees and d ip lom as and, in a m ore general w ay, by all form s o f cred en tials, is inseparable from the objectification w h ich the law guarantees by d efin in g perm anent positions w h ich are d istin ct from the biological in d ivid u als h old in g them , and m ay be o ccu p ied b y agents w h o are biologically d ifferen t b u t interchangeable in term s of th e qualifications required. O n ce th is state of affairs is estab lish ed , relation s o f p ow er and dom ination no lon ger exist directly b etw een in d ivid u als; they are set u p in Pure o b jectivity b etw een

in stitu tion s,

i.e .

b etw een socially guaranteed

qualifications and socially defined p o sitio n s, and through th em , b etw een the 7-2

1 88

Structures, habitus , po w er

social m echan ism s w h ich p rod uce and guarantee both the social value o f the qualifications and th e p osition s and also the distrib ution o f these social attributes, am ong b iological in d iv id u a ls .43 L aw d oes no m ore than sym b olically con secrate - b y recording it in a form w h ich renders it both eternal and universal - the structure of the power relation b etw een groups and classes w hich is produced and guaranteed practi­ cally by the fun ction in g o f these m ech an ism s. For exam p le, it records and legitim ates th e d istinction b etw een the p osition and the person, the power and its holder, together w ith the relationship obtaining at a particular m om ent b etw een qualifications and jobs (reflecting the relative bargaining pow er of the buyers and sellers o f qualified, i.e . scholastically guaranteed, labour pow er) w hich appears con cretely in a particular distrib ution o f the material 'and sym b olic profits assigned to the holders (or non-holders) of qualifications. T h e law thus contributes its o w n (specifically sym bolic) force to the action o f th e various m echanism s w hich render it superfluous con stantly to reassert pow er relations by overtly resorting to force. T h u s the task of legitim atin g the estab lish ed order does not fall exclusively to th e m echanism s traditionally regarded as b elon gin g to the order o f ideology, su ch as law. T h e system o f sym b olic go o d s production and the system p rod ucing th e producers fulfil in ad d ition , i.e . b y the very logic of their normal fu n ction in g, ideological fu n ction s, by virtue o f th e fact that the m echanism s through w hich they con trib ute to the reproduction o f the estab lish ed order and to the perpetuation o f d om in ation rem ain hidden. T h e educational system h elp s to p rovid e the d om in ant class w ith w hat M ax W eber term s "a theodicy o f its ow n p riv ileg e”, not so m uch through the ideologies it produces or in cu lcates (as those w ho speak o f "id eological ap paratu ses” w ould have it); b ut rather through the practical justification of the established order which it ach ieves b y u sing the overt con n ection b etw een qualifications and jobs as a sm okescreen for th e con n ection - w hich it records surreptitiously, undercover of form al equality - b etw een the qualifications people obtain and the cultural capital they have inherited - in other w ord s, through the legitim acy it confers on the transm ission o f th is form o f heritage. T h e m ost su ccessfu l ideological effects are those w hich have n o need of w ords, and ask n o m ore than com p licitou s silen ce. It fo llo w s, in cid en tally that any analysis of ideologies, in the narrow sense of " legitim atin g d isc o u r se s”, w hich fails to in clu d e an analysis of th e corresponding in stitu tional m echan ism s is liable to be n o more than a contribution to the efficacy o f th ose ideologies: th is is true of all internal (sem iological) analyses of political, educational, religious, or a e s t h e t i c id eologies w h ich forget that the political fun ction o f these id eologies may m som e cases be reduced to the effect of d isp lacem en t and d iversion , cam ouflage and legitim ation, w hich they produce by reproducing - through their over­

M odes o f domination


sights and om ission s, and in their deliberately or in volu ntarily com p licitou s silences - the effects of the objective m ech an ism s .44 It has b een necessary at least to sketch an analysis of the ob jective m echan ­ isms w h ich

play a part both in se ttin g up and in con cealin g lasting

relations of d om in ation , in order to understand fully th e radical difference betwreen the different m od es o f dom ination and th e different p olitical strategies for conservation characteristic o f social form ations w h ose accum ulated social energy is unequ ally objectified in m echan ism s. O n the o n e sid e there are social relations w h ich , not containing w ithin th em selves th e principle o f their own reprodu ction , m ust be kept up through n oth in g less than a process of continuous creation; on the other side, a so cia l w orld w h ich , containing w ithin itself the prin cip le of its o w n con tinu ation, frees agents from the endless work of creating or restoring social relations. T h is op p ositio n finds expression in the history or prehistory o f sociological th ou gh t. In order to "ground social being in n a tu re”, as D u rk h eim puts it ,45 it has b een necessary to break w ith the p rop en sity to see it as founded on the arbitrariness o f individual w ills, or, w ith H o b b es, on the arbitrariness of a sovereign w ill: "F or H o b b e s ”, writes D u rk h eim , " it is an act of w ill w hich gives birth to the social order and it is a perpetually renew ed act of w ill w hich u p h old s it .’*46 And there is every reason to b elieve that the break w ith th is artificialist vision, w h ich is the precond ition for scien tific ap prehension, could not be m ade before the con stitution , in reality, of objective m ech an ism s like th e self-regulating market, w h ich , as Polyani p oin ts ou t, was in trin sically co n d u civ e to b elief in determ inism . But social reality had another trap in store for scien ce: the existence o f m echan ism s capable of rep rod u cin g the political order, in d ep en ­ dently of any deliberate intervention, m akes it p ossib le to recognize as political, am ongst the different types of con d u ct directed tow ards gaining or keeping p ow er, on ly su ch practices as tacitly exclu d e control over the reproduction m ech an ism s from the area o f legitim ate co m p etitio n . In th is w ay, social scien ce, taking for its object the sphere o f legitim ate p o litics (as so-called "political s c ie n c e ” d oes now adays) adopted th e p reconstructed object w hich reality fo isted upon it. T h e greater the exten t to w hich the task of reprodu cing the relations of dom ination is taken over by objective m ech an ism s, w hich serve the interests of the d om in ant group w ith ou t any co n sciou s effort on th e latter’s part, the more in direct and, in a sen se, im personal, b ecom e th e strategies objectively oriented tow ards reprodu ction : it is not by lavish in g gen erosity, kindness, °r p oliten ess on his charw om an (or on any other " socially in ferior” a gen t), but by ch oosin g th e b est in vestm en t for his m on ey, or the best school for bis so n , that the possessor of econ om ic or cultural capital perpetuates the relationship of d om in ation w hich objectively links him w ith his charw om an


Structures , habitus , p o w e r

and ev e n her d escen d an ts. O n ce a system o f m echan ism s has b een constituted cap ab le of ob jectively en su rin g the reprodu ction o f the established order by its ow n m otion (apo tou autom atou, as th e G reeks p u t it), the d om in ant class have o n ly to let the system they dom inate take its own course in order to exercise their d o m in a tio n ; but u n til su ch a system exists, they have to w ork directly d aily, p ersonally, to produce and reprodu ce con d itio n s of d om in ation which are ev e n then never en tirely tru stw orth y. B ecau se they cannot b e satisfied with ap propriating the profits of a social m ach ine w h ich has not yet developed the pow er o f self-p erp etu ation , they are ob liged to resort to the elem entary forms o f dom ination , in other w ord s, th e d irect d om in ation o f on e person by an oth er, the lim itin g case o f w hich is appropriation of persons, i.e. slavery. T h ey can n ot appropriate the labour, services, g ood s, hom age, and respect of o th ers w ith ou t " w in n in g ” them p ersonally, " ty in g ” th em - in short, creatin g a bond betw een p ersons. T h is is why a social relationship such as that between the master and his khammes (a sort of m etayer who gets only a very small share of the crop, usually a fifth, with local variations), which might at first sight seem very close to a sim ple capital-labour relation, cannot in fact be kept up w ithout the direct application of material or sym bolic violence to the person who is to be tied . T h e master may bind his khammes by a debt w hich forces him to keep renewing h is contract until he finds a new master willing to pay off the debt to the former em ployer - in other words, indefinitely. He may also resort to brutal measures such as seizing the entire crop in order to recover his loan. But each particular relationship is the product of com plex strategies whose efficacy depends not only on the material and sym bolic strength of either party but also on their skill in arousing sym pathy or indignation so as to m obilize the group. T h e value of the relationship for the dom inator does not lie exclusively in the resultant material profits, and many masters who are not m uch richer than their khammes and would gain by cultivating their lands them selves refrain from doing so because they prefer th e prestige of possessing a "clientele” . But a man who wants to be treated as a '*m aster” m ust show he has the virtues corresponding to his status, and the first of these is generosity and dignity in his relations with his “ clien ts”. T h e compact uniting the master and his khammes is an arrangement betw een one man and another guaranteed by nothing beyond the “ loy a lty ” w hich honour dem ands. It involves no abstract discipline, no rigorous contracts, and no specific sanctions. But the “great '' are expected to show that they are worthy o f their rank by affording material and sym bolic “ protection” to those dependent upon them . Here again, it is all a question of strategy, and the reason w hy the “ enchanted relations of the pact of honour are so frequent is that, in this econom y, the strategies of sym bolic violence are often ultim ately more econom ical than pure “economic violence. Given that there is no real labour market, and that m oney is rare (and therefore dear), the best way in which the master can serve his own interests is to work away, day in, day out, with constant care and attention, weaving the ethical and affective, as w ell as econom ic, bonds which durably tie his khammes to him. reinforce the bonds of obligation, the master m ay arrange the marriage of his khammes (or his son ) and instal him, with his fam ily, in the master's own house; the children, brought up together, with the goods (the flock, fields, etc.) being ow ned in comm on, often take a long tim e to discover what their position is. It is not uncom m on for one

M odes o f domination

19 1

0f the sons of a khammes to g o and work for wages in the tow n, together with one 0f the m aster’s sons, and like him , bring back his savings to the master. In short, if the master wants to persuade the khammes to devote him self over a long period to the pursuit of the master’s interests, he has to associate him com pletely w ith those interests, m asking the d y s s y m m e t r y 0f the relationship by sym bolically denying it in his behaviour. T h e khammes is the man to whom one entrusts one’s goods, o n e’s house, and one’s honour (as is shown by the form ula used by a master leaving to go and work in a town or in France: ’'A ssociate, I’m counting on you; I ’m g oin g off to be an associate m y self’'). T h e khammes "treats the land as if he ow ned i t ” , because there is nothing in his m aster’s conduct to belie his claim to have rights over the land on which he works; and it is not unusual to hear a khammes saying, lon g after leaving his "m aster”, that the sweat o f his brow entitles him to pick fruit or enter the estate. And just as he never feels entirely freed from his obligations towards his former m aster, so, after what he calls a "change of heart” he may accuse his master of "treachery*’ in abandoning som eone he had " ad op ted ”.

T h u s this system con tain s only tw o w ays (and they prove in the end to be just one w ay) of g ettin g and keep in g a lasting hold over so m eo n e: gifts or d eb ts, the overtly eco n o m ic ob ligations o f d eb t, or th e " m o ra l”, " affective” obligations created and m aintained b y exch an ge, in sh ort, overt (physical or econom ic) v iolen ce, or sym b olic violen ce - censored, euphem ized, i.e . u n ­ recognizable, socially recogn ized vio len ce. T h ere is an in tellig ib le relation not a con trad iction - b etw een these tw o form s o f v io len ce, w h ich coexist in the sam e social form ation and som etim es in the sam e relation ship

:47 w hen

dom ination can on ly be exercised in its elem entary form , i.e . d irectly, b etw een one person and another, it cannot take place overtly and m u st be d isguised under the veil of en ch an ted relation ship s, the official m o d el of w hich is presented b y relations b etw een kinsm en; in order to be socially recognized it m ust g et itself m isreco g n ized .48 T h e reason for the pre-capitalist eco n o m y ’s great n eed for sym b olic violen ce is that the only w ay in w h ich relations of dom ination can b e s e t u p , m aintain ed , or restored, is through strategies w h ich , being exp ressly oriented tow ards th e estab lish m en t o f relation s of personal d ep en d en ce, m ust be d isgu ised and transfigured lest th ey d estro y th em selv es by revealing their true nature; in a w ord, th ey m ust b e euphem ized. H ence the censorship to w hich th e overt m anifestation of v iolen ce, esp ecia lly in its naked eco n om ic form , is su bjected by th e logic characteristic o f an econ om y in w hich in terests can o n ly be satisfied on con d ition that th e y be d isguised in and by th e strategies a im in g to satisfy th e m .49 It w ou ld be a m istake to see a con trad iction in the fact that vio len ce is here both m ore present and m ore h id d en .50 Because th e pre-capitalist econ om y cannot cou n t on the im placable, h idden violen ce of ob jective m ech an ism s, it resorts simultaneously to form s o f d om in ation w h ich m ay strike the m odern observer as m ore brutal, m ore p rim itive, m ore barbarous, or at the sam e tim e, as gen tler, m ore hum ane, m ore resp ectful o f p erson s .51 T h is coexisten ce of o v ert physical and

19 2

Structures , habitus , p o w e r

eco n o m ic v io le n c e and of the m ost refined sy m b o lic v io len ce is foun d in a|| th e in stitu tio n s characteristic o f this ec o n o m y , and at th e heart of every soCia| rela tion sh ip : it is present b oth in th e d eb t and in th e g ift, w h ich , in spjte o f their ap paren t o p p osition , have in com m on the p o w er o f fo u n d in g either d ep en d en ce (and even slavery) or solidarity, d ep en d in g on the strategic w ith in w h ich they are d ep lo y ed . T h e fu n d am en ta l a m b ig u ity of all the in stitu tion s w h ich m odern taxon om ies ten d to present as eco n o m ic is evidence that contrary strategies, w h ich , as w e have also seen in th e case o f the masterkhammes relation sh ip , m ay coexist u nd er th e sam e n am e, are interchangeable w ays of p erform in g the sam e fu n ction , w ith the " c h o ic e ” b etw een overt violen ce an d gen tle, h idd en violen ce d ep en d in g on th e relative strengths of the tw o parties at a particular tim e, and on the d egree o f integration and ethical in tegrity of the arbitrating grou p . In a society in w h ich overt violence, the v io le n c e of th e usurer or th e m erciless m aster, m eets w ith collective reprobation 52 and is liable eith er to provoke a vio len t rip oste from th e victim or to force h im to flee (that is to say, in either case, in the absence o f any other recourse, to provoke the an nih ilation of th e very rela tio n sh ip w hich was in ten d ed to be ex p lo ite d ), sy m b o lic vio len ce, the g en tle, in visib le form of vio len ce, w h ich is n ever recogn ized as su ch , and is n ot so m uch undergone as ch o sen , th e violen ce o f cred it, con fid en ce, o b lig a tio n , personal loyalty, h osp itality, gifts, gratitud e, p iety - in sh ort, all the virtu es honoured by the cod e o f h on ou r - cannot fail to be seen as the m o st econ om ical m ode of d o m in ation , i.e . the m od e w h ich b est corresp ond s to th e eco n o m y of the sy stem . G en tle, h id d en exp loitation is th e form taken by m a n ’s exp loitation of man w h en ever o v ert, brutal exp loitation is im p ossib le. It is as false to id en tify this essen tially d u a l econ om y w ith its official reality (g en ero sity , m utual aid , etc.), i.e . the form w h ich exp loitation has to ad opt in ord er to take place, as it is to reduce it to its ob jective reality, seein g m utual aid as a corvee, the khammes as a sort of slave, and so o n . T h e gift, g en ero sity , co n sp icu o u s distribution - the extrem e

case of w h ich is the p otlatch - are op eration s o f social alchem y

w h ich m ay b e ob served w h en ever the direct ap plication of overt physical or eco n o m ic v io le n c e is n egatively san ction ed , and w h ich ten d to b rin g about th e tran sm u tation o f eco n o m ic capital in to sy m b o lic capital. W astage of m o n ey, en erg y , tim e, and in gen u ity is the very essen ce o f th e social alchem y through w h ich an in terested relation ship is tran sm u ted in to a disin terested, gratu itou s relation sh ip , overt d om in ation in to m isreco g n ized , " s o c ia lly recog­ n iz e d ” d o m in a tio n , in other w ord s, legitim ate au th o rity. T h e active prin cip le is the labour, tim e , care, atten tion , and savoir-faire w h ich m ust be s q u a n d e r e d to p rod uce a personal gift irreducible to its eq u iv a len t in m o n ey , a p r e s e n t in w hich w h at co u n ts is n ot so m uch w hat you g ive as th e w ay you g iv e it,

M odes o f domination


the s e e m in g ly " gratu itou s ” surrender not on ly o f g o o d s or w o m en b u t o f th in g s that are e v e n m ore personal and therefore m ore p recio u s, becau se, as the k a b y les say, th ey can " n eith er be borrow ed nor le n t ”, su ch as tim e - the tiine that has b een taken to do th e th in g s that " w o n ’t b e fo r g o tte n ”, becau se they are d o n e the right w ay at th e right tim e - m arks o f ap preciation, " g es­ tures”, " k in d n e sse s”, and " c o n sid e ra tio n s ” .53 T h e exercise of g en tle v io len ce demands a " person al” price from its users. A u th o rity , charism a, grace, or, for the K a b y les, sar, are alw ays seen as a property of the p erson. Fides, as

Benveniste p o in ts o u t, is not " tr u st” b u t the fact that " th e in herent q uality of a person in spires con fid en ce in h im and is exercised in the form o f a protective au th ority over th ose w h o entrust th em selves to h im

” .54T h e illusion

im plied by personal fid elity - that the ob ject is the sou rce of th e feelin g s responsible fo r the particular representation of the ob ject - is not en tirely an illu sio n ; th e " g r a c e ” w h ich gratitude recogn izes is in d eed , as H o b b es observes, th e recogn ition of an " antecedent gra ce” . Gentle exploitation is m uch more costly - and not only in econom ic term s - for those who practise it. " R espon sib ilities” such as those of the tamen, the " spokesm an” or “guarantor” w ho represented his group ( thakharrubth or adhrum ) at the m eetings of the m en’s assem bly and on all solem n occasions, gave rise to little com petition or envy, and it w as n ot uncom m on for the m ost influential and m ost important m em bers of a group to refuse the job or soon ask to be replaced: the tasks of representation and mediation w h ich fell to the tamen did indeed demand a great deal of tim e and effort. Those on w hom the group bestow s the title "w ise m e n ’* or "great m e n ”, and w ho, in the absence of any official mandate, find them selves invested with a sort of tacit delegation of the group’s authority, feel obliged (by a sense of duty towards them ­ selves resulting from considerable self-esteem ) constantly to recall the group to the values it officially recognizes, both by their exem plary conduct and by their express utterances; if they see two w om en of their group quarrelling they feel it incum bent upon them to separate them and even to beat them (if they are w idow s or if the men responsible for them are w ithout authority) or fine them ; in cases of serious conflict between m em bers of their own clan, they feel required to recall both parties to w isdom , never an easy task and som etim es a dangerous one; in any situation liable to lead to inter-clan conflict (in cases of crim e, for exam ple) they meet together in an assembly with the m arabout so as to reconcile the antagonists; they feel it their duty to protect the interests o f the clients and the poor, to give them presents when the traditional collections are made (for the thimechret, for exam ple), to sen d them food at feast times, to assist the w idow s, to arrange marriages for the orphans, etc.

In sh ort, b ecau se the d elegation w hich is the basis o f personal authority rem ains d iffu se and is n either officially declared nor in stitu tio n a lly guaranteed, *t can o n ly b e lastin gly m aintain ed through action s w h o se co n form ity to the values recogn ized by th e grou p is a practical reaffirm ation of that a u th o rity .55 It fo llo w s that in su ch a sy stem , th e "g r e a t” are th o se w h o can least afford to take lib erties w ith the official norm s, and that the p rice to be paid for their ou tsta n d in g value is ou tsta n d in g con form ity to th e valu es o f th e grou p , the


Structures , habitus, p o w e r

sou rce of all sym b olic valu e. T h e con stitu tio n of in stitu tionalized m ech a n ist^ m akes it p ossib le for a sin g le agen t (a party leader or u n ion d elegate, a member of a board o f directors, a m em b er of an acad em y, e tc .) to be entrusted with the totality of th e cap ital w h ich is the basis of th e group, and to exert over this capital, collectiv ely ow n ed b y all the " shareholders ”, a d elegated authority not strictly related to h is personal co n tr ib u tio n ; b u t in pre-capitalist societies each agent shares d irectly in the collective capital, sym b olized by the name of the fam ily or lin eage, to an ex ten t directly proportionate to his own co n trib u tion , i.e . exactly to the exten t that h is w ord s, d eed s, and person are a credit to th e g ro u p .55 T h e sy stem is su ch that the d om in ant agen ts have a v ested interest in virtu e; th ey can accum u late political pow er o n ly b y paying a personal price, and n ot sim p ly b y red istrib u tin g their g o o d s and money; th ey m ust have the " v ir tu e s ” o f their pow er because th e o n ly basis of their pow er is " v ir tu e ”. G en erou s co n d u ct, o f w hich the p otlatch (a curio for anthropologists) is sim p ly the extrem e ca se, m igh t se em to su spend th e universal law of interest and "fair e x c h a n g e ”, w h ereb y n o th in g is ever given for n o th in g , and to set up instead relation ship s w h ich are their ow n en d - con versation for conversa­ tion s sake (and not in order to say so m eth in g ), g iv in g for g iv in g ’s sake, and so o n . But in reality su ch d en ials of interest are n ever m ore than practical disclaim ers: like F reu d ’s Vem einung, the d iscou rse w hich says w hat it says only in a form that ten d s to sh ow that it is not sayin g it, they satisfy interest in a (d isin terested ) m ann er d esign ed to sh ow that th ey are not sa tisfy in g interest. (A parenthesis of the benefit of th e m oralists: an ab solute, i.e . ethical, justification of th e en ch an tm en t felt b y the ob server of en ch an ted social relations m ay be fo u n d in the fact that, as w ith d esire, so w ith material in terest: society cannot ask or ex p ect o f its m em bers an yth ing m ore or better than d enial, a " liftin g o f r e p r essio n ” w h ich , as Freud says, d oes not am ount to " an accep tance of w h at is repressed

”.)57 E veryon e know s th a t " it’s not what

you giv e b u t the way you g ive i t ” that co u n ts, that w hat d istin g u ish es the g ift from m ere "fair e x c h a n g e ” is th e labour d ev o ted to form : the presentation, the m anner of g iv in g , m u st be su ch that the outw ard form s of th e act present a practical d en ial of th e co n ten t of th e act, sy m b olically tran sm u ting an in terested exchan ge or a sim p le pow er relation in to a relation ship set up in d u e form for fo rm ’s sake, i.e . inspired b y pure resp ect for th e cu sto m s and co n v en tio n s recogn ized by the grou p . (A p aren thesis for the b en efit o f the aesth etes: archaic so c ietie s d ev o te m ore tim e and effort to the form s, because in them the cen sorsh ip o f d irect exp ression of personal interest is stronger ; th ey thu s offer con n o isseu rs o f b eau tifu l form s the en ch an tin g sp ectacle of an art o f livin g raised to the level of an art for art’s sake foun ded on the refusal to ack n ow led ge self-ev id en t realities su ch as th e " b u sin ess is b u s in e s s ” or

M odes o f dom ination


“■time is m o n e y ” on w h ich th e u n aesth etic life-style o f the harried leisure classes?* in so-called advanced so cieties is b ased .) G ood s are for g iv in g . T h e rich m an is " rich so as to be able to give to the p o o r”, say the K a b y les .°9 T h is is an exem plary d isclaim er: becau se g iv in g is also a w ay o f p o ssessin g (a gift w h ich is not m atched b y a cou n ter-gift creates a lastin g b ond , restrictin g the d eb to r’s freedom and forcing him to adopt a p eacefu l, co-op era tive, p ru dent attitu d e); b ecau se in th e ab sen ce of any juridical guarantee, or an y coercive force, on e o f the few w ays of “ h o ld in g ” so m eon e is to keep up a lastin g asym m etrical relationship su ch as in d eb ted n ess; and becau se the on ly recogn ized , legitim ate form of p ossession is that ach ieved b y d isp o ssessin g o n eself - i.e . ob ligation , g ratitu d e, p restige, or personal loyalty. W ealth, th e ultim ate basis o f p ow er, can exert pow er, and exert it durably, on ly in th e form o f sym b olic capital; in other w ord s, econom ic capital can be accum u lated on ly in the form of sy m b o lic capital, the u n recogn izab le, and h en ce socially recogn izab le, form of the other kinds of capital. T h e ch ief is in d e ed , in M alinow sk i’s p hrase, a "tribal b a n k er”, am assing food o n ly to lavish it on others, in order to b u ild up a capital of obligations and d eb ts w h ich w ill be repaid in th e form o f h om age, resp ect, loyalty, a n d , w hen th e op p o rtu n ity arises, w ork and services, w h ich m ay be the bases o f a n ew accu m u lation of m aterial g o o d s .60 P rocesses of circular circulation, su ch as the le v y in g o f a tribute follow ed by hierarchical redistri­ bution, w o u ld appear absurd b u t for th e effect they have of tran sm u ting the nature of the social relation b etw een th e agents or grou p s in v o lv ed . W herever they are ob served , these consecration cycles perform the fun dam en tal operation of social a lch em y, the transform ation of arbitrary relations in to legitim ate relations, de facto d ifferen ces in to officially recogn ized d istin ctio n s. D istin c ­ tions and lastin g associations are foun ded in th e circular circulation from w hich the legitim ation o f p ow er arises as a sy m b o lic su rp lu s valu e. If, like L evi-Strau ss, on e con sid ers o n ly the p a rticu la r case of exch an ges of m aterial and/or sy m b o lic g o o d s in te n d ed to legitim ate relations of reciprocity, on e is in danger of forgettin g that all stru ctures o f inseparably m aterial and sy m b o lic ex ch an ge (i.e . in v o lv in g both circulation and co m m u n ica tio n ) fu n c­ tion as id eological m ach ines w h en ever the de facto state of affairs w hich th ey tend to legitim ate by tran sform in g a co n tin g en t social relationship in to a recognized relationship is an u n eq u al balance o f pow er. T h e en d less recon version o f eco n o m ic capital in to sy m b o lic capital, at the cost of a w astage o f social en ergy w h ich is the con d ition for the perm anence of d o m in ation , cannot su cc ee d w ith ou t th e com p licity o f th e w hole grou p : the w ork o f denial w h ich is th e sou rce of social alchem y is, like m agic, a co llectiv e u nd ertak ing. A s M a\iss puts it, th e w h ole so ciety pays itself in the false coin of its dream . T h e co llectiv e m isrecogn ition w h ich is the basis of


Structures , habitus , p o w e r

the eth ic of h on ou r, a collective d enial of the eco n o m ic reality of exchange is on ly p ossib le becau se, w h en the group lies to itself in this w ay, there i$ neither d eceiver nor d eceived : th e peasant w h o treats h is khammes as an associate, becau se that is th e cu stom and becau se honour requires him to do so , d eceiv es h im self as m uch as he d eceives h is kham m est sin ce th e only form in w h ich he can serve h is interest is the eu p h em istic form presented by the eth ic of h onou r; and n oth ing su its th e khammes b etter than to play his part in an in terested fiction w h ich offers him an h onou rab le representation of his co n d ition . T h u s the m ech an ism s resp onsible for reprodu cing the appropriate h abitus are here an integral part o f an apparatus o f p rod uction w hich could not fu n ction w ith o u t th em . A g en ts lastingly " b in d ” each other, not only as parents and ch ild ren , but also as creditor and d eb tor, m aster and khammesf -only through th e d isp o sitio n s w h ich the grou p in cu lcates in th em and con­ tin u ou sly rein forces, and w h ich render unthinkable practices w h ich would appear as legitim ate and even be taken for granted in th e disenchanted eco n o m y o f "naked se lf-in te re st ” .61 T h e official truth p rod uced b y th e co llectiv e work o f eu p h em iza tio n , an elem entary form of the labour o f ob jectification w h ich even tu ally leads to the juridical d efinition o f accep table b eh aviour, is not sim p ly the g ro u p ’s means of savin g its " spiritualistic p oin t of h o n o u r ” ; it also has a practical efficacy, for, even if it wrere con trad icted by ev ery o n e’s behaviour, like a rule to which every case p roved an excep tio n , it w ould still rem ain a true d escrip tion of su ch behaviour as is in ten d ed to b e accep table. T h e cod e of h onou r weighs on each agent w ith the w eigh t of all th e other agen ts, and the d isenchantm ent wrh ich leads to the p rogressive u n v eilin g of repressed m ean ings and functions can on ly result from a collapse of the social co n d itio n s of the cross-censorship to w h ich each agent su b m its w ith im patience b u t w hich he im p o ses on all th e oth ers .62 If it be true that sym b olic violen ce is the g en tle, h idd en form w hich vio len ce takes w h en overt v io le n c e is im p o ssib le, it is und erstan dab le why sy m b olic form s of d om in ation sh ou ld have p rogressively w ithered away as ob jective m ech an ism s cam e to b e con stitu ted w h ich , in rend erin g superfluous the w ork of eu p h em ization , ten d ed to p rod uce th e " d ise n c h a n te d ” d isp osi­ tio n s their d evelop m en t d em an d ed . It is eq u ally clear w h y th e progressive u n co verin g and neutralization o f the ideological and practical effects o f the m echan ism s assu ring the reprodu ction o f th e relations o f d om in ation sh ould d eterm in e a return to form s o f sym b olic v io len ce again based on d issim ulation of the m ech an ism s o f rep rod u ction through th e con version of eco n o m ic into sy m b olic capital: it is through legitim acy-giv in g red istrib u tion , public (" so c ia l” p o licies) and private (fin an cin g o f " d isin ter ested ” fou n d ation s, grants to hospitals and to acad em ic and cultural in stitu tio n s), w hich they

M odes o f domination


make p o ssib le, that th e efficacy o f the m echan ism s of reproduction is

exerted. T o th ese form s o f legitim ate accu m u lation , through w h ich the d om in an t

groups or classes secure a capital of " c r e d it” w h ich seem s to o w e n o th in g to the logic o f ex p lo ita tio n ,63 m u st be added another form of accum u lation of sym bolic capital, the collection of lu xury goo d s attestin g th e taste and d istinction of their ow n er. T h e denial o f eco n o m y and of eco n o m ic in terest, which in pre-capitalist so cieties at first took place on a ground from w hich it had to be exp elled in order for ec on om y to be con stitu ted as su ch , thus finds its favourite refuge in th e d om ain of art and cu lture, th e site of pure con su m p tion - of m on ey, o f cou rse, b u t also o f tim e con vertible into m on ey. T h e w'orld o f art, a sacred island system atically and osten ta tio u sly op posed to the p rofane, everyday w orld of p rod u ction , a sanctuary for gratu itou s, disin terested activity in a universe g iven over to m o n ey and self-in terest, offers, like th eo lo g y in a past ep o ch , an im aginary an th rop ology ob tain ed by denial of all th e n egations really b rou ght about by the eco n o m y .

N o tes

C H A P T E R 1. T H E O B J E C T I V E L I M I T S O F O B J E C T I V I S M 1 C. Bally, L e langage et la vie (G eneva: D roz, 1965), pp. 58, 72, 102. 2 See E. D urkheim , Education et sociologie (Paris: P U F , 1968; 1st e d ., 1922), pp. 68-9; English trans. Education and Sociology (N ew York: Free Press, 1956), p. 101. 3 Consider, for exam ple, in very different fields, the petty bourgeoisie with its avid consum ption of manuals of etiquette, and all academ icism s, with their treatises on style. 4 Objectivism posits that im m ediate com m unication is possible if and only if the agents are objectively harmonized so as to associate the same m eaning with the same sign (utterance, practice, or work), or, to put it another way, so as to refer in their coding and decoding operations, i.e. in their practices and interpretations, to one and the same system of constant relations, independent of individual consciousnesses and wills and irreducible to their execution in practices or works (e.g. Saussurian "longue” as code or cipher). In so doing, objectivist analysis does not, strictly speaking, contradict phenom enological analysis of primary experience of the social world and of the im mediate com prehension of the utterances, acts, or works of others. It merely defines the lim its of its validity by establishing the particular conditions within which it is possible, conditions which phenomeno­ logical analysis ignores. 5 See C. Levi-Strauss, " Introduction a 1'oeuvre de Marcel M au ss”, in Sociologie et anthropologie (Paris: P U F , 1950), p. xxxviii. 6 Ibid. p. xxxvi. 7 Sayings w hich exalt generosity, the suprem e virtue of the man of honour, coexist with proverbs betraying the tem ptation of the spirit of calculation: "A gift is a m isfortu ne”, says one of them ; and another: "A present is a hen and the recom pense is a camel." A nd, playing on the word lahna, which means both a gift and peace, and the word lahdia, meaning a gift, they say: "Y ou w ho bring us peace [a gift], leave us in p eace”, or "L eave us in peace [lahna] with your gift [lahdia], o r ” T he best gift is p eace.” [T h ese exam ples, and those which follow, draw on the au th ors fieldwork in Kabylia, Algeria. Translator.] 8 T he language of form , taken in the sense of " structure o f becoming” which it has in musical theory (e.g . the suite, or sonata form ) w’ould no doubt be more appropriate than the language of logical structure, to describe the logically but also chronologically articulated sequences of a musical com position, a dance, or any tem porally structured practice. It is significant that the only way which R Jakobson and C. L^vi-Strauss (w*Les chats’ de Charles Baudelaire”, L ’Homm*> 2, 1 (Jan.-A p ril 1962), pp. 5-21) find to explain the m ovem ent from structure to form, and the experience of form , that is to say, to poetic and musical pleasure, is to invoke frustrated expectation, which objectivist analysis can describe only by bringing together in sim ultaneity, in the form of a set of them es linked by relations of logical transformation (e.g. the m ovem ent from the metaphorical form, the scientist, the lover, the cat, to m etonym ic form , the cat), the essentially [1 9 8 ]

N otes fo r pp . 9 - / 7


10 11 12

13 14



17 18


polythetic (in H usserl’s sense) structure of a poetic discourse which in practice is com m unicated only in and through tim e. In reality, as temporal structures, musical or poetical forms can only be understood inasmuch as they perform expressive functions of various types. " D o n ’t be offended at me for making this o f f e r .. . I am so thoroughly conscious of counting for nothing in your eyes, that you can even take money from me. You can’t take offence at a gift from m e ” (see F. D ostoyevsky, The Gambler, Bobok, A N asty S tory, trans. J. Coulson (L ondon: P enguin, 1966), p. 44). M ind, S elf and Society (Chicago: U niversity of Chicago Press, 1962), pp. 42-3. R . Jakobson, Fundamentals o f Language (T h e H ague: M outon, 1956), p. 58. T hree case studies illustrating these analyses are to be found in P. Bourdieu, "T h e Sentim ent of Honour in Kabyle S o c iety ”, in J. Peristiany (e d .), Honour and Shame (L ondon: W eidenfeld and N icholson, 1965), pp. 191-241. G . M arcy, " L es vestiges de la parente maternelle en droit coutum ier berbere et le regime dessuccessions touraegues ”, Revue Africaine, no. 85 (1941), pp. 187-211. In the case of the offence w hich, unlike the sim ple challenge, is an attack on the sacred (haram) and in particular on the honour of the w om en, the room for manoeuvre is considerably reduced, the sole alternatives being the riposte which restores honour or the retreat which condem ns the offended to social death or exile. T h e qanun, a collection of custom s peculiar to each village, essentially consists of an enumeration of particular offences, followed by the corresponding fine. T h u s, for exam ple, the qanun of A gouni-n-T esellent, a village of the Ath Akbil tribe, includes, in a total of 249 articles, 219 "repressive” laws (in D urkheim ’s sen se), i.e. 88 per cent, as against 25 "restitutory ” laws, i.e. 10 per cent, and only 5 articles concerning the foundations of the political system . T h e customary rule, the product of a jurisprudence directly applied to the particular case and not of the application to the particular of a universal rule, is based not on formal, rational, explicit principles but on the " se n se ” of honour and equity. Its essence - that is to say, the totality of the values and principles that the com m unity affirms by its very existence - remains im plicit because unquestioned and unquestionable. T h e statem ents contained in the custom s of any particular group represent only a very sm all part of the universe of possible acts of jurisprudence (and even if one adds to them the statem ents produced from the sam e principles to be found in the custom s of other groups one still has only a very lim ited idea of the full possibilities). Comparison of the quanuns of different groups (villages or tribes) brings out differences in the w eight of the punishm ent inflicted for the same offence; these differences are understandable if it is a question of the same im plicit schem es being put into practice, but would not be found if it were a matter of the application of a single explicit code expressly produced to serve as a basis for hom ogeneous and constant (i.e. predictable and calculable) acts of jurisprudence. A . Hanoteau and A . L etourneux, L a K abylie et les coutumes kabyles (Paris: Im prim erie N ationale, 1873), v°l* 111> P- 33$ (m y italics). A . Hanoteau (a brigadier) and A . Letourneux (an Appeal Court Judge), who present their analysis of Kabyle custom s along the lines of the French "Code C iv il”, attribute the role of judge to the village assem bly (see Hanoteau and L etourneux, L a K abylie et les coutumes kabyles, p. 2), w hile Dean M . Morand (see M. Morand, Etude de droit musulman algerien, Algiers: A . Jourdan, 1910, and "L e statut de la fem m e kabyle et la reforme des coutum es berberes”, Revue des




21 22



JViotes fo r p p . 17-22

Etudes Islamiques, 1927, part 1, pp. 47-94) regards the qanun as a set of provision in the form of rules, based on conventions and contractual agreem ents. In realitv the assembly operates not as a court pronouncing judgem ent by reference to a pre-existing code, but as a council which endeavours to reconcile the adversaries’ points of view and persuade them to accept a com prom ise. T h is means that the functioning of the system presupposes the orchestration of habitus, since the m ediator’s decision can be applied only w ith the consent of the "convicted ” partv (w ithout w hich the plaintiff has no alternative to resorting to force) and will not be accepted unless it is consistent with the "sense of ju sticc” and imposed in a manner recognized by the "sense of h on o u r”. G . W. F . H egel, Reason in H istory: A General Introduction to the Philosophy of H istory, trans. with an introduction b y R . S. Hartmann (Indianapolis: B o b b s M errill, 1953), p. 3. A s is suggested by a reading of the Meno, the em ergence of institutionalized education is accompanied by a crisis in diffuse education, which goes directly from practice to practice w ithout passing through discourse. Excellence has ceased to exist once people start asking whether it can be taught, i.e. as soon as the objective confrontation of different styles of excellence makes it necessary to say what goes w ithout saying, justify what is taken for granted, make an ought-to-be and an ought-to-do out of what had up to then been regarded as the only way to be and do; hence to apprehend what had formerly seem ed to be part of the nature of things (phusei) as in fact based on the arbitrary institution of law ( nomo). T h e upholders of old-style education have no difficulty in devaluing a knowledge w hich, like that of the mathontes, bears the marks of apprenticeship; but the new masters can safely challenge the kaloi kagathoi, who are unable to bring to the level of discourse what they learned apo tou automatou, no one knows how, and possess only "insofar as they are what they are w ho, because they are what they know, do not have what they know, nor what they are. M . M erleau-Pontv, The Structure o f Behaviour, trans. Alden L . Fisher (London: M ethuen, 196$), p. 124. For exam ple, the meanings agents give to rites, m yths, or decorative motifs are m uch less stable in space, and doubtless over tim e, than the structures of the corresponding practices (see F . Boas, Anthropology and M odem L ife (N ew York: N orton, 1962; 1st ed ., 1928), pp. 164-6). S ee A . Schutz, Collected Papers. I: The Problem o f Social R eality, edited and introduced by Maurice Nathanson (T h e Hague: M artinus Nijhoff, 1962), p. 59Schutz seeks to show that the contradiction which he him self observes between what he calls the postulate of subjective interpretation and the method o f the m ost advanced sciences, such as econom ics, is only an apparent c o n tr a d ic t io n (see pp. 34-5). H . Garfinkel, Studies in Ethnomethodology, Englewood Cliffs, X . J .: P r e n t i c e - Hall,

, 967 * 25 T h u s it is the objectivist construction of the structure of the statistical c h a n c e s objectively attached to an econom ic or social condition (that of a simple* reproduction econom y, or a sub-proletariat, for exam ple) which makes it p o ss ib le to give a com plete explanation of the form of temporal experience w hich pheno* m enological analysis brings to light. 26 T h e effect of sym bolic im position w hich official representation intrinsically p r 0 " duces is overlaid by a more profound effect when sem i-learned grammar, a normative description, is made the object of teaching (differentially) d i s p e n s e d by a specific institution and becom es thereby the principle of a cultivated habitus.

N otes fo r pp . 2 2 - 2 5


T h u s, the legitim ate linguistic habitus, in a class society, presupposes objectifica­ tion (and, more precisely, compilation into a ''treasury” and form alization by a body of grammarians) and inculcation by the family and the educational system , of the product of that objectification, grammar. In this case, as in the domain of art, and of learned culture in general, it is the sem i-learned norm which is internalized to becom e th e principle of the production and com prehension of practices and discourses. Relations to learned culture (including learned language) are objectively defined b y the degree of internalization of the linguistic norm. Broadly speaking, they range from excellence, the rule converted into a habitus capable of playing w ith the rule of the gam e, through the strict conform ity of those condem ned m erely to execute, to the dispossession of the laym an. 27 Ritual denunciation of the reassuring half-truths of legalism (to which som e may be tem pted to reduce a num ber of the analyses set out here) has doubtless played a part in discouraging any serious consideration of the relationship between practice and the rule, an d , more precisely, of the strategies em ployed in the games (and tricks) played with the rules of the gam e, which give the rule a practical efficacy quite different from the efficacy naively attributed to it by the " legalistic approach”, as M alinowski termed it (B. M alinowski, Coral Gardens and Their M agic, vol. 1 (L ondon: A llen and U nw in, 1966; ist e d ., 1935), p. 379). 28 F . de Saussure, C oursde linguistiquegenerate (P aris: Pavot, i960), pp. 37-8; trans. W . Baskin as Course in G eneral Linguistics, N ew York: Philosophical Library, *95929 ’'N eith er is the psychological part wholly involved: the executive side is left outside, for execution is never the work of the mass; it is always individual, and the individual is always th e master of it; w e shall call it sp e ec h ” (ibid. p. 30; see English translation, p. 13). T h e most explicit formulation of the theory of speech as execution is doubtless found in the work of H jelm slev, wrho clearly brings out the various d im ensions of the Saussurian opposition betw een language and speech - institution, social, " fixed ”, and execution, individual, non-fixed (L . H jelm slev, Essais linguistiques (C openhagen: Nordisk Sprog-og Kulturforlag, 1959), esp. p. 79). 30 T h e m ost violent opponents of the notion of "culture”, such as Radcliffe-Brown, have nothing better than a naive realism to offer against the realism of the intelligible which presents "cultu re” as a transcendent reality endow ed with an autonom ous existence and obeying its internal laws even in its history. T h is apart, " cu ltu re” is opposed to concepts as different in their epistem ological status as society, the individual, or conduct. If wre except the rare authors who give the notion of conduct a significance rigorously defined by the operation which sets it up in opposition to " cu ltu re” (e.g. H . D . Lasswell, w ho posits that "if an act conform s to culture, then it is conduct, if not, it is b ehaviour” - "Collective Autism as a C onsequence of Culture C ontact”, JZeitschrift fu r Sozialforschung, 4 ( x935), PP- 232“ 47)> m ost users of the opposition put forward epistem ologically discordant definitions of culture or conduct, which oppose a constructed object to a preconstructed datum , leaving em pty the place of the second constructed object, nam ely practice as execution. T h u s - and this is far from being the worst exam ple - Harris op p oses "cultural patterns” to "culturally patterned beha­ v iou rs”, as respectively, "what is constructed by the anthropologist” and "what mem bers of the society observe or im pose upon o th ers” (M . Harris, "Review of Selected Writings of Edward Sapir, Language, Culture and Personality”, Language, 27, 3 (1951), pp. 288-333). T h e imaginary dialogue on the notion of culture presented by C lyde K luckhohn and William H . K elly (see " T h e Concept


N otes fo r p p . 25 -2 7 o f Culture ”, in R. Linton (e d .), The Science o f Mart in the World Crisis (N ew Y o rk Columbia U niversity Press, 1945). pp. 78-105) gives a more sum mary, th o u g h livelier, picture of this debate than A. L. K roeber and C. Kluckhohn in th e ir Culture: A Critical R eview o f Concepts and Definitions (Papers of the P e a b o d v


32 33 34 35 36 37


Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, x lv i i, 1, Cambridge, M a s s .; Harvard U niversity Press, 1952). It has not escaped Leach that despite th e ir apparent opposition, Malinowski and Radcliffe- Brown at least agree in considering each " society’* or each "cu ltu re” (in their respective vocabularies) as a "totality made up of a number of discrete, empirical ‘th in g s’, of rather diverse kinds, e.g . groups of people, 'in stitu tion s’, cu sto m s” or again as "an empirical whole m ad e up of a limited number of readily identifiable parts”, comparison of d if fe r e n t societies consisting of exam ining whether "the sam e kinds of parts ” are to be f o u n d in all cases (E . R. Leach, Rethinking Anthropology ( L o n d o n : Athlone Press, 1961), p. 6). L. J. Prieto, Principesde nodlogie, Paris: M outon, 1964; and J. C. Pariente, "Vers un nouvel esprit linguistique”, Critique, April 1966, pp. 334-58. Oswald Ducrot makes the same point when he indicates that presupposition is part of language use itself and that every speech act entails assum ptions which may or may not be satisfied or accepted by the interlocutor. Bally, L e langage et la vie, p. 21. J. Van V elsen, The Politics of K in sh ip: A S tu d y in Social Manipulation among the Lakeside Tonga, Manchester: M anchester U niversity Press, 1964; n e w e d ., 1971. See M. Gluckm an, "Ethnographic Data in British Social A nthropology”, Socio­ logical Review , 9, 1 (March 1961), pp. 5-17. E. R. Leach, "On Certain U nconsidered A spects of D ouble D escent System s.” M an, 62 (1962), p. 133. Van Velsen, The Politics o f K inship, p. xxvi. D espite this point of disagreement, Van V elsen ’s analyses are essentially consistent with my own analysis of the strategic uses made of kin relations (w hich I wrote before The Politics of Kinship came to my notice): cf., for exam ple, on pp. 73—4; the selection of "practical” kinsmen among the nominal kinsmen; on p. 182. matrilineal descent seen as a privileged rationalization of action in fact determined by other factors, and the function of the idealization of cross-cousin marriage as "a means of counteracting the fissiparous tendencies in the marriage and thus the village”. In a typical statement of a highly ecelectic philosophy, Levi-Strauss explicitly evacuates individual and collective history (and everything covered by the concept of the habitus) by establishing a direct, unm ediated identity between the mind and nature: "As the mind too is a thing, the functioning of this thing teaches us som ething about the nature of things: even pure reflexion is in the last analysis an internalization o f the cosmos'* (C . Levi-Strauss, The Savage M ind (London: W eidenfeld and N icolson, 1966), p. 248; my italics to em phasize the oscillation, in the same sentence, between two contradictory explanations of the declared identity of the mind and nature, first an essential identity - the m ind is a thing - then identity acquired through learning - internalization of the cosm os - two theses which merge in the ambiguity of another formulation - "an image of the wrorld inscribed in the architecture of the m in d ” : L e cru et le cuit (Paris: Plon, 1964), p. 346). Beneath its airs of radical materialism , this philosophy of mind returns to a form of idealism affirming the universality and eternity of the logical categories, while ignoring the dialectic of the social structures and structured, structuring dispositions - or, in a more eighteenth-century language, of mind and

N otes fo r p p . 2 7 -2 9




42 43 44 45 46 47

48 49



nature - w ithin which the schem es of thought are formed and transformed, and in particular the logical categories, principles of division which through the intermediary of the principles of the division o f labour, correspond to the structure of the social world and not the natural world. E. D urkheim , Les regies de la methode sociologique, 18th ed. (Paris: P U F , 1973; ist ed ., A lcan, 1895), P- 9'. English translation, The Rules of Sociological Method (N ew York: Free Press, 1964), p. 7. T he hypnotic power of the notion of the unconscious has the effect of blotting out the question of the relationship between the practice-generating schem es and the representations - them selves more or less sanctioned by the collectivity they give of their practice to them selves or others. It thereby discourages analysis of the theoretical or practical alterations that the various forms of discourse about practice impose on practice. *' A person w h o knows a language has represented in his brain some very abstract system of underlying structures along with an abstract system of rules that determ ine, by free iteration, an infinite range of sound-m eaning correspon­ d en ce” (see N . Chomsky, ’'General Properties of L anguage”, in I. L. Darley (ed .) Brain iMechanism Underlying Speech and Language (N ew York and London: Grune and Straton, 1967), pp. 73—88). C. Levi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of K inship, rev. ed. (L ondon: Social Science Paperbacks, 1969), p. 33 (m y italics). Ibid. Levi-Strauss, Structural Anthropology (L ondon: Allen Lane, 1968), p. 34. Elementary Structures, p. 32. Ibid. It is an unwarranted transfer of the same type w hich, according to M erleau-Ponty, engenders the intellectualist and empiricist errors in psychology (see The Struc­ ture of Behaviour, esp. pp. 114 and 124). L . W ittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations (O xford: Blackwell, 1963), pp. 38-9. If it is the case that making practice explicit subjects it to an essential alteration, by speaking o f what goes without saying or by naming regularities by definition unremarked, it follows that any scientific objectification ought to be preceded by a sign indicating*'everything takes place as i f . . . ”, w hich, functioning in the same way as quantifiers in logic, w ould constantly remind us of the epistem ological status of the constructed concepts of objective science. Everything conspires to encourage the reifying of concepts and of theoretical constructs, starting with the logic of ordinary language, w hich inclines us to infer the substance from the substantive or to confer on concepts the power to act in history as the words designating them act in the sentences of historical discourse, i.e. as historical subjects. It is clear what theoretical (and political) effects arise from the personifi­ cation of collectives (in sentences like "the bourgeoisie thinks t h a t .. . ” or ’'th e working class refuses to accept. . . ”), which leads, as surely as D urkheim ’s pro­ fessions of faith, to postulating the existence of a group or class ''collective consciousness” : by crediting groups or institutions with dispositions which can be constituted only in individual consciousnesses, even when they are the product of collective conditions such as the awakening of awareness [prise de conscience) of class interests, one gets out of having to analyse these conditions, in particular those determi ning the degree of objective and subjective hom ogeneity of the group in question and the degree of consciousness of its members. P. Ziff, Semantic Analysis (N ew York: Cornell U niversity Press, i960), p. 38.


N otes f o r p p . 2 Q -31

51 W. V. Quine, " M ethodological Reflections on Current Linguistic T h eo r y ”, jn D . Harman and G . Davidson (ed s.), Semantics o f N atural Language (DordrechtReidel, 1972), pp. 442-S 4 52 L. W ittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-philosophicus, 2nd ed. (L ondon: Routledgeand Kegan Paul, 1971), p. 49. 53 For another application of the analyses in section I. see P. Bourdieu, "Marriage Strategies as Strategies of Social Reproduction ”, in R. Forster and O. R a n u m (ed s.), Family and Society: Selections from the Annales (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U niversity Press. 1976), pp. 117-44. 54 T h e research leading up this study was carried out with other projects between i960 and 1970. In the context of an analysis of econom ic and social structures carried out first in various villages in Kabvlia, then in the Collo region, and finally in the Chelif valley and Ouarsenis, I collected genealogies which attempted to situate in a rough way the relative econom ic positions of groups brought together by marriage. Statistical analysis of these genealogies, carried out between 1962 and 1964, established certain extrem ely obvious relationships such as the higher rate of endogamy am ong marabout families or the dyssym m etry of matrimonial exchanges betw een groups separated by econom ic inequalities. But it was impos­ sible not to feel the artificial and abstract nature of the distributions and groupings which it was necessary to carry out in order to calculate rates of parallel-cousin marriage. H aving abandoned the study of genealogies, which had yielded only negative information, for the analysis of ritual, I soon realized that the variations observable in the unfolding of sequences of ritual actions, which I had initially been led to treat as sim ple "variants”, corresponded, in the case of marriage, to unions which were structurally and functionally different, the ritual deployed in full for marriages between great fam ilies from different tribes being reduced to its simplest form for marriage between parallel cousins: thus each marriage (and each form which the rite takes) appeared as a m om ent of a strategy the principle of which lies in objective conditions of a particular type and not in a norm explicitly posited and obeyed, or in an unconscious " m o d el”. So it was not possible to give an account of matrimonial exchanges unless, in addition to the purely genealogical relationship between the spouses, one established the objective relationship betw een the positions in the social structure of the groups brought together by the marriage, the history of the econom ic and sym bolic exchanges which had occurred betw een them , and the state of those transactions at the mom ent when matrimonial negotiation was undertaken, the history of that negotiation, the m om ent at which it took place in the lives of the spouses (childhood or adolescence), its length, the agents responsible for it, t h e exchanges to which it gave rise, and in particular the value of the bridewealth, etc. In other words, the study of matrimonial exchanges cannot be separated from the fam ilies’ econom ic and social history, of which a genealogical diagram gives only a skeleton. T h is is w'hv I undertook to reconstitute a fam ily’s social history, without really being able to com plete the task, which would in fact be interminable: this w'ork, which made it possible to measure in concrete terms all that the ordinary genealogist neglects, also provided most of the illustrations for the theoretical analyses set out here. 55 See Claude Levi-Strauss, " L e problem e des relations de parente”, in J. Berque (ed .), Systemes de parente (C ontributions to the interdisciplinary confercnce on M oslem societies; Paris, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, 1959), pp. 13-14* 56 Introduction a deux theories d ’anthropologie sociale (Paris: M outon, 1971), p. 11957 R. N eedham , " T h e Formal A nalysis of Prescriptive Patrilateral Cross-cousin Marriage”, Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, 14 (1958), pp. 199-219.

N otes jo r pp . 31-33


;8 On the deductive relationship between kinship term inology and kinship attitudes, see A . R. RadclifTe-Brown, Structure and Function in Prim itive Society (L ondon: Cohen and W est, 1952), p. 62, and African Systems o f K inship and Marriage (L ondon: Oxford U niversity Press, i960), introduction, p. 25; Levi-Slrauss, Structural Anthropology, p . 38. On the term ju ral and the use which RadcliffeBrown makes of it, see D um ont, Introduction a deux theories, p. 41: "jural” relationships are those "which are subject to precise, binding prescriptions, w hether concerning people or th in gs”. 59 "Principles of Social Organization in Southern K urdistan”, Universitetets Ethnografiske Museum Bulletin, no. 7, Oslo, 1953. 60 R. F . M urphy and L . Kasdan, "T he Structure of Parallel Cousin M arriage”, American Anthropologist, 61 (February 1959), pp. 17-29. 61 T he majority of earlier investigators accepted the native explanation that endoga­ m ous marriage had the function of keeping the property in the fam ily, advancing as evidence - and w ith som e reason - the closeness of the relationship between marriage and inheritance practices. Against this explanation Murphy and Kasdan very rightly object that the Koranic law which gives to a woman half of a so n ’s share is rarely observed, and that the fam ily can in any case count on the inheritance contributed by in-marrying w om en (H . G ranqvist, " Marriage Con­ ditions in a Palestinian V illage”, Commentationes Humanarum, Societas Scientiarium Fennica 3 (1931); H . Rosenfield, "An Analysis of Marriage Statistics for a M oslem and Christian Arab V illage”, International Archives o f Ethnography, 48 ( i 957)> PP- 32-62)62 Both these theories accept an undifferentiated definition of function, which reduces it to the function for the group as a whole. For exam ple, Murphy and Kasdan write, " Most explanations of patrilateral parallel cousin marriage are of a causal-motivational kind, in which the institution is explained through reference to the consciously felt goals of the individual role players. We have not attempted to explain the origin of the custom in this paper but have taken it as a given factor and then proceeded to analyze its function, i.e. its operation within Bedouin social structure. It was found that parallel cousin marriage contributes to the extrem e fission of agnatic lines in Arab society, and, through in-marriage, encysts the patrilineal segm en ts” ("Structure of Parallel C ousin M arriage”, p. 27). 63 J. Cuisenier, "Endogam ie et exogamie dans le mariage arabe”, L ’Homme, 2, 2 (M av-A ugust 1962), pp. 80-105. 64 " It has long been knowrn that societies which advocate marriage betw een certain types of kin adhere to the norm only in a small number of cases, as demonstrated by Kunstadter and his team through the use of computer sim ulations. Fertility and reproduction rates, the demographic balance of the sexes and the age pyramid never show the perfect harmony necessary for every individual, when the tim e com es for him to marry, to be assured of finding a suitable spouse in the prescribed degree, even if the kinship nomenclature is broad enough to confuse degrees of the same type but unequally distant, often so much so that the notion of a com m on descent becom es m erely theoretical” (Levi-Strauss, Elementary Structures o f Kinship, p. xxx). 65 T he calculation of "rates of endogam y” by genealogical level, an unreal intersec­ tion of abstract "categories”, leads one to treat as identical, by a second-order abstraction, individuals w ho, although on the same level of the genealogical tree, may be of widely differing ages and w hose marriages for this very reason may have been arranged in different circum stances corresponding to different states of the matrimonial market. Or, conversely, it may lead one to treat genealogically





69 70

N o tes f o r p p . 3 3 - 3 6 separate but chronologically sim ultaneous marriages as different - it being pos. sible, for exam ple, for a man to marry at the same time as one of his uncles. "Som e Structural Aspects of the Feud among the Cam el-herding Bedouin of C yrenaica”, A frica, 37, 3 (July 1967), pp. 261-82. Murphy was saying the same thing but without drawing conclusions when he remarked that genealogies and the manipulation of genealogies have as their main function the encouragement of the vertical integration of social units which parallel-cousin marriage tends to divide and close in upon them selves. T h e most rigorously checked genealogies do indeed contain system atic lacunae: since the strength of the group's m em ory of an individual depends on the value they attach to him or her at the m om ent of data-collecting, genealogies are better at recording men (and m en ’s marriages), especially w hen they have produced many male descendants, than at recording w om en (except, of course, when the latter married within the lin ea g e); they record close marriages better than distant marriages, single marriages rather than much-married individuals ’ com plete series of marriages (polygam y ; m ultiple marriages after divorce or the partner’s death). And there is every reason to believe that entire lineages may be left unmentioned by informant* w hen the last representative has died without leaving any descen­ dants or (which am ounts to the same thing) without male descendants. It is as instruments of knowledge and cbnstruction of the social world that kinship structures fulfil a political function (in the same way as religion and all other ideologies). What are term s of address and reference, if not categories of kinship, in the etym ological sense of collective, public im putations? (Kategoreisthai: to accuse publicly, to im pute a thing to som eone in front of everyone). The constituting power of these designations, pregnant with a universe of prescriptions and taboos, is brought hom e when one considers all that is contained in a phrase like " S h e’s your sister” - a n im perative declaration which is the sole practical statem ent of the incest taboo. But, though every social relationship is organized in terms of a representation of the social universe, structured in accordance with kinship categories, it would be naive to suppose that social practices, even in relationships with kinsm en, are im plied in their genealogical definition. T h e error is that of all academ icism s, which subject the production to the rules they have retrospectively derived from the product. A new-born child is not normally given the name of a living relative; this is avoided, because it would mean "bringing him back to life ” before he was dead, thereby throwing dow n an insulting challenge, and, worse, casting a curse on h im ; this is true even when the breakup of the undivided patrimony is consecrated by a formal sharing out or when the family splits up on m oving to the city or emigrating to France. A father cannot give his son his own first name, and when a son does bear his father’s name it is because the father died ‘'leaving him in his m other’s w o m b ”. But, here as elsewhere, there is no lack of subterfuges and loopholes. Som etim es the name the child was first given is changed so as to give him a name made available by the death of his father or grandfather (the original name is then reserved for private use, by his mother and the women of the fam ily). Som etim es the same first name is given in slightly different form s to several children, with an elem ent added or suppressed (e.g . M ohand Ourabah instead of Rabah, and vice versa ; Akli instead of Mohand Akli, and vice versa) or with a slight alteration (Beza instead of Mohand A m eziane, Hamimi or Dahmane instead of Ahmed, Ouali or Alilou instead of Ali, or again, Seghir or Mohand Seghir - arabicized forms - instead of Meziane or Mohand A m eziane). Similarly, although giving a child the same name as his elder brother is avoided, certain

N o tes f o r p p . 3 8 -4 3



73 74



associations of names w hich are very close to one another or derived from the sam e name are much appreciated (Ahc&ne and E lhocine, A hm ed and M ohamed, Seghir or Meziane and M oqrane, e tc .), especially if one of them is the name of an ancestor. Sincc the more integrated the fam ily is, the greater the range of unusable first-names, the choice of first names actually made gives an indication of the "strength of feelin g ” in the lineage. T h e sam e nam e, or whole series com posed of the same names, may coexist in a genealogy, running down parallel lin e s: the more remote the com m on origin (or the weaker the unity between the sub-groups), the more it seem s legitim ate to use the sam e names, thus perpetuating the m em ory of the same ancestors in increasingly autonom ous lineages. T o make com pletely explicit the im plicit demand which lies behind genealogical inquiry, as it lies behind all inquiries, one would first have to study the social history of the genealogical tool, paying particular attention to the functions w hich, in the traditions of w hich anthropologists are the product, have produced and reproduced the need for this instrument, viz. the problem s of inheritance and succession. T h is social genealogy of genealogy would have to extend into a social history of the relationship between the " scien tific” uses and the social uses of the instrum ent. But the m ost im portant thing would be to carry ou t an epistem ological study of the mode of investigation which is the precondition for production of the genealogical diagram. T h is would aim to determ ine the full significance of the ontological transmutation which learned inquiry brings about sim ply by virtue of the fact that it dem ands a quasi-theoretical relation to kinship, im plying a break with the practical relation directly oriented towards functions. U nder the network of genealogical relationships is dissim ulated the network of practical relationships, which are the product of the history of the econom ic and sym bolic exchanges. It can be shown in a particular case (P . Bourdieu, Esquisse d ’une theorie de la pratique, precede de trois etudes d ’ethnologie kabyle (Paris and Geneva: Librairie D roz, 1972), pp. 85-8) that the agents organize their practice in relation to the useful divisions, finding in the genealogical representation an instrum ent of legitim ation. D um on t, Introduction a deux theories d ’anthropologie sociale, pp. 122-3. T he ritualization of violence in fighting is doubtless one of the most typical manifestations of the dialectic of strategy and ritual: although the battles were alm ost always motivated by harm done to econom ic or sym bolic interests - the theft of an animal or an insult to mem bers of the group, e.g . the shepherds their lim its were set by the ritualized m odel of the war of honour, which applied even more strictly in the seasonal gam es, also endow ed with a ritual function, such as the ball games played in autumn and spring (see Bourdieu, Esquisse, pp. 21-3). It is possible to understand in term s of this logic, i.e. as the sym bolic manipulation of violence aimed at resolving the tensions arising from contact between alien and som etim es traditionally hostile groups, all the particu­ larly strict rites to w hich marriage between distant groups gives rise. Rules and ritual becom e increasingly necessary as it ceases to be possible to count on the autom atic orchestration of practices that is ensured by hom ogeneity of habitus and interests (w hich explains, in a general w ay, why the ritualization of inter­ actions rises with the distance between the individuals or groups and hence with the size of the groups). T h u s, the seem ingly most ritualized acts in the marriage negotiation and in the ceremonials accom panying the wedding - which by their degree of solem nity have the secondary function of declaring the social significance of the marriage (the







N otes fo r p p . 4 4 -4 7 solem nity of the cerem ony tending to rise with the families' position in the social hierarchy and with the genealogical distance betw een them ) - constitute so many opportunities to deploy strategies aimed at manipulating the objective meaning of a relationship which is never entirely unequivocal, whether by choosing the inevitable and - making a virtue of necessity - scrupulously conform ing to the proprieties, or by disguising the objective significance of the marriage under the ritual intended to celebrate it. T h is explains in part the early age of marriage; the unmarried girl is the very incarnation of the group’s vulnerability; “ the straightest of them is twisted as a sick le”, says the proverb. So the father’s ch ief concern is to get rid of this danger as quickly as possible by putting her under the protection of another man. J. Chelhod, who reports th a t“ in the low language of A leppo, prostitutes are called 'daughters of the maternal a u n t”’, also quotes a Syrian proverb which expresses the same disapproval of marriage with the m other’s sister’s daughter: “ Because of his impure character, he married his maternal aunt’s daughter” ( * Le mariage avec la cousine parallele dans le system e arabe ” , L ’Homme, 4, 3-4 (July-D ecem ber 1964), pp. 113-73). Similarly, in Kabylia, to express the total lack of any genea­ logical relationship, men will say, “ What are you to me? N ot even the son of the daughter of my m other’s sister [mis Mis kh alti].” An indirect confirmation of the meaning given to marriage betw een parallel cousins may be seen in the fact that the person responsible for the solemn opening of the ploughing, the action hom ologous with inaugural marriage, had no political role to play and that his duties w ere purely honorary, or, one might say, symbolic, i.e. at once undem anding and respected. T h is 6ara/ui-endowed person is referred to by the names am ezw ar (the first), aneflus (the man of trust) or aqdhim (the elder), amghar (the old m an), amas'ud (the man of luck), or, more precisely, am ezw ar, aneflus, amghar nat-yuga (the first, the man of trust, the old man of the team of oxen or of the plough). T he most significant term, because it explicitly states the ploughing-m arriage homology manifested by countless other indications, is unquestionably boula'ras (the man of the w edding). T h e same connotation is found in another designation - mefthah n ss'ad (the key of good luck, he who opens) (see E. Laoust, Mots et choses berberes: notes de linguistique et d ’ethnographie, Paris: Challamel, 1920). “ You must marry your paternal uncle's daughter, even if she has fallen into neglect.” And various other proverbs point in the same direction: "Turn with the road if it turns. Marry the daughter of your 'amm if she has been abandoned [is lying fallow ]” ; " T h e daughter of your ramm even if she has been abandoned; the road of peace even if it tw ists.” A s the metaphor show s (the twisted road as opposed to the straight way), parallel-cousin marriage (like marriage to a brother’s widow) is seen more than often not as a forced sacrifice which it is desirable to turn into a voluntary subm ission to the call of honour. “ If you do not marry the daughter of your amm, w ho will take her? You are the one who must take her, whether you want to or n o t.” “ Even if she be ugly and worthless, her paternal uncle is expected to take her for his son; if h e seeks a wife for his son elsewhere, people will laugh at him , and say: *He has gon e and found a stranger for his son, and left his brother’s daughter.’” But here, too, every sort of com prom ise and, of course, strategy, is to be found: although in the case of land, the best-placed relative may be aware that more distant kin would willingly steal a march on him and win the sym bolic and material advantage accruing from such a meritorious purchase, or, in the case of the vengeance of honour, that a rival avenger is ready to step in and take over

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the revenge and the ensuing honour, nothing similar occurs in the case of marriage, and there may be many ways of backing out: som etim es the son takes flight, with his parents’ connivance, thereby providing them with the only acceptable excuse that a brother can be given. Short of this extrem e solution, it is not uncom m on for the obligation to marrv left-over daughters to devolve upon the "poor relations’*, w ho are bound by all sorts of " obligations’* to the richer m em bers of the group. And there is no better proof of the ideological function of marriage to the parallel cousin (or to any female cousin in the paternal lineage, however distant) than the use that may be made, in such cases, of the exalted representation of this ideal marriage. Physical and mental infirmity presents an extrem ely difficult problem for a group which rigorously denies social status to a woman without a husband or even to a man w ithout a wife (even a widower is obliged to rush into a new marriage). All the more so when these infirmities are seen and interpreted through the mythico-ritual categories: one can imagine the sacrifice it represents - in a u n i­ verse in w hich a w ife can be repudiated because she has a reputation for bringing bad luck - to marry a woman who is left-handed, half-blind, lame, or hunchbacked (this deform ity representing an inversion of pregnancy) or who is sim ply sick and weak, all om ens of barrenness and wickedness. "You give w heat, but take barley.” "You give wheat to bad teeth. ” "Make your offspring out o f clay ; if you d on ’t get a cooking pot you will get a couscous d ish .” A m ong the eulogies of parallel-cousin marriage I have collected, the follow ing are typical: "Sh e will not ask you for m uch for herself, and there will be no need to spend a great deal on the w ed d in g.” " H e may do what he will with his brother’s daughter and no evil will com e from her. Thereafter he will live in greater unity with his brother, doing as their father recomm ended for the sake of brotherhood [thaymats]: 'D o not listen to your w om en! ’” " T h e woman who is a stranger w ill despise you, she will be an insult to your ancestors, believing that hers are more noble than yours. Whereas w ith the daughter of your 'amm, your grandfather and hers are one; she will never say 'a curse on your father’s father’. T h e daughter of your 'amm will not abandon you. If you have no tea she will not dem and any from you, and even if she should die of hunger in your house, she w ill bear it all and never complain about y o u .” A . Hanoteau, Poesies populaires de la K abylie du D jurdjura (Paris: Imprimerie Imperiale, 1867), p. 475. Jurists’ fascination with what survives of matrilineal kinship has led them to take an interest in the case of the aw rith, which they see, to use their own term inology, as a "contract for the adoption of an adult m a le” (for Algeria, see G . H . Bousquet, " N o te sur le mariage mechrouth dans la region de G ouraya”, Revue Algerienne, January-Februarv 1934, pp. 9 -1 1, and L. Lefevre, Recherches sur la condition de la femme kabyle, Algiers: Carbonel, 1939; for M orocco, G . M arcy, "Le mariage en droit coutum ier zem m ou r”, Revue Algerienne, Tunisienne et Marocaine de Legislation et Jurisprudence, July 1930, and "L es vestiges de la parente maternelle en droit coutum ier berbere”, Revue Africaine, no. 85 (1941), pp. 187-211: Capitaine Bendaoud, " L ’adoption des adultes par contrat mixte de mariage et de travail chez les Beni M g u ild ”, Revue Marocaine de Legislation, Doctrine, Jurisprudence Cherifiennes, no. 2 (1935), pp. 34-40; Capitaine T u rb et, " L ’adoption des adultes chez les Ighezrane”, ibid. p. 40, and no. 3 (1935), p. 41). For exam ple, in a large family in the village of Aghbala in Lesser Kabylia, of 218 male marriages (each man’s first) 34% were with fam ilies outside the lim its of the tribe; only 8 % , those with the spatially and socially m ost distant groups,

2 10

* 86




N otes f o r p p . 5 5 -5 4 present all the features of prestige marriages: they are all the work of one family which wants to distinguish itself from the other lineages by original matrimonial practices. T he other distant marriages (26% ) merely renew established relation­ ships (relationships "through the w o m en ” or "through the maternal uncles ”, constantly maintained on the occasion of marriages, departures and returns, funerals and som etim es even large work projects). T w o thirds of the marriages (66% ) were made within the tribe (m ade up of nine villages): apart from marriages with the opposing clan, which are very rare (4% ) and always have a political significance (especially for the older generations) on account of the traditional antagonism betw een the two groups, all the other unions fall within the class of ordinary marriages. Only 6 % of the marriages were made w ithin the lineage (as against 17% in the other lineages and 39% in the field of practical relationships): 4% with the parallel cousin and 2% with another cousin (and it must be added that in tw o-thirds of these cases the fam ilies w hich make this marriage have abandoned undivided ow nership). T h e follow ing testim ony is particularly significant: "As soon as her first son was born, Fatima set about finding his future wife. She never missed an opportunity - she kept her eyes open on all occasions, in her neighbour’s houses, among her own fam ily, in the village, when visiting friends, at w eddings, on pilgrimages, at the fountain, far from hom e, and even when she had to go and present her condolences. In this way she married off all her children w ithout difficulty and almost without noticing it ” (Yam ina Ait Amar Ou Said, Le manage en Kabyhe (Fichier de D ocum entation Berbere), i960, p. 10). As I have shown elsewhere (cf. Esquisse, pp. 110-12), the frequency and solemnity of ritual acts increase as one m oves from marriages contracted within the un­ divided family or practical kinship, through marriages within close and then distant practical relationships, and finally to extra-ordinary marriages. Everything takes place as if extra-ordinary marriages gave us the opportunity to grasp in its achieved form a ceremonial which is reduced to its sim plest expression when the marriage is situated in the ordinary universe. If we leave aside the mythical idealization (blood, purity, the inside) and ethical exaltation (honour, virtue, etc.) surrounding purely agnatic marriage, we find that these ordinary' marriages are described no differently from parallel-cousin marriage. For exam ple, marriage with the father’s sister’s daughter is regarded, like marriage with the parallel cousin, as capable of securing agreement among the w om en and the w ife’s respect for her husband’s relatives (her khal and her khalt) at the lowest cost, since the tension resulting from the rivalry implicitly triggered off by any marriage betw een different groups over the status and living conditions offered to the young wife has no reason to occur at this degree of familiarity. T hese extra-ordinary marriages are not subject to the constraints and proprieties which apply to ordinary marriages (partly because they have no " seq u el”) : apart from the cases in which the defeated group (clan or tribe) w ould give the victorious group a w om an, or, to show that there was neither winner nor loser, the tw o groups exchanged w om en, it also som etim es happened that the victorious group would give the other group a woman without taking anything in return, but then the marriage took place not between the most powerful fam ilies, but between families asymmetrically situated: a small family in the victorious group gave a woman to a great family in the other group. T h e victorious group intended to show , by the very inequality of the union, that the least of its ow n members was superior to the greatest of its opponents.

Notes f o r p p . 5 4 -6 2

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90 "Marriage afar is e x ile ” (a z w a j lab'adh d ’anfi): "Marriage outside, marriage into e x ile ” (a z w a j ibarra, azw ajelgh u rba), a m other often says when her daughter has been given to another group in which she has no acquaintances ( thamusni) and not even distant kin (arriha, a scent - of her native land). It is also the song of the wife who has been married into exile: "O m ountain, open your door to the exile. Let her see her native land. Foreign soil is the sister of death, for man as for w om an .” 91 T h e generalization of monetary exchanges and of the associated calculative disp o­ sitions has brought about a decline of this tradition (w hich was kept up longer in more profane exchanges such as the sale of a yoke of oxen) by destroying the am biguities which characterized it and reducing it to a sham eful and ridiculous haggling over the am ount of the bridewealth. 92 In such a system , the failures of the reproduction m echanism s - matrimonial misalliance, sterility leading to disappearance of the lineage, the break-up of undivided ownership - are undoubtedly the principal factors responsible for trans­ form ations of the econom ic and social hierarchy. 93 T h e countless chikayat, som e of which com e before the courts, are motivated not by a spirit of " q u ib b lin g ” but by the intent of throwing down or taking up a challen ge: the sam e is true of the (very rare) lawsuits which have been conducted in the hope of obtaining the annulm ent of a land sale in the name of the right of pre-em ption. 94 T h e sim ple challenge to the point of honour ( thirzi nennif, the act of challenging; sennif"by nif, I challenge you! I dare you! ”) is not the sam e thing as the offence w hich calls hurma into question. There is derision for the attitude of the nouveau riche w ho, ignorant of the rules of honour and attem pting to redress a slur upon hurma, riposted by challenging his offender to beat him in a race or to lay out more thousand-franc notes. H e was confusing two totally different orders, the order of the challenge and the order of the offence which involves the most sacred values. An attack on hurma tends to exclude evasions and settlem ents such as dtya, com pensation paid to the victim ’s family by the m urderer’s fam ily. O f the man w ho accepts, people say, " H e’s a man w h o’s agreed to eat his brother’s blood; for him , only the belly co u n ts.” In the case of a slur upon hurma, albeit indirectly or thoughtlessly, the pressure of opinion is such as to rule out any outcom e other than vengeance: if vengeance is not forthcom ing, the coward lacking in nif can only choose between dishonour and exile. 95 H onour in the sense of esteem is term ed sar: essar is the secret, prestige, radiance, " glory”, "presence”. It is said of a man that " essar follow s him and shines about h im ”, or that he is protected by "the fence of essar” (zarb nessar) : the holder of essar is exem pt from challenge and the w ould-be offender is paralysed by its m ysterious influence, by the fear (alhiba) it inspires. T o put a man to sham e is "to take away his essar” (or " to take away his lah ya”, resp ect): essar, the indefinable attribute of the man of honour, is as fragile and vulnerable as it is im ponderable. " T h e burnous of essar”, say the K abyles, "lies lightly on a m an’s shoulders.” 96 A nd indeed the customary law’s, which all, w ithout exception, provide for sanctions against the person who murders the man from whom he is to inherit, are evidence that overt conflicts were freq u en t: " If a man kills a relative (w hose heir he is) unjustly and so as to inherit from him , the djemaa shall take all the murderer’s g o o d s” (qanun of the Iouadhien tribe, reported in Hanoteau and Letourneux, L a K abylie et les coutumes kabyles, vol. in , p. 432; see also pp. 356, 358, 368, etc.).


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97 Here is just one typical testim ony relating to the breaking up of undivided ownership: "You can’t find two brothers w ho live together (za d d i) now , still less we w ho are not sprung from the same w om b. I swear that I can't even remember what relation I am to dadda Braham. Sooner or later it’s bound to happen, and everyone in his heart wants it to , everyone thinks he does too much for the others *If I only had my w ife and children, I w ouldn’t have to work so hard or *I would have reached the "divine throne" [the seventh h eaven ].’ O nce people start thinking like that, there's nothing for it, it’s all over. It’s like a canker. T h e women already thought that way, and when the men join in and start saying the same things, it’s finished. T h a t’s what all the w om en want; they are the enem ies of za d d i, because the devil is in them : they do all they can to contam inate the men. With their determ ination, they never fail.” 98 T he weakening of the cohesive forces (correlative with the slum p in symbolic values) and the strengthening of the disruptive forces (linked to the appearance of sources of monetary incom e and to the ensuing crisis of the peasant economv) lead to refusal of the elders’ authority and of the austere, frugal aspects of peasant existence; the younger generation demand the right to dispose of the profit of their labour, in order to spend it on consum er goods rather than on the svmbolic goods which would increase the fam ily’s prestige and influence. "In the past, no one dared to ask for the heritage to be broken up. T here was the authority of the elders. If anyone had tried, h e’d have been beaten, cast out, and cursed: ‘He is a cause of bankruptcy \lakhla ukham, the fallow of the h o u se].’ *He wants it all shared out ’ [itsabib ibbatu] ’: the elders refuse to 'give him the share-out ’. Now everybody insists on their rights. Once it was 'eat your piece of wheatcake and keep q uiet’: once, being head of the fam ily, goin g to market, sitting in thajma'th, meant som ething. N ow , everyone knows that w idow s’ houses are more prosperous than those of men [of honour]. 'T h o se w ho were children only yesterday want to run things n o w !”’ 99 W ithout speculating as to the causal link between these facts, it may be noted that " illnesses of acute jealousy ” (atan an-tsismin thissamamin, the sickness of bitter jealousy) receive great attention from relatives, especially mothers, w ho wield a whole arsenal of curative and prophylactic rites (to suggest an insurmountable hatred, reference is made to the feeling of the little boy w ho, suddenly deprived of his m other’s affection by the arrival of a new baby, grew thin and pale like som eone moribund, am'ut, or " con stip ated ”, bubran). 100 It is significant that customary law, which only exceptionally intervenes in dom estic life, explicitly favours undivided ownership ( thidukli bukham or z a d d i): "People living in a family association pay no fine if they fight. If they separate, they pay like other p eo p le” (Hanoteau and Letourneux, L a K abylie, vol. in , p423)101 A female informant gives a typical account of how this sort of marriage is arranged: "Before he had leant to walk, his father found him a bride. One evening, after supper, Arab went to call on his elder brother (dadda). They chatted. His brother’s w ife had her daughter on her lap; the little girl s t r e t c h e d out her arms towards her uncle, w ho picked her up, saying 'M ay G od make her Idir’s wife! T h at’s so, isn ’t it, da d d a ? You w on ’t say no? *Arab’s brother replied: ‘What does a blind man want? Light! If you relieve me of the care she gives m e, may God take your cares from you. I give her to you, with her grain and her chaff, for n o th in g !” ’ (Y am ina Ait Amar Ou Said, L e m anage en K a b ylie, p. 10). 102 A s J. Chelhod rightly points out, all observations confirm that the tendency to

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107 108


marry endogam ously, which is more marked in nomadic tribes in a constant state of war than in settled tribes, tends to reappear or to be accentuated when there are threats of war or conflict ("L e mariage avec la cousine parallele dans le system e arabe”, pp. 113-73). T hose w ho perpetuate undivided ownership - or the appearances of it - often invoke the danger of separating so long as rival fam ilies remain united. It follow s from this axiom that the dom inant are functionalists, because function so defined - that is, in the sense of the structural-functionalist school - is simply the interest of the dom inant, or more precisely, the interest the dominant have in the perpetuation of a system consistent w ith their interests. T hose w ho explain matrimonial strategies by their effects - for exam ple, the "fission and fu sion ” of Murphy and Kasden are effects which one gains nothing by term ing functions - are no less remote from the reality of practices than those who invoke the efficacy of the rule. T o say that parallel-cousin marriage has the function of fission and/or fusion w ithout inquiring for whom, for w hat, to what (m easurable) extent, and under what conditions, is to resort, sham efacedly of course, to explanation by final causes instead of inquiring how the econom ic and social conditions charac­ teristic of a social formation im pose the pursuit of the satisfaction of a determinate type of interests which itself leads to the production of a determ inate type of collective effect. By m eans of secret negotiations, lhamgharth som etim es manages to interfere in a marriage being arranged entirely by the m en, and to make thislith promise to leave her com plete authority in the house, warning her that otherwise she will prevent the marriage. T he sons have som e justification in suspecting their m others of giving them for wives girls they - the mothers - will be able to dom inate w ithout difficulty. T h e marriages of the poor (especially those poor in sym bolic capital) are to those of the rich, mutatis mutandis, what female marriages are to male marriages. T he poor cannot afford to be too dem anding in matters of honour. " T h e only thing the poor man can do is show he is jealous.” T h is means that, like w om en, the poor are less concerned with the sym bolic and political functions of a marriage than w ith its practical functions, attaching, for exam ple, much more importance to the personal qualities of the spouses. T h e girl’s value on the marriage market is in a sense a direct projection of the value socially attributed to the tw o lineages of which she is the product. T h is can be seen clearly when the father has had children by several marriages: whereas the boys’ value is unrelated to their m others’ value, the girl’s value depends on the social status of their m others’ lineages and the strength of their m others’ positions in the fam ily. T h e relevant genealogy is to be found in Bourdieu, Esquisse, p. 149. "Spontaneous p sych ology” perfectly describes the "girls’ b o y ” (aqchich bu thaqchichin), coddled and cosseted by the w om en of the fam ily w ho are always inclined to keep him with them longer than the other boys; he eventually identifies with the social role created for him , and becom es a sickly, puny child, "eaten up by his many long-haired sisters”. T h e same reasons which lead the fam ily to lavish care on a product too rare and precious to be allowed to run the slightest risk - to spare him agricultural work and to prolong his education, thus settin g him apart from his friends by his more refined speech, cleaner clothes, and more elaborate food - also lead them to arrange an early marriage for him . A girl’s value rises with the number of her brothers, the guardians of her honour (in particular of her virginity) and potential allies of her future husband. T ales


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express the jealousy inspired by the girl with seven brothers, protected sevenfold like "a fig among the lea v es” : "A girl who was lucky enough to have seven brothers could be proud, and there was no lack o f suitors. She was sure of being sought after and appreciated. W hen she was married, her husband, her husband’s parents, the whole fam ily, and even the neighbours and their w ives respected herhad she not seven men on her side, was she not the sister of seven brothers, seven protectors? If there was the slightest argument, they came and set things right and if their sister com m itted a fault, or ever came to be repudiated, they would have taken her back home with them, respected by everyone. N o dishonour could touch them. N o one would dare to enter the lions’ d e n ” n o Particularly skilful strategies can make the m ost of the lim ited capital available, through bluff (difficult when one is operating in the area of familiar relationships) or, more sim ply, through shrewd exploitation of the am biguities of the symbolic patrimony or discrepancies betw een different com ponents of the patrimony. Although it may be regarded as part of sym bolic capital, which is itself relatively autonom ous of strictly econom ic capital, the skill w hich enables one to make the best use of the patrimony through shrewd investm ents, such as successful marriages, is relatively independent of it. T h u s the poor, w ho have nothing to sell but their virtue, can take advantage of their daughter’s marriage to gain prestigious allies or at least powerful protectors, by purveying honour to highly placed buyers. i n Inasmuch as they belong to the class of reproduction strategies, matrimonial strategies differ in no way in their logic from those strategies designed to preserve or increase sym bolic capital w hich conform to the dialectic of honour, whether they involve the buying back of land or the paying back of insults, rape, or murder; in each case, the same dialectical relationship can be observed between vulnerability (through land, w om en, the house, in short, hurma) and the protec­ tion (through men, rifles, the point of honour; in short, nif) which preserves or increases sym bolic capital (prestige, honour; in short, hurma).

C H A P T E R 2. S T R U C T U R E S A N D T H E H A B IT U S 1 T h e word disposition seem s particularly suited to express what is covered by the concept of habitus (defined as a system of dispositions). It expresses first the result of an organizing action, w ith a m eaning close to that of words such as structure; it also designates a w a y of being, a habitual state (especially of the body) and, in particular, a predisposition, tendency, propensity, or inclination. [T he sem antic cluster of " d isp osition ” is rather wider in French than in English, but as this note - translated literally - show s, the equivalence is adequate. Translator.] 2 T h e m ost profitable strategies are usually those produced, on the hither side of all calculation and in the illusion of the m ost "authentic” sincerity, by a habitus objectively fitted to the objective structures. T hese strategies w i t h o u t strategic calculation procure an im portant secondary advantage for those w ho can scarcely be called their authors - the social approval accruing from a p p a r e n t disinterestedness. 3 "H ere w e confront the distressing fact that the sam ple episode chain under analysis is a fragment of a larger segm ent of behavior which in the com plete r e c o r d contains som e 480 separate episodes. M oreover, it took only tw enty m inutes for these 480 behavior stream events to occur. If my w ife’s rate of behavior is roughly representative of that of other actors, we must be prepared to deal with

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9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18



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an inventory of episodes produced at the rate of som e 20,000 per sixteen-hour day per a c to r .. .I n a population consisting of several hundred actor-types, the number of different episodes in the total repertory must am ount to many m illions during the course of an annual cycle" (M . Harris, The N ature o f Cultural Things (N ew York: Random H ouse, 1964), pp. 74-5)See A . T ouraine, Sociologie de Vaction, Paris: Seu il, 1965, and "L a raison d'etre d’une sociologie de Taction”, Revue Frangaise de Sociologie, 7 (O ctober-D ecem ber 1966), pp. 518-27. J.-P. Sartre, L ’etreetle neant (Paris :G allim ard, 1943), p. 510 (Being and Nothingness (L ondon: M ethuen, 1957), pp. 434-5 [translation em en d ed ]); see also Sartre, "Repose a L efort”, L es Temps M odem es, no. 89 (A pril 1963), pp. 1571-1629. L ’etre el le neant, p. 669; Being and Nothingness, p. 580. L ’etre et le neant, p. 521; Being and Nothingness, p. 445. E. D urkheim , Les regies de la methode sociologique, 18th ed. (Paris: P U F , 1973), p. 18; English trans. T he Rules o f Sociological M ethod (N e w Y o rk : Free Press, 1964), p. 17. L ’etre et le neant, p. 543; Being and Nothingness, p. 465. Critique de la raison dialectique (Paris: Gallimard, i960), p. 161. Critique, p. 305. Critique, p. 357. Regies, p. 19; Rules, p. 18. Critique, p. 133. Critique, pp. 234 and 281. Critique, p. 294. Critique, p. 179. Can one avoid attributing to the permanence of a habitus the constancy with which the objective intention of the Sartrian philosophy (despite its language) asserts itself against the subjective intentions of its author, that is, against a permanent project of " conversion ”, a project never more m anifest and m anifestly sincere than in certain anathemas which would perhaps be less violent if they were not redolent of conscious or unconscious self-critique? (T h u s, for exam ple, one needs to bear in mind the fam ous analysis of the cafe waiter for a full appreciation of a sentence such as this: " T o all those w ho take them selves for angels, their neighbour’s activities seem absurd, because such people presum e to transcend the human enterprise by refusing to take part in i t ” : Critique, pp. 182-3). And when, in his analysis of the relationship betw een Flaubert and the bourgeoisie, Sartre makes the awakening of consciousness the basis of an existence and an oeuvre, he testifies that it is not sufficient to becom e aware of class condition in order to be liberated from the lasting dispositions it produces (see P. Bourdieu, "Champ du pouvoir, cham p intellectuel et habitus de classe”, Scolies, 1 (1971), pp. 7-26, esp. pp. 12-14). See the whole chapter entitled " R echtsordnung, K onvention und Sitte ”, in which Max Weber analyses the differences and transitions between custom , convention, and law (W irtschaft und Gesellschaft (C ologne and Berlin: Kiepenhauer und W itsch, 1964), vol. 1, pp. 240-50, esp. pp. 246-^9; English trans. "L aw , Convention and C u stom ”, Economy and Society, ed. G . Roth and C. W ittich (N ew York: Bedminster Press, 1968), 1, pp. 319-33). "We call this subjective, variable probability - which som etim es excludes doubt and engenders a certainty sui generis and which at other tim es appears as no more than a vague glim m er - philosophical probability, because it refers to the exercise of the higher faculty whereby we com prehend the order and the rationality of

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N otes fo r pp. 79-8$ things. All reasonable men have a confused notion of similar probabilities; this then determ ines, or at least justifies, those unshakable beliefs we call common sense ” (A . Cournot, Essai sur les fondements de la connaissance et sur les caracteres de la critique philosophique (Paris: H achette, 1922; 1st ed ., 1851), p. 70). E. Durkheim , devolu tion pedagogique en France (Paris: Alcan, 1938), p . 16. R. Ruyer, Paradoxes de la conscience et limites de I'automatisme (Paris: Albin M ichel, 1966), p. 136. T h is universalization has the same lim its as the objective conditions of which the principle generating practices and works is the product. T h e objective conditions exercise simultaneously a universalizing effect and a particularizing effect, because they cannot hom ogenize the agents whom they determ ine and w hom they consti­ tute into an objective group, w ithout distinguishing them from all the agents produced in different conditions. O ne of the merits of subjectivism and moralism is that the analyses in which it condem ns, as inauthentic, actions subject to the objective solicitations of the world (e.g . Heidegger on everyday existence and "das M a n ” or Sartre on the “ spirit of seriousness”) dem onstrate, per absurdum, the im possibility of the authentic existence that would gather up all pregiven significations and objective determ inations into a project of freedom . T he purely ethical pursuit of authenticity is the privilege of the leisured thinker who can afford to dispense with the econom y of thought which " inauthentic ” conduct allows. G . W. Leibniz, “ Second eclaircissem ent du system e de la communication des substances’* (1696), in Oeuvres philosophiques, ed. P. Janet (Paris: de Lagrange, 1866), vol. 11, p. 548. T h u s, ignorance of the surest but best-hidden foundation of group or class integration leads some (e.g . Aron, D ahl, etc.) to deny the unity of the dominant class with no other proof than the im possibility of establishing empirically that the mem bers of the dominant class have an explicit policy, expressly imposed by explicit co-ordination, and others (Sartre, for example) to see the awakening of class consciousness - a sort of revolutionary cogito bringing the class into existence by constituting it as a “ class for itse lf” - as the only possible foundation of the unity of the dominated class. L eibniz, “ Second eclaircissem ent”, p. 548. Were such language not dangerous in another way, one would be tempted to say, against all forms of subjectivist voluntarism , that class unity rests fundamentally on the “ class unconscious”. T h e awakening of "class consciousness” is not a primal act constituting the class in a blaze of freedom ; its sole efficacy, as with all actions of sym bolic reduplication, lies in the extent to which it brings to consciousness all that is im plicitly assumed in the unconscious mode in the class habitus. T h is takes us beyond the false opposition in which the theories of acculturation have allowed them selves to be trapped, w ith, on the one hand, the realism of the structure which represents cultural or linguistic contacts as contacts between cultures or languages, subject to generic laws (e.g . the law of the restructuring of borrowings) and specific laws (those established by analysis of the s t r u c t u r e s specific to the languages or cultures in contact) and on the other hand the realism o f the element, which em phasizes the contacts betw een the societies (regarded as populations) involved or, at best, the structures of the relations betw een those societies (dom ination, etc.). The People o f Alor, M inneapolis: U niversity of M innesota Press, 1944. Culture and Personality (N ew York: Random H ouse, 1965), p. 86.

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32 If iiliterate societies seem to have a particular bent for the structural games which fascinate the anthropologist, their purpose is often quite simply m nem onic: the remarkable homology to be observed in Kabvlia between the structure of the distribution of the fam ilies in the village and the structure of the distribution of graves in the cemetery (Ait Hichem , T izi Hibel) clearly makes it easier to locate the traditionally anonymous graves (with expressly transmitted landmarks added to the structural principles). 33 B. Berelson and G . A. Steiner, Human Behavior (N ew York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1964), p. 193. 34 The Singer o f the Tales (Cambridge, M a ss.: Harvard U niversity Press, i960), p. 30. 35 Ibid. p. 32. 36 Ibid. p. 24. 37 T hus, in the game of qochra, which the children play in early spring, the cork ball (the qochra) which is fought for, passed and defended, is the practical equivalent of woman. In the course of the game the players must both defend them selves against it and, possessing it, defend it against those trying to take it away. At the start of the match, the leader of the game repeatedly asks, "W hose daughter is sh e ? ” but no one will volunteer to be her father and protect her: a daughter is always a liability for men. And so lots have to be drawn for her, and the unlucky player w ho gets her must accept his fate. He now has to protect the ball against the attacks of all the others, while at the same time trying to pass it on to another player; but he can only do so in an honourable, approved way. A player whom the “ father” manages to touch with his stick, telling him “ S h e’s your daughter”, has to acknowledge defeat, like a man temporarily obliged to a socially inferior family from whom he has taken a w ife. For the suitors the tem ptation is to take the prestigious course of abduction, whereas the father wants a marriage that will free him from guardianship and allow him to re-enter the gam e. T h e loser of the game is excluded from the world of men ; the ball is tied under his shirt so that he looks like a girl who has been got pregnant. 38 It is said that formerly the wom en used to go to market alone; but they are so talkative that the market w ent on until the market time of the follow ing week. So the men turned up one day with sticks and put an end to their w ives’ gossip ing. . .I t can be seen that the “ m y th ” "exp lain s” the present division of space and work by invoking the "evil nature” of w om en. When a man wants to say that the world is topsy-turvy, he says that “ the w om en are going to market 39 A full presentation of the analysis of the internal structure of the Kabvle house, of which it has only been possible to give the indispensable outline here, can be found in P. Bourdieu, Esquisse d ’une theorie de la pratique (Paris and Geneva: Libraine D roz, 1972), pp. 45-69. 40 T h is means to say that the “ learning by d o in g ” hypothesis, associated with the name of Arrow (see K. J. Arrow, “ T he Econom ic Implications of Learning by D o in g ”, Review of Economic Studies, 29, 3, no. 80 (June 1962), pp. 155-73) is a particular case (whose particularity needs to be specified) of a very general law: every made product - including sym bolic products such as works of art, gam es, m yths, etc. - exerts by its very functioning, particularly by the use made of it, an educative effect which helps to make it easier to acquire the dispositions necessary for its adequate use. 41 Erikson’s analyses of the Yoruk might be interpreted in the same light (see E. H. Erikson, "Observations on the Yoruk: Childhood and World Im age” (U niversity of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology, vol. 35, no. 10, Berkeley: U niversity of California Press, 1943), pp. 257-302).




N otes f o r pp. 92-97

42 E. H. Erikson, "Childhood and Tradition in T w o American T ribes ”, in The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child (N ew York: International U niversities Press 1945), vol. 1, pp. 319-50. 43 Contributions to Psycho-analysis 1921-/945 (L on d on : Hogarth Press, 1948), p. 109m and p. 260m. 44 Every group entrusts to bodily automatisms those principles most basic to it and most indispensable to its conservation. In societies which lack any other recording and objectifying instrum ent, inherited knowledge can survive only in its embodied state. A m ong other consequences, it follows that it is never detached from the body which bears it and which - as Plato noted - can deliver it only at the price of a sort of gymnastics intended to evoke it: mimesis. T he body is thus con­ tinuously m ingled with all the knowledge it reproduces, which can never have the objectivity and distance stem m ing from objectification in writing. 45 A. Matheron, Individu et societe chez Spinoza (Paris: Editions de M inuit, 1969), P- 349- 46 T hus, practical mastery of what are called the rules of politeness, and in particular the art of adjusting each of the available formulae (e.g. at the end of a letter) to the different classes of possible addressees, presupposes the im plicit mastery, hence the recognition, of a set of oppositions constituting the im plicit axiomatics of a determinate political order: in the example considered these are (in France) the opposition between men and w om en, the former requiring " h om age”, the latter "salutations” or "sen tim en ts” ; the opposition between the older and the younger; the opposition betw een the personal, or private, and the impersonal - with administrative or business letters; and finally the hierarchical opposition between superiors, equals, and inferiors, which governs the subtle grading of marks of respect. 47 One of the reasons for the use of the term habitus is the wish to set aside the com m on conception of habit as a mechanical assembly or preformed programme, as H egel does when in the Phenomenology of Mind he speaks of " habit as dexterity 48 For a sociological application of these analyses, see P. Bourdieu, "A venirde classe et causalite du probable”, Revue Fran$aise de Sociologie, 15, (January-March *974)» PP‘ 3~ 42- English translation forthcoming. C H A P T E R 3. G E N E R A T I V E S C H E M E S A N D P R A C T I C A L L O G IC 1 T h e antigenetic prejudice leading to unconscious or overt refusal to seek the genesis of objective structures and internalized structures in individual or collec­ tive history com bines with the antifunctionalist prejudice, which refuses to take account of the practical functions w hich symbolic system s may perform; and together they reinforce the tendency of structuralist anthropology to credit historical system s with more coherence than they have or need to have in order to function. In reality these system s remain, like culture as described by Lowie, "things of shreds and patches”,-even if these patches are constantly undergoing unconscious and intentional restructurings and reworkings tending to integrate them into the system . 2 T h e history of perspective offered by Panofsky (E . Panofsky, " D ie Perspektive als 'sym bolische F orm ’”, Vortrage der Bibliothek Warburg, L eipzig and Berlin, 1924-5, pp. 258-330) is an exemplary contribution to a social history of conven­ tional m odes of cognition and expression; doubtless, in order to make a radical break with the idealist tradition of "symbolic forms*’ one would have to relate

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historical forms of perception and representation more systematically to the social conditions in which they are produced and reproduced (by express or diffuse education), i.e. to the structure of the groups producing and reproducing them and the position of those groups in the social structure. T h e degree to which the principles of the habitus are objectified in knowledges fixed and taught as such varies considerably from one area of activity to another: a rough count indicates that the relative frequency of highly codified sayings, proverbs, and rites declines as one m oves from the agrarian calendar (and the calendars closely associated with it, which are already less codified, such as the w om en’s w eaving and pottery calendar, and the cooking calendar) to the divisions of the day or the ages of human life, not to mention areas apparently given over to arbitrariness, such as the organization of the space inside the house, the parts of the body, colours, or animals. Striking evidence of the connivance between the anthropologist and his informant in legalist formalism may be found in the fact that the hierarchy of domains, in terms of their degree of objectification, more or l e s s matches their relative prominence in anthropologists’ data-collecting. Because its social function puts it into com petition with the M oslem calendar and the learned or semi-learned traditions associated with it - those which are conveyed by the ephem erides and almanacs and have long been diffused through the intermediary of the literate - the agrarian calendar is, of all the different domains of the tradition, the one which most directly bears the mark of Islamic contributions. T h is capital of knowledge is not distributed uniformly among all m em bers of the group (although the disparities are never so great as those found in literate societies with educational sy stem s): the division of labour between the sexes or the age-groups and (albeit in a rudimentary form) between the professions (with the oppositions between the peasant, the scholar, and the sm ith or the butcher) inclines the different categories of agents (w hose practical calendars, though different, are objectively orchestrated) to practise very different degrees of accu­ mulation of the various instrum ents handed on by the cultural tradition and, in particular, predisposes and prepares them in very different ways to memorize those instrum ents which are objectified in the form of codified (and som etim es written) knowledge. It is am ong the old women and the sm iths, both of whom occupy an am biguous position in the group, that one generally finds the greatest com petence in private magic, minor, optional rites, intended to serve private ends, such as the rites of curative or love magic, which generally make use of transparent sym bolism and sim ple ritual strategies, such as the transference of good or evil on to a person or an object; whereas it is the most influential members of the group, the oldest men of the most respected families, who are generally the most adept in the rites of collective magic, official, obligatory rites w hich, like the agrarian rites, involve the whole group because they fulfil the same function for every m em ber of the group. T h is sort of homogenization and unification was successfully undertaken by the great priestly bureaucracies of antiquity, w hich wielded sufficient authority to im pose a genuine religious code, with its rites performed on fixed dates regardless of fluctuations in the climate and the diversity of economic and social conditions. T he (arbitrary) mode of representation which has been adopted here to reconsti­ tute the logic im manent in representations and practices (and which runs the risk of encouraging a “ structuralist ” reading through the effect of a synoptic diagram) highlights the turning-points or thresholds (spring, autum n), while presenting the marked m om ents of the agrarian year as the ordinate points of a linear, oriented 8-2


7 8





13 14




N otes f o r p p . 10 0 -10 4 sequence (running from autum n to sum m er, i.e. from west to east, evening to morning, etc.) or as the points on a circle w hich may be obtained by folding the diagram along the axis X Y . Other informants even say it is im possible to know which is the first day of winter. T hese names refer to the legend of the borrowed days, which tells how winter (or January', or February, etc.) borrowed a few days from the next period so as to punish an old woman (or a goat, or a Negro) who had issued a challenge. Although it m ust not be forgotten that to bring together, in the form of a s e r ie s , a set of features present in a particular region is itself an entirely artificial syncretic operation, the three main series are indicated in the diagram, \[ z imirghane, amerdil, thamgharth, ahgan or thiftirine, nisan; thimgharine, hayan, nisan; el mwalah, el qw arah, el szcalah, e lfw a ta h . husum, natah, nisan. T hese s e r ie s could (for the sake of sim plicity) be said to correspond to the Djurdjura r e g i o n , to Lesser Kabylia, and, in the last case, to the most Islamized areas or to li t e r a t e informants. T h is was how an informant spoke of la'didal, a period of dreadful cold w h o s e com ing can never be predicted. It is m entioned in a song which the w om en s in g w hile working at the flour mill: " If la'didal are like the nights of hayan for m e . tell the shepherds to flee to the village.” And according to informants in th e Djurdjura region, one night in the month of bujember (no one knows which o n e ) water turns to blood. T h is sem i-scholarly series is som etim es called ma, qa, sa, fin, by a mnemonic device used by the marabouts, in which each name is represented by its initial. Sim ilarly, it is thanks to its m nem onic qualities that informants almost always cite the series of the divisions of the beginning of sum m er ( izegzaw en, iwraghen, imellalen, iquranen); the series is also som etim es designated by the first consonants of the roots of the Berber names for the divisions: z a , ra, ma, qin. Other taboos of hayan and husum: ploughing, w eddings, sex; working at night; making and firing pottery; preparing w ool; w eaving. At Ain A ghbel, during husum, all work on the land is forbidden - it is el faragh, em ptiness. It is inauspicious "to start any building work, celebrate a marriage, hold a feast, or buy an anim al”. In a general w ay, people refrain from any activity involving the future. Thafsuth, spring, is related to efsu, to undo, untie, to draw w ool, and in the passive, to open out, burgeon, flower. Marriages take place either in autum n, like the marriage of the earth and the sky, or in spring, in m id-A pril, w hen, according to a scholarly tradition, all the beings on the earth marry. Sterile w om en are recom m ended to eat boiled herbs picked during natah. A z a l denotes the daytim e, broad daylight (as opposed to night and m orning), and more especially the hottest m om ent of the sum m er day, devoted to rest. The "return of a z a l” is essentially marked by a change in the rhythm of daily a c t i v i t y , w’hich is analysed below. Just as acts of fecundation are excluded from the month of M ay, so sleep is excluded from the first day of sum m er: people take care not to sleep that day for fear of falling ill or losing their courage or their sense of honour (the seat of which is the liver, the place of ruh, the male sou l). D oubtless for the same reason, earth dug up on that day is used in the magic rites intended to reveal the weakening or disappearance of the point of honour (nif) in m en, and the stubborn­ ness in anim als w hich makes them resist training. Smoke is som etim es credited with fertilizing powers, w hich, at the tim e of in sfa,

N otes f o r p p . 1 0 4 - 1 1 0




21 22


24 25



mainly act on the fig-trees (w hose cycle is relatively independent of that of the cereals, and accompanied by a relatively small num ber of rites, ow ing to the fact that it involves no intervention ''against nature”). Sm oke, a synthesis of the moist and the dry obtained by burning moist things (green plants, branches, and vegetation gathered from damp spots, such as poplars or oleander), is believed to have the power to “ fecu n d ate” the fig-trees; fum igation is identified with caprification. A number of proverbs explicitly link the tw o p eriod s: for exam ple, it is often said that if there is a severe sirocco in smaim there will be cold weather and snow in lyali. T he word lakhrif is related to the verb kherref, m eaning “ to pick and eat fresh fig s”, and also “ to joke, to tell funny and often obscene stories, in the style of the wandering singers”, and som etim es “ to talk n on sen se” ( itskhernf "he’s ram bling”; akherraf, joker, buffoon). A similar effect may be observed in any social formation in which there coexist unequally legitim ate practices and know ledges: when m em bers of the working classes are questioned about their cultural practices and preferences, they select those which they regard as closest to the dom inant definition of legitimate practice. E. H usserl, Ideas: General Introduction to Pure Phenomenology, trans. W. R. Boyce G ibson (N ew York and L ondon: Collier, 1972), pp. 309-11. In a sort of com m entary on Saussure’s second principle (“ the signifier unfolds in tim e and has the characteristics it gets from tim e ”: F. de Saussure, Cours de linguistique generale (Paris: Payot, i960), p. 103; trans. W. Baskin as Course in General Linguistics (N ew York: Philosophical Library, 1959), p. 70), Cournot contrasts the properties of spoken or written discourse, "an essentially linear series” whose "mode of construction obliges us to use a successive, linear series of signs to express relationships which the mind perceives, or ought to perceive, sim ultaneously and in a different ord er”, with “ synoptic tables, family trees, historical atlases, mathematical tables, in which the surface expanse is more or less successfully exploited to represent system atic relations and links w hich it would be difficult to make out in the flow of d iscou rse” (A . C ournot). Essai sur les fondements de la connaissance et sur les caracteres de la critique philosophique (Paris: H achette, 1922), p. 364). See J. Favret, "La segm entarite au M aghreb”, L'Homme, 6, 2 (1966), pp. 105-11, and “ Relations de dependance et manipulation de la violence en K a b v lie”, L'H om m e, 8, 4 (1968), pp. 18-44. Set out in greater detail in P. Bourdieu, The Algerians (B oston: Beacon Press, 1962), pp. 14-20. T h e logic of rite and m yth belongs to the class of natural logics, which logic, linguistics, and the philosophy of language are beginning to explore, with very different assum ptions and m ethods. For exam ple, according to George Lakoff, one of the founders of “ generative sem an tics”, the “ fuzzy lo g ic ” of ordinary language is characterized by its use of “ fuzzy co n cep ts” and “ h ed g es”, such as sort oft pretty much, rather, loosely speaking, etc., which subject truth-values to a deform ation which classical logic cannot account for. T h e logic of practice ow es a number of its properties to the fact that what logic calls the “ universe of d iscou rse” there remains im plicit, in its practical state. One must never lose sight of the conditions w hich have to be fulfilled for a genuine universe of discourse to appear: the intellectual and material equipm ent needed for the successive operations of methodical recording; the leisure required to carry



28 29





N otes f o r p p . 1 1 0 - 1 1 6 out these operations and analyse their products; an *' interest” in such activities w hich, even if not experienced as such, cannot be dissociated from a reasonably expectation of material and/or sym bolic profit, i.e . from the existence of a market for discourse and metadiscourse, etc. It can be seen, in passing, that the points of view adopted on the house are opposed in accordance with the very logic (m ale/fem ale) which they a p p ly : this sort of reduplication, founded on the correspondence betw een social divisions and logical divisions, results in a circular reinforcem ent which no doubt makes an important contribution towards confining agents in a closed, finite world and a doxic experience of that world. J. N icod , L a geometrie dans le mondc sensible, w ith a preface by Bertrand Russell (Paris: P U F , 1962), pp. 43-4. For similar observations, see M . Granet, L a civilisation chinoise (Paris: A . Colin, 1929), passim and esp. p. 332. Another m odulation technique is association by assonance; it may lead to connections with no mythico-ritual significance (aman d laman, water is trust) or, on the other hand, to connections which are sym boli­ cally overdeterm ined (a zk a d a z q a , tom orrow is the grave). A s in poetry, the practical logic of ritual exploits the duality of sound and sense (and, in other cases, the plurality of m eanings of the same so u n d ); the double link, by sound and by m eaning, offers a crossroads, a choice between two paths, either of which may be taken, w ithout contradiction, at different tim es and in different contexts. Certain inform ants proceed in just this way w hen, avoiding mere recitation of the sem i-scholarly series, they reconstruct the calendar by means of successive dichotom ies. In another tale, the snake which a sterile woman had brought up as her son is rejected by its first w ife: it draw s itself up, swells, and breathes out a jet of poisonous flame (asqi, the tem pering of iron, also means poisoning) which reduces her to ashes. T h e agrarian calendar reproduces, in a transfigured form , the rhythm s of the farming year, or more precisely, the clim atic rhythm s as seen w hen translated into the alternation of labour periods and production periods w hich structures the farming year. (T h e pattern of rainfall is characterized by the opposition between the cold, wet season, from N ovem ber to April - with the m axim um rain or snow com ing in N ovem ber and D ecem ber, followed by a drier period in January and more rain in February and March - and the hot, dry season, from May to October - the driest m onths being June, July, and A ugust. T h e farmers’ dependence on the climate was obviously exacerbated by the lim ited traction power available - for ploughing - and the inefficiency of the techniques used sw ingplough and sickle - though som e are more dependent than others, since the owners of the best land and the best oxen can plough im m ediately after the first rains, even if the soil is sticky, whereas the poorest farmers often have to wait until they can borrow or hire a yoke of oxen; and the same is true of reaping - those richest in sym bolic capital can assem ble the labour force required for a quick harvest.) In the same w ay, the sym bolic equipm ent the rites can use naturally depends on what is in season (although in som e cases reserves are set aside specially for ritual use); but the generative schem es make it possible to find substitutes and to turn external necessities and constraints to good account within the logic of the rite itself (and this explains the perfect harmony between technical reason and mythic reason to be found in more than one case, e.g . in the orientation of the house). T hese schem es can be grasped only in the objective coherence of the ritual

N otes fo r p p .

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actions to w hich they give rise, although they can som etim es be almost directly apprehended in discourse, w hen for no apparent reason an informant "associates” two ritual practices which have nothing in com m on except a schem e (e.g . the schem e of sw elling, in one case in which an informant "related ”, by describing them one after the other, the meal eaten on the first day of spring - with adhris - and the w edding meal - w ith ufthyen). 34 Workmen w ho use a w ooden roller and an iron bar to raise a stone are applying the rule of the com position of parallel forces in the same direction ; they know how to vary the position of the fulcrum depending on their exact purpose and the w eight or volum e of the load, as if they were not unaware of the rule (which they would not be capable of form ulating expressly) that the greater the ratio betw een the two arms of the lever, the less force is needed to counterbalance a resistance - or more generally, the rule that a loss in displacem ent is a gain in force. T here is no reason to invoke the mysteries of an unconscious versed in physics, or the arcana of a philosophy of nature postulating a mysterious harmony betw een the structure of the human brain and the structure of the physical world. It m ight be interesting to know w hy the fact that the manipulation of language presupposes the acquisition of abstract structures and of rules for the carrying out of those operations (such as, according to C hom sky, the non-recursive nature of inversion) should arouse such w onderm ent. 35 T h is section owes much to Jean N icod. Cf. L a geometne dans le monde sensible. 36 Q uoted in G . Bachelard, L a poetique de I’espace (Paris: P U F , 1961), p. 201.

37 ^ id . 38 Cf. J. F. L e N y , Apprentissageetactivitespsychologiques(Paris: P U F , 1967), p. 137. 39 wModern sociologists and psychologists resolve such problem s by appealing to the unconscious activity of the mind; but when Durkheim was w riting, psychology and modern linguistics had not yet reached their main conclusions. T h is explains w hy D urkheim foundered in what he regarded as an irreducible antinom y. . . : the blindness of history and the purposiveness of consciousness. Between the tw o obviously stands the unconscious finality of the m i n d . . . I t i s . . . a t these interm ediate or lower levels - such as that of unconscious thought - that the apparent opposition betw een the individual and society disappears, and it becomes possible to m ove from one point of view to the oth er.” (C . Levi-Strauss, "La sociologie fran^aise”, in L a sociologie au X X e siecle, ed. G . Gurvich and Wr. E. Moore (Paris: P U F , 1947), vol. 11, p. 527). 40 T h is is why I cannot help feeling a certain unease at w riting and describing in words what, after a learning process analogous (mutatis mutandis) to that of the native agent, I first mastered practically: the concept of "resurrection” is what the outsider, lacking practical mastery of the schem es of " opening ” and " sw ellin g” and of the objective intent to which they are subordinate, needs in order to "understand” rites generated practically from these schem es. But then he runs the risk of giving a false "understanding” both of the "understanding” which such a concept makes possible, and of the practical "understanding” which does not need concepts. 41 T he most accom plished prov erbs are those which manage to com bine the necessity of a linguistic connection (w hich may range from mere assonance to a comm on root) with the necessity of a mythical connection (paronomasia, and in particular the highest variety, the word-play of philosophy, has no other basis). 42 M ost of these meanings are expressed through euphem ism s: e.g . the sense " extin gu ish ” is conveyed by ferrah, to gladden. 43 Basic senses: heavy/light, hot/cold, dull/brilliant.


N otes fo r p p . 1 2 2 - 1 2 7

44 T o cast behind is also, at a more superficial level, to neglect, despise (''to put behind one’s ear”), or more sim ply, not to face up to, not to confront. 45 Even in ordinary language, it w ould not be difficult to find the elem ents of a description of this approximate logic, w hich "gets b y ” in a “ rough and ready” way, "playing it by ear” and "follow ing its nose all is grist that com es to this mill. A few specim ens: I ’ll be back in a seco n d . . . just a t i c k .. . only a short ste p .. any m om ent n o w . . . much the sa m e. . . som ething lik e. . . sort o f . . . once in a blue m o o n . . . never in a thousand years. . . taking an etern ity . . . to some e x te n t .. . all b u t. . . at a rough g u e ss. . . a stone’s th ro w . . . spitting d istan ce.. so to s p e a k .. . the average is in the region o f . *. a small minority of trouble­ m a k e r s ... not to put too fine a point upon it. . . u m p t e e n ... w ithin a hair’s breadth. . . most of the t i m e .. . not e n tir e ly .. . v ir tu a lly .. . tolerab ly. . . etc. 46 T his is exactly Plato’s complaint against the m ythologists and poets: that they are incapable of re-producing a practice other than by " identifying them selves with som eone e ls e ” dia mimeseos, through mime (cf. for exam ple, Republic 393d). -47 Aristotle, Metaphysics, A 5, 986a-22sq. 48 It is significant that Em pedocles, w ho of all the pre-Socratic thinkers is the closest to the objective truth of rite, and hence the furthest removed from rite, uses terms as manifestly social as philia and neikos to name these tw o principles of ritual action. 49 On the identification of the opposition between, on the one hand, synkrisis and diakrisis, and on the other hand, genesis and phthora, see J. Bollack, Empedocle, vol. 1 (Paris: Editions de M inuit, 1965), p. 19m and p. 25113. 50 T h e preponderance assigned to the male principle, which enables it to impose its effects in every union, means that the opposition between the female-male (the male tem pered by union) and the male-male, is never overtly recognized or declared, despite the disapproval of certain form s of excess of the male virtues, such as "the D e v il’s point of honour [nt/J But it is nonetheless possible to set in this class the amengur, the man w ithout m ale descendants, the redhead (azegw ay) w ho sow s discord everywhere, who has no m oustache, whom nobody wants as a companion in the market, and w ho refuses indulgence at the last judgm ent, when everyone forgives offences; etc. 51 T h e duality of woman is retranslated into the logic of kinship in the form of the opposition betw een the patrilateral cross cousin and the matrilateral cross cousin. 52 T he path (abridh) and "com panionship” (elw am ) are opposed to emptiness (lakhla), to "solitude, the w ild ern ess” (elwahch). Thajma'th is that which can be em pty w ithin fullness; the path (and the crossroads) are fullness within em ptiness. 53 T h e way to get abundant butter is to go unseen to a crossroads used by the flocks, and there find a sm all stone and a few sticks; the stone is put in the dish in which the milk is kept and the sticks are burnt so that the smoke impregnates it (Westermarck). 54 Measuring operations, w hich im pose lim itation, finiteness, breakage, are h e d g e d with euphem ism s and magical precautions: the master of the land refrains from measuring his own crop and entrusts the task to a khammes or a neighbour ( w h o does it in his ab sen ce); ritual expressions are used to avoid certain num bers; ritual formulae are uttered (as they are every time anything is measured or w eighed), such as "M ay G od not measure out his bounty to u s ! ” Praise of beauty, h e a l t h (a child ’s, for exam ple), or wealth is an im plicit num bering, hence a cutting, a n d so it must be avoided and replaced with euphem ism s or neutralized with ritual formulae. Cutting operations (extinguishing, closin g, leaving, finishing, stopping,

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breaking, overturning, etc.) are named by means of euphem ism s: for exam ple, to say that the stores, the harvest, or the milk are all gone, an expression m eaning “ T here is abundance” is used. 55 It is also known that the harvesters wear a leather apron similar to the sm ith ’s (thabanda). 56 Circum cision ( khatna or thara - often replaced by euphem ism s based on dher, to be clean, neat) is a purificatory cut which, as Durkheim suggests, is supposed to confer the im m unity needed in order to confront the fearful forces enclosed in the vagina (cf. the use of the cauris, a sym bol of the vulva, as a magical protection; the destructive power attributed to menstrual blood; the sexual abstinence im posed on important occasions) and especially those w hich sexual intercourse unleashes by effecting the union of contraries (E . D urkheim , The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (L ondon: Allen and U nw in, 1915), pp. 3I4-'S )57 D ivination practices are particularly frequent on the first day of ennayer (in the middle of lya li, w hen the “ black” nights give way to the “ w h ite ’* nights) and at the tim e o f the renewal rites which mark the start of the new year and are centred on the house and the kanun (replacing the three hearthstones, w hitew ash­ ing the houses); for example, at dawn, the sheep and goats are called ou t, and it is regarded as unlucky if it is a goat that com es first, lucky if it is a sheep (cf. the days of the goat - or of the old wom an); the hearthstones are coated with a paste of w et clay, and it is reckoned that the year will be wet if the clay is wet in the m orning, dry if the clay is dry. T h is is explained not only by the inaugural role of the first day of ennayer but also by the fact that it com es in a period of waiting and uncertainty, when there is nothing to be done but try to anticipate the future. T h is is why the prognostication rites concerning family life and especially the com ing harvest are similar to those applied to pregnant w om en. 58 W inter, hom ologous with night, is the time w hen the oxen sleep in the stable (the night and the north of the house); the time of sexual intercourse (the partridge, whose eggs are sym bols of fecundity, mates during lya li). 59 " Chchetwa telsemlaqab netsat d yiwen w ergaz”, Fichier d A rchives Berberes, no. 19 (January 1947). WI shall kill your cattle, says winter. W hen I arise, the knives will set to w ork.” 60 T h e return of bad weather is som etim es explicitly attributed to the m aleficent action of the “ old women ” of this or that village of the tribe or the neighbouring tribes, i.e. w itches, each of whom has her particular day of the week. 61 In the tale called "the jackal’s marriage”, the jackal marries outside his own species; he marries the camel and, moreover, holds no w edding-feast. T he sky shows its disapproval by sending hail and storms. 62 May marriages suffer every sort of calamity and will not last. “ T h e cursed broom of M ay” is the exact opposite of the blessed broom of the "first day of sp rin g” : it brings ruin, em ptiness, and sterility to the house or stable in which it is used. 63 T hese various instruments - especially the sickle - are used in the prophylactic rites against the malignant powers of the w et, such as the djnun. 64 Salt has strong links with the dry and with sterility: the words m eaning to be hot, scorching, also mean to be spiced, strong (virile), as opposed to insipid, without bite, without intelligence (salt is sprinkled on babies so they w ill not be insipid, stupid, w itless). T h e man who acts frivolously is said to “ think he is scattering sa lt”; he thinks his acts are of no consequence. Oil shares these connotations: "T he sun is as scorching as o il.” 65 T he schem e of turning round and turning over is set to work in all the rites





69 70


72 73


Notes f o r p p . 1 3 1 - 1 3 5 intended to bring about a radical change, particularly an abrupt passage from the dry to the wet and especially from the wet to the dry: the threshold, which is in itself a point of reversal, is one of the favourite spots for such rites. It is also in terms of this schem e that any reversal or inversion of facts is con ceived : an unabashed liar is said to have “ put the east in the w e st”. H oeing, the only agrarian activity exclusively reserved for w om en, is opposed both to ploughing and to harvesting, operations which may not be entrusted to a woman except in case of absolute necessity, when they require a whole series of ritual precautions: she wears a dagger at her girdle, puts arkasen on her feet, etc. T h e corresponding period in the cycle of life, i.e. childhood, is also marked by a whole series of ritual operations w hich aim to separate the boy from his mother and the female world, causing him at the same tim e to be reborn in his father and his male relatives - in particular all the cerem onies marking his first entry into the male world, such as his first visit to the market, his first haircut, and the culm inating cerem ony of circum cision. A zegzaw denotes blue, green, and grey; it can qualify fruit (green), meat (raw), corn (unripe), a rainy sky (grey, like the ox sacrificed in autum n). A zeg za w brings good fortune: to make a present of som ething green, especially in the morning, brings good luck. Spring is the season for asafruri, i.e. legum inous plants, especially beans, a certain proportion of which are set aside to be eaten green. T h e women gather wild herbs in the course of their hoeing in the cultivated fields, and these are eaten raw (w a g h za z, a raw, green plant the leaves of w hich can be nibbled, e.g. dandelions; th izazw ath , greenery). T h e cattle, fed on green fodder in the stable or near the house, yield abundant milk, which is consumed in every form (w hey, curd, butter, cheese). K . Marx, C apital, ed. F. Engels (M oscow: Progress Publishers, 1956), vol. 11, part 11, ch. x iii “ T h e time of p roduction”, pp. 242-51. Circum cision and tree-pruning, like scarification and tattooing, partake of the logic of purification, in which the instruments made with fire have a beneficent function, like the in sla tires, rather than the logic of murder. In this way the Negro or the sm ith, who are known to be the very opposite of the “ bringer of good fortune” ( elfal), may fulfil a beneficent function as “ takersaway of ill fortu n e”. T he position of the family responsible for inaugurating the ploughing is no less am biguous than that of the smith (elfal is never mentioned in relation to him ), and their role as a lightning conductor does not entitle them to a high place in the hierarchy of prestige and honour. J. G . Frazer, The Golden Bough, 3rd ed. (L ondon: Macmillan, 1912), vol. 1, part v, " T he Spirits of the Corn and the W ild ”, ch. v n , pp. 214-69. T h e miraculous properties of the meat of the sacrificed animal are appropriated in a comm unal meal. In several cases, the tail of the animal receives special treatment (it is hung up in the m osque) as if, like the last sheaf, som etim es known as “ the tail of the field ”, it concentrated the vital potency of the whole. T h e frequency of large- and small-scale fighting in the fig season used to lead som e observers, encouraged by native remarks (an overexcited person is said to have “ eaten too many fig s”), to wonder if the source of the ebullience reigning at that time of year did not lie in the figs them selves: “ There is one season in particular w hen it really seem s that m en ’s minds are more heated than any other tim e . . . when they speak of the fig season, which they call kherif, autum n, it seems to be agreed that everyone shall be agitated at that tim e, just as it is customary to be merry at carnival tim es” (C . D evaux, Les K ebailesde Djerdjera (M arseilles: Carnion, and Paris: Challamel, 1859), pp. 85-6).

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75 T he men who encircle the boy comprise all the male members of the clan and sub-clan, together with the m other’s male kinsmen and their guests (the affines, to w hom the boy has been presented the previous week, by a delegation of rifle-bearing men from the sub-clan, in a rite called aghrum, wheatcake, the dry and therefore male food par excellence, which also takes place before a marriage). T h e sym bolism of the second, purely male birth, obeys the same logic as marriage w ith the parallel cousin, the m ost m asculine of women. 76 Brahim Zellal, " L e roman de chacal, contes d ’anim aux”, Fichier d ’Archives Berberes, no. 81 (Fort National, Algeria), 1964. 77 Breach of the taboo of lahlal is a haram act (sacrilege) which gives rise to a haram product (c f. the legend of yum chendul - 18 Septem ber - the wise ploughman who, despite the heavy rain on that day, refused to plough before lahlal). In what is known as el haq (e.g. el haq lakhrif, the ban on fig-picking), the magical elem ent is again present, since the assembly w hich pronounces the edict calls down a curse on all who break it; at the same tim e, the social-convention aspect of the interdict appears in the fact that the penalty for transgression is a fine (also called el haq). Although in the case of marriage the terra lahlal is only used to denote the sura of m oney which the bridegroom gives the bride (in addition to the bride­ wealth and the presents) before the marriage is consum mated, the sanctioning function of the marriage cerem ony is underlined by a number of features (e.g. imensi lahlal). T h u s, as we have seen, the marriage season often used to open with a parallel-cousin marriage, a union predisposed to play this inaugural role by its conform ity to the principles of the mythical world-view. 78 Or "the key of good lu ck ”. 79 T h e primordial union is represented, in the very place of procreation, in the form of the union of asalas, the central beam, and thigejdith, the pillar, a symbol of the marriage of sky and earth. 80 T h e ploughing cerem ony, like the marriage cerem ony, being a reunion of the divided and separate, syncrisis, is placed under the sign of the figure two: everything which com es in pairs - starting with the yoke of oxen ( thayuga or thazivijth, form ed from the Arabic zw id ja ), the sym bol par excellence - is likely to favour coupling (the man who opens the ploughing is som etim es called "the old man of the yoke of o x en ” -a m g h a r m ay-yuga). In contrast, that which is singular and solitary, the bachelor for exam ple, a symbol of division and separa­ teness, is systematically excluded. 81 T h e seed corn, which always includes the grains of the last sheaf reaped (som e­ tim es the grains of the last sheaf threshed or dust from the last plot of land harvested, or taken from the threshing floor as the last sheaf was threshed; or again, dust from the mausoleum of a saint, salt, e tc .), is kept in the house itself, in sheepskins or chests stored in the damp part of the house and som etim es even under the bed of the master of the field; it is prepared in accordance w ith rites and taboos intended to preserve its properties. 82 T h e snake, a sym bol of resurrection (see above) is often represented on the hand-made earthenware jars used to store grain for cooking or sow ing. 83 T h e interdicts surounding ploughing (or weaving, its female hom ologue) and marriage all bear on acts of cutting (shaving, cutting the hair or n ails), closing (tying up the hair), purifying (sweeping, whitewashing the house), and contact with objects that are dry or associated with the dry (darkening the eyelids with kohl, dying the hands with henna, or, in the order of food, the use of spices). 84 T h e sw ollen part of the lamp, which represents w om an’s belly, is called "the pom egranate”.


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85 T h e action of tying is a typical exam ple of the ambiguities which give practical logic its efficacy. T yin g is in a sense doubly forbidden because it is opposed both to the male action of opening and to the female action of swelling. All forms of tying (crossing the arms or the legs, wearing knots or girdles, rings, etc.) 0r closing (of doors, chests, locks, etc.) are forbidden at the mom ent of childbirth and the opposite actions recom m ended. T h e rites intended to render a man or woman incapable of sexual intercourse apply the schem e of closing (or its equivalent, cutting), again exploiting the coincidence (well expressed by the am biguity of the verbs referring to state) of openmg and being opened. It is natural that ritual, which always seeks to put all the odds on its own side, should in a sense kill two birds with one stone in recom m ending actions likely to favour (or not likely to hinder) opening, an operation male in its active form and female in its passive form. 86 I say " treated practically a s ” to avoid putting into the consciousness of the agents (with expressions like "seen a s ” or "conceived a s”) the representation which we must construct in order to understand scientifically the practices objectively oriented by the schem e of "resurrection” and in order to comm unicate that understanding. 87 T h e m eaning of the rite is clearly show n in the rope game described by Laoust, a sort of tug-of-war between the men and the women, in the course of which the rope is suddenly cut and the women fall on their backs, inviting the sky to rain its fecundating seed upon them . 88 T h e snake, a sym bol of the power of erection and resurrection which belongs to the male principle, is undoubtedly the d ry which shoots out the dry: in the tale related above (p. 222), the aggrieved snake rises, sw ells, and spits out a poisonous flame. 89 All the evidence suggests that the usefulness of the almost empty notion of baraka (which has occupied a disproportionate place in the writings of anthropologists from Westermarck to the present day) lies in the fact that it makes it possible to name both the male principle of fecundity and the female principle of fertility without distinguishing between them . T h is also means that, though useful in social practice, it does not play a very important part in the econom y of the sym bolic system . 90 T h e familiarity with this mode of thought that is acquired in the course of scientific practice gives one an idea (though still a very abstract one) of the subjective feeling of necessity which it gives to those it possesses: there is no way in w hich this laxist logic of overdetermined, fuzzy relations, protected as it is by its very weakness against contradiction or error, could encounter w ithin itself any obstacle or resistance capable of determ ining a reflexive return or a questioning of it. History can therefore only com e to it from outside, through the contradic­ tions generated by synchronization (favoured by literacy) and the system atizing intent that synchronization expresses and makes possible. 91 T his function is som etim es explicitly formulated. It is said, for exam ple, that when cereals, a soft food, are being sow n, one must "eat so ft”. 92 T h e opposition between the cooking-pot (achukth) and the griddle (bufrah) sums up the series of oppositions between the two seasons and the tw o styles of cooking: cooking indoors, boiling, evening meal, unspiced; cooking outdoors, roasting, m orning meal, spiced. With rare exceptions (w hen an animal has been slaughtered or when som eone is ill) meat is regarded as too precious to be c o o k e d on the fire. In sum m er, sw eet peppers and tomatoes are cooked on the kanun. However, meat is always boiled in autumn whereas it can be roasted in spring.

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93 Winter food is overall more fem ale, sum m er food more male. In every season, female food, as one m ight expect, is a m oist form of the corresponding male fo o d : the m en’s food is based on wheatcake (aghrum) and couscous; the guest one wants to honour, the male par excellence, is offered at least one couscous, even if it has to be made with barley, and if possible, a meat couscous; never soup, not even wheat soup, or boiled sem olina. T he w om en’s food is liquid, less nourishing, less highly spiced, based on boiled cereals, broths, and sauces (asqi, which also denotes tem pering and p o ison in g); their couscous is made with barley or even bran and flour (abulbul). In fact things are not so sim ple: sem olina dum plings, which may appear as female because they are boiled in water, are also the most male of female foods, hence som etim es eaten by men, because they can be accompanied by meat; conversely, berkukes, a male food, can be eaten by women, because it is boiled, unlike couscous, which is simply sprinkled. A boy eats with the men as soon as he starts to walk and to go to the fields. Once he is old enough to take the goats to pasture, he has a right to the afternoon snack (a handful of figs, half a pint of milk). 94 Other direct indications of the hom ology: the weaving is done upwards, i.e from w est to east. T h e weft is called thadrafth; the warp I'alam. 'Allam is to separate the strands of the warp into tw o strips and to mark out the field with the first furrow which divides it into plots, the even-numbered ones running eastward and the odd ones westward. 95 T o tie a thread so that it cannot be untied is to "tie its so u l”. 96 For the same reason, w eaving begun elsewhere is not brought into the house (unless a chicken is sacrificed first). T h is belief is also invoked at harvest time to justifying sacrificing an animal. 97 T hese various tasks are only part of the w om en’s activities, which partake of all the more or less abstract series that can be constructed, thereby underlining the fact that practical unity lies not in the series (of farming tasks or the rites of passage) but in practice generating similarly structured behaviour in all dom ains. 98 T he divisions of the year, particularly the m ost important one, "the return of a z a l”, which marks the separation between the dry season and the wet season, are (relatively) independent of climatic conditions: thus the characteristic rhythm of the winter day is kept up both at the coldest m om ents and in the warmer and already "springlike” days of the wet season. T he autonomy of the logic of ritual with respect to objective conditions is even clearer in the case of clothing, which as a sym bol of social status cannot vary according to the season: how could the burnous be taken off in sum mer, if a man without a burnous is dishonoured ? H ow could anyone fail to put on winter m occasins before reaping or undertaking a long mountain journey, when everyone knows that they are the footwear which characterizes the genuine peasant and the strong walker? H ow could the mistress of the house give up the traditional pair of blankets, worn pinned in front, which sym bolize her authority, her ascendancy over her daughters-in-law, and her power over the running of the household, as does the belt on w hich she hangs the keys to the household stores ? 99 For exam ple, a man who is late in the m orning is told, "All the shepherds are o u t.” And to indicate a late hour in the afternoon: "All the shepherds have already 'given back’ a z a l.,t In fact the return to the village at the tim e of a za l is not abso­ lutely obligatory, and som e shepherds spend a za l in the shade on the grazing land. 100 For example, a man who does not get up early on the first day of spring is likely to die in the course of the year; a man who gets up early on the first day of sum mer will get up early all through the year.


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101 On this notion, see T . Vogel, Theorie dessystemesevolutifs (Paris: Gautier-Villars, 1965)’ PP &-'°102 T h is future already present is the future of the emotion which speaks the future in the present ("I am d ead ”, “ I am done fo r”) because it reads the future in the present as a potentiality objectively inscribed in the directly perceived present (and not, as Sartre would have it, as a possible, explicitly posited in a project, i.e. in an act of fr e e d o m -th e consequence of this view being that emotion becomes bad faith). 103 People must particularly watch their language in the presence of young children, recently circumcised boys, and newly wed husbands, all of these being categories whose future, i.e. growth, virility, or fertility, is in question. Sim ilarly, a number of the taboos and interdicts of spring can be seen as practical euphem ism s intended to avoid com prom ising the fecundity of nature’s labour. 104 For the feast called tharurit w a za l (the return of azal), a distinction is made between lesser azal, the mom ent at which the wom en and children come back from the fields (about 10 a.m .) and great azal, about 11 a .m ., when the men come back. 105 T h u s in a rite performed to hasten a girl’s marriage, the sorceress lights the lamp ( mesbah), the symbol of the hoped-for man, at azal. 106 One could go on to draw a parallel between prophylactic rites such as "the dis­ sociation from the month ” and the separation from ennayer, or between the first haircut and the expulsion of maras, or again between all the curative practices applied to the child and the sacrifice of sparrows at the time of asifedh, etc. 107 In each village cemetery there is a grave covered with potsherds, som etim es euphemistically called "the last grave” (even if it is very old). It is the outsider’s grave, on to which the evil afflicting babies or animals is transferred: the women go there taking a pot of water and an egg, which they eat, leaving the shells and the pot behind after burying or burning the sacrificed object or victim on which the evil has been " fixed”. T o "send the baby to sle e p ” in its mother’s womb, the trivet (elkanun u'uzal, the iron kanun) is turned seven times one way, seven times the other, around the pregnant woman’s girdle, and then it is buried in the grave of the outsider, the man w ho is truly dead. 108 For example, depending on the needs and occasions of ritual practice, birth, as an opening and a beginning, can be linked either to the birth of the year - itself situated at different m om ents according to the occasion - or to the birth of spring, in the order of the year, or again, to dawn, in the order of the day, or to the appearance of the new moon, in the order of the m onth, or to the sprouting of the corn, in the order of the grain cycle; nor.e of these relationships prevents death, to which birth is opposed, from being identified either with the harvest, within the cycle of the life of the field, or with fecundation treated as resurrection, i.e. with the birth of the year, within the grain cycle, etc. 109 Granet gives some striking examples of the would-be im peccable, but merely fantastic, constructs produced by the effort to resolve the contradictions arising from the hopeless ambition of giving the objectively systematic products of analogical reason an intentionally systematic form . E .g. the theory' of the five elem ents, a scholarly elaboration (third to second centuries B .C .) of the mythical sy'stem, establishes hom ologies between the cardinal points (plus the centre), the seasons, the substances (earth, fire, wood, m etal), and the musical notes (L a civilisation chinoise, pp. 304-9). 110 Having failed to see in mythico-ritual logic a particular case of practical logic, of which ancient societies have no m onopo’y, and w hich must be analysed as such,

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without any normative reference to logical logic, anthropology has becom e locked in the insoluble antinomy of otherness and identity, the "prim itive mentality" and the "savage m in d ”. T h e principle of this antinomy was indicated by Kant in the Appendix to the Transcendental Dialectic: depending on the interests which inspire it, "reason ” obeys either the " principle of specification ’’ which leads it to seek and accentuate differences, or the "principle of aggregation” or "hom ogeneity”, which leads it to observe similarities, and, through an illusion w hich characterizes it, "reason” situates the principle of these judgm ents not in itself but in the nature of its objects. An internal analysis of the structure of a system of sym bolic relations is soundly based only if it is subordinated to a sociological analysis of the structure of the system of social relations of sym bolic production, circulation, and consum ption in which these relations are set up and in which the social functions that they objectively fulfil at any given m om ent are defined: the rites and m yths of the Greek tradition tend to receive entirely different functions and meanings depending, for exam ple, on whether they give rise to rationalizing, "routinizing” "readings”, with corps of scholars, to inspired reinterpretations, with the magi and their initiatory teachings, or to rhetorical exercises, with the first professional profes­ sors, the Sophists. It follows that, asa point of method, any attempt to reconstruct the original meaning of a mythical tradition must include analysis of the laws of the deformation to which the various successive interpreters subject it on the basis of their system s of interests. As G . Bateson shows ( Naven (Stanford, C a l.: Stanford University Press, 1958; ist ed ., 1936), mythological culture can become the tool, and in some cases the object, of extremely com plex strategies (which explains, am ong other things, why agents undertake the im mense mnem onic effort needed to acquire mastery of it) even in societies which do not have a highly developed and differentiated religious apparatus. It follows that it is im possible fully to account for the structure of the mythical corpus and the transformations which affect it in the course of time, by means of a strictly internal analysis ignoring the functions that the corpus fulfils in the relations of com petition or conflict for econom ic or sym bolic power. It goes without saying that the regressive use which Heidegger and the gnostic tradition that he has introduced into university philosophy make of the most "archaic” devices of language, out of a taste for the p n m al which is the recon­ version of the conservative intent into the logic of the philosophical field, has nothing in comm on with the practice of the pre-Socratic thinkers, who mobilize all the resources of a language fraught with mythic resonances to reproduce in their discourse the objective systematicity of mythic practice or resolve the logical contradictions springing from that ambition. R. Carnap, "t-berw indung derM etaphysikdurch logische Analyse derS p rach e”, Erkenntnis, 4 (1931), pp. 219-41.

C H A P T E R 4 . S T R U C T U R E S , H A B IT U S , POW ER 1 T h e wet season is the time for oral instruction through which the group memory is forged. In the dry season, that memory is acted out and enriched through participation in the acts and ceremonies which set the seal on group unity: it is in sum mer that the children undergo practical training in their future tasks as peasants and their obligations as men of honour. 2 T h e "shepherds” are the small boys of the village. (Translator.) 3 A principle which, as we have seen, belongs as much to magic as to morality.










Notes fo r pp. 162-165 For example, there is a saying leftar n-esbah d-esbuh erbah, breakfast in the morning is the first w ell-om ened encounter (erbah, to succeed, prosper). Early rising to let out the animals, to go to Koran school, or sim ply to be outside with the men, at the same tim e as the m en, is an elem ent of the conduct of honour which boys are taught to respect from an early age. On the first day of spring, the mistress of the house, who alone has a right to wake the daughters and daughters-in-law, calls the children: "Wake up, children! T he longer you walk before sunrise, the longer you will liv e !” T h e w om en, for their part, set their point of honour on getting up at the same tim e as the m en, if not earlier (the only way they can get all the tim e they want to attend to their appearance without being watched by the m en, who pretend to be ignorant of the w om en’s behaviour on this point). T h e young incur even greater disapproval when the)' try to set up a power struggle between the generations, jeopardizing an order based on the maintenance of temporal distance; the generations are separated only by time, which is as much as to say by nothing, for one only has to wait and the difference will disappear ; but the gap m aintaining and maintained by the gerontocratic order is in fact unbridgeable, since the only way to cross it, short of refusing the game, is to wait. It follows that disorganization of its temporal rhythms and spatial framework is one of the basic factors in the disorganization of the grou p ; thus the concentrations of population im posed by the French Army during the war of liberation led to a profound (and often lasting) change in the status of the w om en, w ho, when deprived of the autonomy they derived from access to a separate place and time, were condem ned either to be cloistered or to wear the veil, w hich, after the concentration, made its appearance among Berber populations where it was previously unknown. It is understandable that collective dancing or singing, particularly spectacular cases of the synchronization of the hom ogeneous and the orchestration of the heterogeneous, are everywhere predisposed to sym bolize group integration and, by sym bolizing it, to strengthen it. It goes without saying that logical integration is never total, though always sufficient to ensure the more-or-less-perfect predictability of all members of the group (setting aside the amahbul who takes it upon him self to break with the collective rhythm s). Brutal reduction of this tw ofold, two-faced discourse to its objective (or at least, objectivist) truth neglects the fact that it only produces its specifically sym bolic effects inasmuch as it never directly imparts that truth; the enchanted relationship w hich scientific objectification has to destroy in order to constitute itself is an integral part of the full truth of practice. Science m ust integrate the objectivist truth of practice and the equally objective m isrecognition of that truth into a higher definition of objectivity. Whether through the intermediary of their control over inheritance, which lends itself to all sorts of strategic manipulation, from sheer delay in the effective transmission of powers to the threat of disinheritance, or through the intermediary of the various strategic uses to which they can put their officially recognized monopoly of matrimonial negotiations, the elders have the means of taking advantage of the socially recognized limits of youth. An analysis of the strategies used by the heads of noble houses to keep their heirs in a subordinate position, forcing them to go out on dangerous adventures far from home, is to be found in G . D uby, Hommes et structuresdu Moyen-Age (Paris and T h e Hague: M outon, ' 973). PP- 2 »3~ 25> esp. p. 219.

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ci Love, not im mune to such ritualization, also conforms to this logic, as is well illustrated by the w ords of a young Kabyle woman: "A girl doesn’t know her husband beforehand and she looks to him for everything. She loves him even before they marry, because she m u st; she has to love him , there is no other 'door 12 T h e full text of this conversation can be found in P. Bourdieu and A. Sayad, Le deracinement (Paris: M inuit, 1964), pp. 215-20. 13 M. Proust, Contre Sainte-Beuve (Paris: Gallimard, 1965), pp. 74-5. 14 Cf. J. M. W. W hiting, Becoming a Kivom a (N ew Haven, C onn: Yale University Press, 1941), p. 215. 15 T h e phenom enologists systematically forget to carry out an ultimate " reduction ”, the one which would reveal to them the social conditions of the possibility of the "reduction” and the epoche. What is radically excluded from phenomenological analysis of the "general thesis of the natural standpoint” which is constitutive of "primary experience” of the social world is the question of the econom ic and social conditions of the belief which consists in "taking th e ' factworld ’ ( Wirklichkeit) just as it gives itse lf” (E . Husserl, Ideas (N ew York: Collier-M acmillan, 1962), p. 96), a belief which the reduction subsequently causes to appear as a " th esis”, or, more precisely, as an epoche of the epoche, a suspension of doubt as to the possibility that the world of the natural standpoint could be otherwise. 16 If the emergence of a field of discussion is historically linked to the developm ent of cities, this is because the concentration of different ethnic and/or professional groups in the same space, with in particular the overthrow of spatial and temporal frameworks, favours the confrontation of different cultural traditions, which tends to expose their arbitrariness practically, through first-hand ex­ perience, in the very heart of the routine of the everyday order, of the possibility of doing the same things differently, or, no less important, of doing som ething different at the same tim e; and also because it permits and requires the develop­ ment of a body of specialists charged with raising to the level of discourse, so as to rationalize and systematize them , the presuppositions of the traditional world-viewr, hitherto mastered in their practical state. 17 A whole aspect of what is nowadays referred to as sociology (or anthropology) partakes of this logic. 18 Formal Logic: Or, the Calculus of Inference, Necessary and Probable (London: Taylor and Walton, 1847), p. 41. 19 J.-P . Sartre, L ’idiot de la fam ille (Paris: Gallimard, 1971), vol. 1, p. 783. 20 On belief as individual bad faith maintained and supported by collective bad faith, see P. Bourdieu, "G enese et structure du champ religeux”, Revue Fran^aise de Sociologie, 12, 3 (1971), p. 318. 21 T o convince oneself that this is so, one only has to remember the tradition of "confraternity” within the medical profession. N o doctor ever pays a fellow doctor a fee; instead he has to find him a present - without knowing what he wants or needs - not costing too m uch more or too much less than the consultation, but also not com ing too close, because that would amount to stating the price of the consultation, thereby giving away the interested fiction that it was free. 22 "Y ou’ve saved me from having to sell ” is what is said in such cases to the lender who prevents land falling into the hands of a stranger, by means of a sort of fictitious sale (he gives the money while allowing the owner the continued use of his property). 23 M . Mauss, "Essai sur le d o n ”, in Sociologie et anthropologic (Paris: P U F , 195c), p. 239; trans. I. Cunnison as The G ift (L ondon, 1966), p. 52. 24 T he sacred character of the meal appears in the formulae used in swearing an







30 31

N otes fo r pp. 175-182 oa th : " By the food and the salt before us'” or " By the food and the salt we have shared A pact sealed by eating together would becom e a curse for the man who betrayed it: "I do not curse him, the broth and the salt curse him .” T o invite one’s guest to take a second helping, one says: "T here’s no need to swear, the food does it [for you] "T he food will settle its score with you [if you leave it].” A shared meal is also a ceremony of reconciliation, leading to the abandonment of vengeance. Similarly, an offering of food to a patron saint or the group’s ancestor im plies a contract of alliance. T he th iw izi is inconceivable without the final meal: and thus it usually only brings together people of the same adhrum or the same thakharubth. There is strong disapproval of individuals who are no use to their family or the group, "dead men whom God has drawn from living m en ”, in the words of the verse of the Koran often applied to them: they are incapable of "pulling any w eigh t”. T o remain idle, especially when one belongs to a great fam ily, is to shirk the duties and tasks which are an inseparable part of belonging to the group. And so a man who has been out of farming for som e tim e, because he has been away or been ill, is quickly found a place in the cycle of work and the circuit of the exchange of services. T h e group has the right to demand of each of its members that he should have an occupation, however unproductive, and it must therefore make sure that everyone is found an occupation, even a purely sym bolic one: the peasant who provides idlers with an opportunity to work on his land is universally approved, because he is giving marginal individuals a chance to integrate them selves into the group by doing their duty as men. T he cost of tim e rises with rising productivity (i.e. the quantity of goods offered for consum ption, and hence consum ption itself, which also takes tim e ); time thus tends to become scarcer, while the scarcity of goods dim inishes. Squandering of goods may even becom e the only way of saving tim e, which is now more valuable than the products which could be saved if :ime were devoted to maintenance and repair, etc. (cf. G. S. Becker, "A Theory of the Allocation of T im e ”, Economic Journal, 75, no. 289 (Septem ber 1965), pp. 493-517). T h is is no doubt the objective basis of the contrast in attitudes to time which has often been described. A variant of this contradiction is expressed in the saying "When the year is bad, there are always too many bellies to be filled; when it is good, there are never enough hands to do the w ork.” It would not be difficult to show that debates about Berber (and more generally, ancient) "democracy” similarly oppose first-degree naivety to second-degree naivety; the latter is perhaps the more pernicious, because the satisfaction derived from false lucidity makes it impossible to attain the adequate knowledge which simultaneously transcends and conserves the two forms of n aivety:" ancient democracy ” owes its specificity to the fact that it leaves im plicit and unquestioned (doxa) the principles which liberal "dem ocracy” can and must profess (ortho­ doxy) because they have ceased to govern conduct in the practical state. T he man who "gives others no more than the time he ow es th em ” is reproached in terms like these: "Y ou ’ve only just arrived, and now you’re off again.” "Are you leaving us? We’ve only just sat d o w n .. .W e’ve hardly spoken.” T h e analogy between a m an’s relationships with others and his relationship to the land leads to condemnation of the man who thoughtlessly hurries in his work and, like the guest who leaves almost as soon as he arrives, does not give it the care and time, i.e. the respect, which are its due. R. Maunier, Melanges de sociologie nord-africaine (Paris: Alcan, 1930), p. 68. Such tactics are, as far as possible, kept out of transactions between kinsmen,

N otes fo r pp. 182-18 5





36 37


and there is disapproval of the man who takes advantage of the destitution of the person forced to sell. T h e trap is all the more infallible when, as in marriage, the circulation of im mediately perceptible material goods, such as the bridewealth, the apparent issue at stake in matrimonial negotiations, conceals the total circulation, actual or potential, of goods that are indissociably material and sym bolic, of which they are only the aspect most visible to the eye of the capitalist homo economicus. T he amount of the payment, always of small value in relative and absolute terms, would not justify the hard bargaining to which it gives rise, did it not take on a sym bolic value of the highest importance as the unequivocal demonstration of the worth of a fam ily’s products on the matrimonial exchange market, and of the capacity of the heads of the family to obtain the best price for their products through their negotiating skills. T he best proof of the irreducibility of the stakes of matrimonial strategy to the amount of the bridewealth is provided by history, which here too has dissociated the sym bolic and material aspects of transactions: once reduced to its purely monetary value, the bridewealth lost its significance as a sym bolic rating, and the bargains of honour, thus reduced to the level of mere haggling, were from then on considered shameful. Although he fails to draw any real conclusions from it, in a work which proves disappointing, Bertrand Russell admirably expresses an insight into the analogy between energy and power which could serve as the basis for a unification of social science: "Like energy, power has many forms, such as wealth, armaments, civil authority, influence or opinion. N o one of these can be regarded as subordinate to any other, and there is no one form from which the others are derivative. T h e attempt to treat one form of power, say wealth, in isolation, can only be partially successful, just as the study of one form of energy will be defective at certain points, unless other forms are taken into account. Wealth may result from military power or from influence over opinion, just as either of these may result from w ealth” (Power: A N ew Social Analysis (L ondon: Allen and U nw in, 1938), pp. 12-13). he goes on to define the programme for this unified science of social energy: "Power, like energy, must be regarded as continually passing from any one of its forms into any other, and it should be the business of social science to seek the laws of such transform ations” (pp. 13-14). It has often been pointed out that the logic which makes the redistribution of goods the sine qua non of the continuation of power tends to reduce or prevent the primitive accumulation of econom ic capital and the developm ent of class division (cf. for example E. Wolf, Sons of the Shaking Earth (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1959), p. 216). M. I. Finley, "Technical Innovation and Economic Progress in the Ancient W orld”, Economic History Review, 18, 1 (August 1965), pp. 29-45, esp. p. 37; and see "Land D ebt and the Man of Property in Classical A th en s”, Political Science Quarterly, 68 (1953), pp. 249-68. See P. Bohannan, "Som e Principles of Exchange and Investm ent among the T iv ”, American Anthropologist, 57, 1 (1955), pp. 60-70. K. Polyani, Primitive Archaic and M odem Economics, ed. George D alton, N ew York: D oubleday, 1968, and The Great Transformation, New York: Rinehart, 1944. It is rather paradoxical that in his contribution to a collection of essays edited by Karl Polyani, Francisco Benet pays so much attention to the contrast between the market and the village and scarcely mentions the factors which keep the local suq under the control of the values of the good-faith econom y (see F . Benet, "Explosive Markets: T h e Berber H ighlands”, in K . Polyani, C. M. Arensberg,


38 39






N otes fo r p p . 185-189 and H. W. Pearson (ed s.), Trade and M arket in the E arly Empires, X ew York: Free Press, 1957). T he shady dealer cannot find anyone to answer for him (or his wares) and so he cannot demand guarantees from the buyer. T h e belief, often held in gnostic religions, that knowledge may be transmitted through various forms of magical contact - most typically, through a kiss - may be seen as an attempt to transcend the lim its of this mode of preservation: "Whatever it is that the practitioner learns, he learns from another dukun, who is his guru (teacher); and whatever he learns, he and others call his ilmu (science). Ilmu is generally considered to be a kind of abstract knowledge or supernormal skill, but by the more concrete-minded and 'old-fashioned’, it is som etim es viewed as a kind of substantive magical power, in which case its transmission may be more direct than through teaching” (C. Geertz, The Religion o f Java (L ondon: Collier-Macmillan, i960), p. 88). See in particular J. G oody and I. Watt, "T h e Consequences of Literacy", Com­ parative Studies in Society and History, 5, (1962-3), pp. 304ff., and J. G oody (ed .), Literacy in Traditional Societies, Cambridge: University Press, 1968. "T he poet is the incarnate book of the oral p eop le” (J. A. N otopoulos, " Mnemosym e in Oral Literature ”, Transaclions and Proceedings o f the American Philological Association, 69 (1938), pp. 465-93, esp. p. 469). In a very impressive article, William C. Greene shows how a change in the mode of accumulation, circulation, and reproduction of culture results in a change in the function it is made to perform, together with a change in the structure of cultural products ("T he Spoken and the Written W ord”, H arvard Studies in Classical Philology, 9 (1951), pp. 24-58). And Eric A. Havelock similarly shows that even the content of cultural resources is transformed by the transformation of "the technolog)' of preserved com m unication”, and in particular, by the abandonment of mimesis, a practical reactivation m obilizing all the resources of a "pattern of organized actions” - m usic, rhythm, words - for m nem onic purposes in an act of affective identification, in favour of written discourse, which, because it exists as a text, is repeatable, reversible, detached from the situation, and predisposed by its permanence to becom e the object of analysis, comparison, contrast, and reflexion (Preface to Plato, Cambridge, M ass.: Harvard U niversity Press, 1963). U ntil language is objectified in the written text, speech is inseparable from the speaker’s whole person, and in his absence it can be manipulated only in the mode of mimesis, which is not open to analysis or criticism. A social history of all forms of distinction (of which the title is a particular case) would have to show the social conditions and the consequences of the transition from a personal authority which can neither be delegated nor inherited (e.g . the gratia, esteem , influence, of the Romans) to the title - from honour to the jus honorum. In Rome, for exam ple, the use of titles (e.g . eques Romanus) defining a dignitas, an officially recognized position in the State (as distinct from a purely personal quality), was, like the use of insignia, progressively subjected to detailed control by custom or law (cf. C. N icolet, L ’ordre equestre a I’epoque republicaine, vol. 1: Definitions juridiques et structures sociales (Paris, 1966), pp. 236-41). On this point see P. Bourdieu and L. Boltanksi, "L e titre et le poste: rapports entre le system e de production et le system e de reproduction”, Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, no. 2, March 1975; trans. "Qualifications and Job s”, C C C S Stencilled Paper 46 (U niversity of Birmingham, 1977). T h is is true, for example, t>f the charismatic (or meritocratic) ideology which explains the differential probability of access to academic qualifications by reference to the inequality of innate talent, thus reproducing the effect of the

N otes fo r p p . iS g -ig i


mechanisms which dissimulate the relationship between academic attainment and inherited cultural capital. 45 E. Durkheim, Montesquieu et Rousseau precurseurs de la sociologie (Paris: Riviere,

1953). P- 19746 Ibid. p. 195. T he analogy’ with the Cartesian theory' of continuous creation is perfect. And when L eibniz criticized a conception of God condem ned to move the world "as a carpenter moves his axe or as a miller drives his m illstone by directing the water towards the w h e e l” (G . W. Leibniz, " D e ipsa natura”, Opuscula philosophica selecta, ed. P. Shrecker (Paris: Boivin, 1939), p. 92), and put forward in place of the Cartesian universe, which cannot exist without unremitting divine attention, a physical universe endowed with a vis propria, he was initiating the critique, which did not find expression until much later (i.e. in Hegel’s introduction to the Philosophy of Right), of all form s of the refusal to acknowledge that the social world has a nature, i.e . an immanent necessity. 47 If acts of com m unication - exchanges of gifts, challenges, or words - always bear within them a potential conflict, it is because they always contain the possibility of domination. Symbolic violence is that form of domination w hich, transcending the opposition usually drawn between sense relations and power relations, com ­ munication and dom ination, is only exerted through the comm unication in which it is disguised. 48 It can be seen that if one is trying to account for the specific form in which domination is realized in the pre-capitalist econom y, it is not sufficient to observe, as Marshall D . Sahlins does, that the pre-capitalist econom y does not provide the conditions necessary for an indirect, impersonal mode of domination, in which the worker’s dependence on the em ployer is the quasi-automatic product of the mechanisms of the labour market (cf. "Political Power and the Economy in Primitive S ociety”, in G . E. D ole and R. L. Carneiro (ed s.). Essays in the Science of Culture (N ew York: Crowell, i960), pp. 390-415; "Poor Man, Rich Man, Big Man, Chief: Political T yp es in M elanesia and P olynesia”, Comparative Studies in Society and H istory, 5 (1962-3), pp. 285-303; "On the Sociology of Primitive E xchange”, in M. Banton (e d .), The Relevance o f Models fo r Social Anthropology (London: Tavistock, 1965), pp. 139-236). T hese negative conditions (which one is amply justified in pointing to when it is a question of countering any form of idealism or idealization) do not account for the internal logic of sy'mbolic violence, any more than the absence of the lightning rod and the electric telegraph, which Marx refers to in a fam ous passage in the introduction to the Grundrisse, can be used to explain Jupiter and H erm es, i.e. the internal logic of Greek mythology and art. 49 T he interactionist "gaze”, which ignores the objective mechanism s and their operation, in order to look into the direct interactions between agents, would find an ideal terrain in this sort of society, i.e. precisely in the case in which, because of the relationship normally existing between the anthropologist and his object, it is least likely to be possible. Another paradox appears in the fact that structuralism, in the strict sense of the word, i.e. the sciences of the objective structures of the social world (and not simply of agents’ im ages of them ), is least adequate and least fruitful when applied to societies in which relations of domination and dependence are the product of continuous creation. (U nless one chooses to posit, as the structuralism of Levi-Strauss im plicitly does, that in such cases the structure lies in the ideology', and that power lies in the possession of the instrument of appropriation of these structures, i.e. in a form of cultural capital.)


N otes fo r p p . 191-194

50 Emile Benveniste’s history of the vocabulary of Indo-European institutions charts the linguistic m ilestones in the process of unveiling and disenchantment which runs from physical or sym bolic violence to law and order, from ransom to purchase, from the prize for a notable action to the rate for the job, from recognition of services to recognition of debts, from moral worth to creditworthiness, and from moral obligation to the court order ( Indo-European Language and Society (L ondon: Faber, 1973), esp. pp. 101-62). And sim ilarly, M oses Finley show s how debts which were som etim es contrived so as to produce situations of enslavem ent could also serve to create relations of solidarity betw een equals (''L a servitude pour d ettes”, Revue d'Histoire du D roit Francois et Etranger, 4th series, 43, 2 (A pril-June 1965). pp. 159-84). 51 T he question of the relative worth of the different m odes of dom ination - a question raised, im plicitly at least, by Rousseauistic accounts of primitive para­ dises and disquisitions on " modernization " - is totally m eaningless and can only give rise to necessarily interminable debates on the advantages and disadvantages - of the situations before and after, the only interest of which lies in the revelation of the researcher’s social phantasm s, i.e. his unanalysed relationship with his own society. As in all com parisons of one system w ith another, it is possible ad infinitum to contrast representations of the tw o system s (e.g . enchantm ent versus disenchantm ent) differing in their affective colouring and ethical connotations depending on which of the two is taken as a standpoint. T h e only legitimate object of comparison is each system considered as a system , and this precludes any evaluation other than that im plied in the im m anent logic of its evolution. 52 Certain usurers, fearing dishonour and ostracism by the group, prefer to grant their debtors new tim e-lim its for repayment (e.g. until the olive harvest) to save them from having to sell land in order to pay. Many of those w ho had been prepared to flout public opinion paid the price of their defiance, som etim es with their lives, during the war of liberation. 54 E. Benveniste, Indo-European Language and Society, pp. 84ff. 55 T h e marabouts are in a different position, because they w ield an institutionally delegated authority as m em bers of a respected body of " religious officials ” and because they keep up a separate status - in particular, through fairly strict endogamy and a whole set of traditions, such as the practice of confining their w om en to the house. T h e fact remains that the only occasions on which m en who "like the m ountain torrents grow greater in stormy tim e s” can, as the proverb suggests, take advantage of their quasi-institutionalized role as mediators, are when their knowledge of the traditions and acquaintance w ith the persons involved enable them to exercise a sym bolic authority which can only exist through direct delegation by the group: the marabouts are most often simply the loophole, the " d oor”, as the K abyles say, which enables groups in conflict to reach an agreement w ithout losing face. 56 C onversely, whereas institutionalized delegation of authority, which is accom ­ panied by an explicit definition of responsibilities, tends to lim it the consequences of individual shortcom ings, diffuse delegation, w hich com es as the corollary of m em bership of the group, underwrites all mem bers of the group, w ithout distinction, with the guarantee of the collectively owned capital, but does not cover the group against the discredit which it may incur from the conduct of any m em ber; this accounts for the im portance which the "great” attach to defending the collective honour in the honour of the weakest m em ber of their group. 57 See S. Freud, “ N eg a tio n ”, Complete Psychological Works (standard e d .), ed. J. Strachev, vol. x ix (L ondon: Hogarth Press, 1961), pp. 235-6.

N otes fo r pp. 195-197


58 See S. B. Linder, The H arried Leisure Class, N ew York and L o n d o n : Columbia U niversity Press, 1970. 59 “ L ord, give to me that I may g iv e ” (only the saint can give w ithout possessing). Wealth is G od ’s gift to man to enable him to relieve the poverty of others. “ A generous man is the friend of A llah.” Both worlds belong to him . He who wishes to keep his wealth must show he is worthy of it, by show ing that he is generous; otherwise his wealth will be taken from him. 60 It would be a mistake to overem phasize the contrast between the sym m etry of gift-exchange and the asym metry of the ostentatious distribution which is the basis of the constitution of political authority. It is possible to m ove by successive degrees from one pattern to the oth er: as one moves away from perfect reciprocity, so an increasing proportion of the counter-prestations com e to be made up of homage, respect, obligations, and moral debts. T hose w ho, like Polyani and Sahlins, have seen clearly the determ ining function of redistribution in the constitution of political authority and in the operation of tribal econom y (with the circuit of accumulation and redistribution functioning in a similar way to a State’s budget) have not analysed the way in which this process, the device par excellence for conversion of econom ic capital into sym bolic capital, creates lasting relations of dependence w hich, though econom ically based, are disguised under the veil of moral relations. 61 It follow s that the objectivist error - in particular the mistake of ignoring the effects of objectifying the non-objectified - is more far-reaching in its conse­ quences in a world in w hich, as here, reproduction of the social order depends more on the unceasing reproduction of concordant habitus than on the automatic reproduction of structures capable of producing or selecting concordant habitus. 62 Urbanization, which brings together groups with different traditions and weakens reciprocal controls (and, even before urbanization, the generalization of monetary exchanges and the introduction of wage labour), results in the collapse of the collectively maintained collective fiction of the religion of honour. Trust is replaced by credit (talq ), w hich was formerly cursed or despised (as is shown by the insult “ Face of credit! ” - the face of the man who has ceased to feel dishonour - and by the fact that repudiation w ithout restitution, the greatest offence im aginable, is called berru natalq). “ In the age of credit*’, said an informant, “ wretched indeed are those w ho can only appeal to the trust in which their parents were held. All that counts now is the goods you have im m ediately to hand. Everyone wants to be a market man. Everyone thinks he has a right to trust, so that there’s no trust anywhere n o w .” 63 It was not a sociologist but a group of American industrialists who conceived the " bank-account” theory of public relations: “ It necessitates making regular and frequent deposits in the Bank of Public G ood-W ill, so that valid checks can be drawn on this account when it is desirable” (quoted in D ayton M acKean, P arty and Pressure Politics, N ew York: H oughton M ifflin, 1944). S ee also R. Wr. Gable, • “ N .A .M .: Influential Lobby or K iss of D ea th ? ”, Journal o f Politics, 15, 2 (May I953), p. 262 (on the different ways in which the National Association of M anufacturers tries to influence the general public, educators, churchm en, w om en’s club leaders, farmers’ leaders, e tc .), and H. A. T urner, “ H ow Pressure G roups O perate”, Annals o f the American A cadem y o f Political and Social Science, 319 (Septem ber 1958), pp. 63-72 (on the way in which “ an organization elevates itself in the esteem of the general public and conditions their attitudes so that a state of public opinion will be created in which the public will almost automatically respond with favor to the programs desired by the grou p ”).

In d ex

a b s tr a c tio n , see g e n e a lo g y , o b je c tiv is m a c a d e m ic is m , 19. 206 n .6 9 a c c o m p lis h e d , see e x c e lle n c e , h o n o u r a c c o u n ts , 21 a c c u ltu r a tio n , 216 n .2 9 a c c u m u la tio n , 162, 179-83, 195 age" c la sses, 165; see also g e n e r a tio n a llia n c e s (ites&o), 65, 178; see also c a p ita l: s y m b o lic amahbul, 12, 40, 232 n .8 amengur, 47, 48, 224 n .5 c a n a lo g ic a l tr a n s f e r , 83, 119 a n a lo g y , 112-13, 119,123, 156; s e n s e o f, 112,223 n -33 a n th ro p o lo g is t, 18, 36, 43, 49, 108, 117, n 8 : 219 n .3 ; p o in t o f v ie w o f, 1 -2 , 17, 37, 96, 116-17, 237 n .4 9 , 238 11.51 a n th ro p o lo g y , 22, 156, 233 n . 17; c o lo n ia l, 115; c u ltu r a l, 2 4 -5 ; p a rtic ip a n t, 115; s o c ia l, 24; s tr u c tu r a l, 2 6 -9 , and see s tr u c tu r a lis m a rb itr a r in e s s , 189, 195; c u ltu r a l, 76, 89, 9 4 -5 , 141, 142, 163, 164, 166, 168. 200 n . 20, 21911.3; a n d u r b a n iz a tio n , 233 n .1 6 A ris to tle , 96, 224 n.4 7 A ro n , R ., 216 n .2 6 A rro w , K . J . , 217 n .4 0 a r t , 1 -2 , 23, 88, 167, 178, 187, 201 n .2 6 ; fo r a r t ’s s a k e , 194; h is to ry , 1; of liv in g , seee x c e lle n c e ; as s y m b o lic c a p i ta l, 197 " a r tic u la tio n o f in s ta n c e s ” , 83 a rtific ia lis m , 83 , 189 a s s e m b ly , 46, 63, 159, 199 n .r 8 , 2 1 3 ^ 9 8 ; p la c e o f ( lhajma'th) , 89, 91, 111, 224 n .5 2 a u th o r ity , 21, 167, 170-1, 192-3, 236 n .4 2 ; see also d e le g a tio n , la n g u a g e a u to n o m y , re la tiv e , 184 azonth, 47, 5 0 -1 , 53, 209 n .8 4


145, 226 n .6 8

B a c h e la rd , G ., 223 n .3 6 B ally , C ., r, 25, 198 n . i , 202 n .3 2 baraka, 22S n .8 9 b a r d , 88, 187, 236 n.41 b a rle y , o rig in o f, 162-3 B a r th , F . , 32 B a te s o n , G . , 231 n .1 1 2

B eck er, G . S ., 234 n .2 6 b e h a v io u ris m , 95 b e h in d /in f r o n t, 122-3 b e lie f, 164, 167, 233 n .1 5 B e n c t, F ., 235 n .3 7 itenl'amm, see c o u sin B e n v e n is te , E ., 176, 193, 238 n n .5 0 & 54 B e rc lso n , B ., 217 n.33 b ilin g u a lis m , 26, 81 b io g ra p h y , 8 6 -7 B lo o m fie ld , L . , 95 b lu ff, 10, 181, 185, 214 n . n o ; see also s tra te g y B oas, F., 200 n .2 2 b o d y , a n d c u ltu r a l a rb itr a r in e s s , 8 9 ,9 1 - 2 ,9 4 - 5 : a n d k n o w le d g e , 96, 218 n .4 4 ; m a le a n d fe m a le , te c h n iq u e s o f, 94; a n d m im e s is , 2. 116, 218 n .4 4 ; 38 p ra c tic a l o p e r a to r , 116-19; re la tio n to , 9 2 -4 ; so c ia lly in fo r m e d , 124; see also e m b o d im e n t, e m o tio n , h e x is, in v e rs io n , m im e s is, s e x u a lity , s p a c e , s y m b o lis m , v irility B o lla ck , J . , 224 n.49 b o tto m /t o p , 15, 53, 90, 94, 110, 113, 118, 121 b re a k , e p is te m o lo g ic a l a n d s o cia l, 1-2, 216 n .2 4 , 2 2 1 -2 n .2 6 b r id e w e a lth , 5 4 -5 , 56, 211 n .9 1 , 235 n .3 2 b r o th e r s , r e la tio n b e tw e e n , 39, 47, 5 7 -8 , 6 3 -5 , >73 b u r e a u c r a c y , p rie s tly , 2x9 n .5 ; ists b u tc h e r , 127, 163, 219 n .4

see alsos p e c ia l­

c a lc u la tio n , 6 2 -3 , 105, 171, 172-83, 198 n .7 , 211

ri.91 c a le n d a r, 9 7 -1 0 9 ; a g ra ria n , 100-4, l3l*2 1 9 n . 3, 222 n .3 2 ; c o o k in g , 143-6; h o m o lo g )’ o f c a le n ­ d a r s , 143; m y th ic a l a n d c lim a tic , 130; p r a c ­ tic a l, 219 n .4 ; r it u a l, 7, 4.5, 136; u n r e a lity o f, 107; w o m e n ’s , 146-8 c a p ita l, c u ltu r a l, 89, 183-4, 236 n .4 1 , (c o m p e te n c e a n d ) 186, ( p r im itiv e a c c u m u la ­ tio n o f) 187; o f la n d a n d liv e s to c k , 4 9 ; o f m e n , 49, 61, 6 9 ; s y m b o lic , 6, 36, 40, 41, 47, 54, 55, 59, 60, 65, 70, 171—83, 2 1 4 n . n 1 , 222 n .3 2 , and see h o n o u r, n a m e , ( a n d e a rly

[ 240 ]

Index capital (con t.) e d u c a tio n ) 6 3 -4 , 182, (a n d e c o n o m ic c a p ita l) 56, 62, 67, 177-83 passim, 211 n .9 8 , 235 n .3 2 ; see also in te r e s t, m is re c o g n itio n C a r n a p , R ., 158, 231 n .1 1 4 c e n s o rs h ip , 169 -7 0 ; c ro s e -c ., 196; o f v io lc n c c , 191; fee also h a b itu s c e n t r if u g a l/c e n tr ip e ta l, 5 7 -8 , 92, 160; see also o u ts id e c h a lle n g e , 12, 61, 73, 182; a n d o ffe n c e , 211 n .9 4 C h a r , R ., 119 c h a ris m a , 170, 179, 193 c h a ris m a tic id e o lo g y , 187, 236 n .4 4 C h e lh o d , J . , 208 n .7 7 , 212 n .1 0 2 c h ild , 8 7 -9 , 93, 102, 131,153, 226 n .6 7 , 233 n .4 ; see also e d u c a tio n , g a m e , h a b itu s C h o m sk y , N ., 20, 26, 27, 29, 95, 203 n .4 1 , 223 n -34 c ip h e r, see c o d e c irc u la tio n , c ir c u la r , 195 c irc u m c is io n , 127, 135, 143, 225 n .5 6 , 2 2 6 n n .6 7 & 70, 227 n.7 5 c la ss: d iv is io n in to , a n d c ris is, 168; d o m in a n t, 216 n .2 6 ; h a b itu s , 8 0 -1 , 8 5 -6 , 216 n .2 8 , and see h a b itu s ; h o m o g a m y , 8 2 ; o b je c tiv e a n d in te r n a liz e d , 164; see also c o n s c io u s n e s s c la ssific a to ry s y s te m , 97, 98, 133, 159, 164; a m b ig u ity o f, 140-1: d o m in a n t, 169; p o litic a l f u n c tio n o f, 164; p ra c tic a l, 97, 109, 112, 121, 124, 163; see also k in s h ip , o p p o s itio n s c lie n te le , 13, 178-80, 190 (to ) c lo s e /o p e n , 9 1 , 101, n o , 118, 1 20-1, 138, 208 n .7 8 , 220 n .1 2 , 223 n .4 0 , 228 n.8 5 c o d e , 1, 23, 25, 81, 198 n .4 ; see also d e c o d in g c o g n itio n , see f u n c tio n , k n o w le d g e

(connaissance) c o h e re n c e , p ra c tic a l, see p r a c tic e ; o f p r o d u c ts o f h a b itu s , 9 7 ; o f r itu a l a c tio n s , 118, 123, 231 n.1 1 3 , and see ritu a l p r a c tic e ; o f s y m b o lic s y s te m s , see s y m b o lic s y ste m c o ld /h o t, 12 1 -2 , 127 c o lle c tiv e , a n d in d iv id u a l, 35; p e rs o n ific a tio n o f, see p e rs o n ific a tio n c o lle c tiv iz a tio n , s y m b o lic , 41 c o m m e n s a lity , 136, 138, 173, 2 3 3 -4 n.2 4 c o m m e rc e , 176 c o m m o n s e n s e , see d o x a , d o x ic e x p e rie n c e , s e lf-e v id e n c e , s e n s e c o m m u n ic a tio n , a n d d o m in a tio n , 237 n .4 7 ; see also f u n c tio n c o m p e te n c e , 2 , 58, 80, 81, 8 4 ; a n d c u ltu ra l c a p ita l, 186; a s re c o g n iz e d c a p a c ity , 40 c o m p re h e n s io n . 1, 24 c o n d u c t, a s c o n s tr u c te d o b je c t a n d p re c o n ­ s tr u c te d d a tu m , 2 3 -5 , 2 0 i n .3 0 ; see also e x e c u tio n , s p e e c h c o n fo rm ity , 22, 29, 40, 57, 161, 193, 201 n .2 7 , 208 n .7 5

24 1

c o n ju n c tu r e , 78, 8 1 ; p o litic a l, 8 2 -3 c o n sc io u s n e s s , 76; a w a k e n in g o f c la ss (prise de conscience), 7 3 -4 , 76, 8 3 ,8 5 ,1 7 0 ,2 0 3 ^ 4 9 ,2 1 5 n .1 8 , 2 : 6 n n . 2 6 & 2 8 ; c o lle c tiv e , 25, 2 0 3 ^ 4 9 ; c o m m u n ic a tio n o f c o n sc io u s n e s s e s , 80 c o n s c c ra tio n c y c le , 195 c o n s e n s u s , 80, 167 c o n tr a c t, 171, 172, 174, 179 c o n tra d ic tio n , s p e c ific , o f a g ra ria n a c tiv ity , 116; o f m o d e o f r e p r o d u c tio n , 64 c o n tr a r ie s , 124-30; r e u n io n o f, 116, 124-30, 1 32-9, 225 n .5 6 c o n tr a r y a n d c o n tr a d ic to r y , x 12 c o o k e d /ra w , 90, 143-5 c o o k in g , 90, 113, 114, 128, 130, 138, 143-6, 154, 228 n .9 2 c o o k in g -p o t, i n , 116, 128, 129, 130, 140, 141, '4 3 . >44. ‘ 54. 228 n .9 2 C o r n f o r d , F . M ., 156 c o u p le s , th in k in g in , 112 C o u r n o t, A ., 216 n .2 0 , 221 n .2 2 c o u s in , p a ra lle l, 28, 30-71 p a w im , 224 n . 5 1 ; m a rria g e w ith , (f u n c tio n o f) 37, (id e o lo g ic a l r e p r e s e n ta tio n o f) 4 3 -4 , 46, 47, 202 n .3 7 , 209 n .8 o ; re la tio n to , a n d r e la tio n to la n d , 46 c r e d it, 4 1 , 62, 181, 183, 192, 197, 238 n .5 0 , 239 n.6 2 c ris is, 40, 83, 168-9, '7°> '7® c ro o k e d /s tra ig h t, 44, 94, 126, 136, 137, 138, 169, 208 n n .7 6 & 79 C u is e n ie r, J . , 32, 205 n .6 3 c u ltu r a l c a p ita l, see c a p ita l c u ltu r a l in te re s ts , 177, 197 c u ltu r a l p ra c tic e s , a n d le g itim a c y , 221 n .2 0 c u ltu r e , c o n c e p t of, 2, 23, 27, 84, 201 n .3 0 , 218 n . i , 236 n.41 c u s to m a r y law , 1 6 - 1 7 ,19> 4^> 167, 199 n n . 15-18, 211 n .9 6 , 212 n .io o , 215 n .1 9 c u ttin g , 133, 224 n .5 4 , 225 n .5 6 , 227 n .8 3 D a h l, R ., 216 n.26 d a y /n ig h t, 91, i l l , 121, 148, 2 2 0 n . 15; s tr u c tu r e o f d a y , 148-53, 159—61 d e a th , 90, 166; a n d s le e p , 121, 148 d e c ip h e r in g , iee d e c o d in g d e c o d in g , 1, 23-4, 91 d e la y a n d s tra te g y , 6 d e le g a tio n , 41, 193, 238 n n .< 5 -6 ; see also a u th o r ity , g ro u p D e M o rg a n , A ., 170 d e n ia l, 133, 136-7, 194-5, '9 7 D e s c a rte s , R . 74, 75, 107, 237 n .4 6 d ia g r a m , 106-7, >°8- n 8, 219 n .6 , 221 n .2 2 ; see also g e n e a lo g y d ia le c tic , o f c h a lle n g e a n d r ip o s te , 11; o f o b je c ­ tif ic a tio n a n d e m b o d im e n t, 8 7 -9 5 , an(^ see e x te rn a liz a tio n , h a b itu s ; o f o ffen c e a n d re v e n g e , 7 , and see e x c h a n g e


In d ex

D ilth e y , W ., 80 D io d o r u s , 9 d is c o u r s e . 16-22, 27, 155—6 , and see fo r m u la ­ t io n ; u n iv e rs e o f, 18, 110, 113, 168, 170, 221 n .2 6 , and see p ra c tic e d is e n c h a n tm e n t, 9 2 , 167, 176, 196, 238 n n . 50-1 d is p o s itio n , 3, 15, 17, 61, 6 4 , 72, 87, 93, 167; c h o ic e o f te r m , 214 n . i ; see also h a b itu s d is tin c tio n , 57, 178, 195, 236 n .4 2 d iv is io n , 103, 107, 112, 222 n .3 0 ; p rin c ip le o f, 100, 112, 125, 178; see also la b o u r, s p a c e , u n d iv id e d d o m in a n t/d o m in a te d , 169; see also fe m a le / m a le , f u n c tio n a lis m , o fficial, p o w e r re la tio n s d o m in a tio n , 14; e le m e n ta r y fo r m s o f, 190; m o d e s o f, 183-97 Passim d o o r , 100, 119, 120, 122, 137; see also th r e s h o ld D o s to y e v s k y , F ., 199 n . 9 d o x a , 164^71 d o x ic e x p e r ie n c e , 3, 164, 222 n .2 7 ; see also se lf-e v id e n c e d ry , see w e t D u B o is, C ., 8 4 -5 D u b v , G . , 232 n . i o D u c r o t, O ., 202 n.31 D u m o n t, L . , 31, 205 n .5 8 , 207 n .7 3 D u r k h e im , E . , 23, 27, 74, 75, 79, 97, 109, 115, 165, 189, 198 ri.2, 199 n . 15, 2 0 3 n n -3 9 & 4 9 , 216 n .2 1 , 223 n .3 9 , 225 n .5 6 , 237 n .4 5 e a r th /s k y , 45, 90, 124, 127, 135, 136, 220 n .1 4 , 227 n .7 9 e a s t/w e s t, 15, 90, 91, 112, 118-19, 121, 122, 130, 'S 3 e c c e n tric ity , 95, 161 e c o n o m ic p ra c tic e s , m e n ’s a n d w o m e n ’s , 6 2 -3 e c o n o m ic s o f p ra c tic e , 177—8 , 183 e c o n o m is m , 172, 175, 177 e c o n o m y , 171-85; a rc h a ic , 6 2 -3 , 171-83, 185, (a c c o u n ta n c y a n d ) 178, 181; g o o d -fa ith , 172-3, 180, 185-6 e d u c a tio n , 62, 8 1, 8 7 , 200 n n .2 0 & 2 6 , 2 1 7 ^ 4 0 , 219 n . 2 ; a n d e th o s , 7 7 ; jr e a /s o c h ild , in c u lc a ­ tio n , p e d a g o g y e d u c a tio n a l s y s te m , 186-8, 219 n .4 elbahadla, 11-13, 19 e m b le m , 20, 36, 165, 236 n .4 2 e m b o d im e n t, 72, 7 8 -9 , 81, 8 7 -9 5 E m m e r ic h , W ., 93 e m o tio n , 74, 117, 151, 330 n .1 0 2 , 233 n.11 E m p e d o c le s , 125, 224 n .4 8 e m p ty /f u ll, 45, 91, i n , 121, 126, 220 n .1 2 , 224 n .5 2 e n d o g a m y , see c o u s in , g r o u p , in c e st epoche, 168, 233 n.1 5 ergon!energeia, 119 E r ik s o n , E . H ., 9 2 -3 , 217 n .4 1 , 218 n .4 2 e th n o c e n tr is m , 10, 117, 177-8

e th n o m e th o d o lo g y , 3, 81, 96, 124; see also p h e n o m e n o lo g y e th o s, 7 7 ; c la ss, 8 5 ; a n d e t h i c s , 9 4 - 5 ; a n d h e x i s , 94; see also d is p o s itio n , h a b itu s e tiq u e tte , 11, 95 e u p h e m iz a tio n , 191, 196 E v a r s - P r itc h a r d , E . E . , 38 e v e m 'o d d , 124, 137, 139, 227 n .8 o e v e r y th in g ta k e s p la c e a s if, 77, 203 n .4 9 e x c e lle n c e , 15; a n d a r t o f liv in g , 8 , 19, 194; a n d in c u lc a tio n , 40, 191, 20c n .2 0 , 201 n .2 6 e x c h a n g e , 171ft, i 8 6 ; o f b lo w s , 11; o f g ifts , 4 -6 , 13, 15, 6 2 ,7 3 ,8 9 ,9 5 ,1 7 1 , 2 3 9 n .6 o ; o f h o n o u r, 10, 11, 42, 183; lo g ic o f, 8 -9 , 14-15, 7 2 -3 ; m o n e ta ry , 172, 175, 211 n .9 1 , 212 n .9 8 ; s y m b o lic , 6, 95, 96, 167, 178, 180, 183; of w o m e n , n , 42, 183; o f w o rd s , 11; see also c irc u la tio n , re v e n g e e x e c u tio n , 20, 2 4 -5 , 29, 84, 96, 98, 198 n .4 , 201 n n .2 6 , 29, 30 e x o g a m y , 28, 30ft e x p lic it, m a k in g ; see f o r m u la tio n e x te rn a l, see o u t( s id e ) e x te rn a liz a tio n /in te m a liz a tio n , 72, 7 5 -6 , 202 n .3 8 ; seealsod ia le c tic , in c u lc a tio n , p ed ag o g y e x tr a -o rd in a r y /o rd in a ry , 5 2 -8 , 135-6, 170, 178, 210 n n .8 7 & 8 9 ; g ifts , 7 - 8 ; m a rria g e s , 52-8 face u p to , see qabel fa m ilia rity , 3 , 4 , 18; see also s e lf-e v id e n c e " f a ta l s y s te m ” , 152 F a v r e t, J . , 108-9, 221 n -23 fe m a le /m a le , 15, 41, 42, 45, 61, 89, 9 1 -4 , 110, 111, 113-14, 122, 125; fe m a le -fe m a le a n d m a le -fe m a le , 45, 91, n o , 1 25-6; fe m a le m ale a n d m a le -m a le 224 n .5 0 ; see also la b o u r fin a h s m , 22, 7 2 -8 ; see also u n c o n s c io u s fin a lity F in le y , M . I . , 185, 235 n .3 5 , 238 n .5 0 fire /w a te r, 45, 90, 104, 127, 129, 131, 227 n .7 0 F l a t b e r t , G ., 215 n .1 8 fo o d , see c o o k in g fo rm , g o o d , 22, 95, 194; m u s ic a l, 163, 198 n .8 ; s y m b o lic , 218 n .2 ; te m p o r a l, 163 fo rm u la , 88 fo r m u la tio n , 16, 18, 19-20, 120, 167, 168, 170-1, 203 n .4 9 , 233 n - i6 ; see also d is c o u r s e , o b je c ­ tific a tio n F r a z e r, J . G ., 133, 226 n .7 2 F r e u d , S ., 136, 194, 238 n .5 7 f u ll, see e m p ty fu n c tio n , 9 7, 105, 115, 205 n .6 2 ; c o g n itiv e , 1-2, 24, 3 7 ,9 6 -7 ,1 6 5 ; c o m m u n ic a tiv e , 1 -2 ,1 4 , 24; o f g e n e a lo g y , 207 n .7 1 ; o f k in s h ip a n d k in , 3 3 -8 , 202 n .3 7 , and see k in s h ip ; o f m a rria g e , 3 2 -3 , 48, 49, 52, 115, 209 n .8 o ; p ra c tic a l, 24, 25; " s p e c u la tiv e ” , 165; see also in te re s t, p ra c tic e , th e o ry

Index fu n c tio n a lis m , 35, 115, 213 n .1 0 3 ; a n ti- f ., 218 n .i f u tu r e , 9, 11, 76, 152; a n d p a s t, 15, 121 fu z z in e s s , see in d e te rm in a c y G a b le , R . W ., 239 n .6 3 g a m e , 130, 161, 207 n .7 4 , 217 n .3 7 ; o f h o n o u r, n - 1 2 ; see also rite g a m e th e o r y , 12, 77 G a rfin k e l, H ., 21, 200 n .2 4 G e e r tz , C ., 236 n .3 9 g e n e a lo g y , 2 , 8, 19, 21, 33, 3 6 -8 , 4 1 -3 , 98, 105, 204 n .5 4 , 206 n n .6 6 - 7 ; a n d g e n e a lo g is ts , 19, 207 n.71 g e n e r a tio n , c y c le o f, 15s; m o d e o f, 78 g e n e r a tio n c o n flic ts , 78, 138 g e n e r a tio n g a p , 232 n .5 ; see also lim it g e n e r o s ity , 14, 171-3, ‘94-5> >98 n .7 , 2 3 9 ^ 5 9 ; see also c a p ita l g e n e s is a m n e s ia , 23, 79, 218 n . i G id e , A ., 112 g if t, 4 - 6 , 7 - 8 , S3, 171, 192, 194, 198 n .7 ; see also exchange G lu c k m a n , M ., 202 n .3 4 G o ffm a n , E . , 94 g o in /o u t, see o u t(s id e ) G o o d y , J . , 236 n .4 0 g r a m m a r , 8, 20, 27, s o o n . 2 6 ; g e n e r a tiv e , 20, 25,

27 G r a n e t, M ., 222 n .2 9 , 230 n.109 G r a n q v is t. H . , 205 n.61 G r e e n e , W . C ., 236 n.41 g r o u p , 30-43 passim; a llia n c e , a n d d e s c e n t, 30; see also fu n c tio n g y m n a s tic s , s y m b o lic , 2, 120, 218 n .4 4 h a b itu s , a c q u is itio n o f, 7 6 -8 , 81, 87—8 ; a n d b io g ra p h y , 8 6 -7 ; a n d c o lle c tiv e a c tio n , 81, 82; a n d c e n s o rs h ip , 18; c h o ic e o f te r m , 218 n .4 7 ; a n d c h ro n o lo g y , 8 6 -7 ; a n d c u ltu r e , 200 n .2 6 : a n d c u s to m a r y la w , 17; a n d e arly e d u c a tio n , 15, 6 3 -4 , 87, and see h . : a c q u is i­ tio n o f; a n d e th o s , 82, 8 5 ; g r o u p a n d c la ss, 7 7 -8 , 8 0 -2 , 8 5 -6 ; h a rm o n iz a tio n (o r c h e s ­ tr a tio n ) o f, 9 , 72, 7 9 -8 1 , 86, 200 n .1 8 ; a n d h is to ry , 8 2 -3 , 8 5 ; h y s te re s is e ffe c t a n d , 78, 83; a n d im p r o v is a tio n , 21, 54, 7 9 ,9 5 , and see im p r o v is a tio n ; a s im m a n e n t la w , 81; a n d in c u lc a tio n , 17, 6 3 -4 , 76, 8 1 ,8 5 ; a n d in te ra c ­ tio n , g, 73, 8 1 ; a n d in te r e s ts , 35, 6 3 -4 ; a n d p ra c tic e s , 18, 72, 7 8 , 95, 207 n .7 4 ; a n d ru le s , 17, 20, 40, 76, 9 8 ; a n d so c ia l p o s itio n , 8 1 -2 ; a n d s tra te g ie s , 73, 76, 2 i 4 n . 2 ; a s s tr u c tu r e d , s tr u c tu r in g s tr u c tu r e , 72, 77-9, 97, 167; a n d u n c o n s c io u s , 18, 7 8 -9 ; as u n ify in g p rin c ip le , 8 2 -3 , 216 n .2 3 ; a s u n iv e rs a liz in g m e d ia tio n , 79, 83, 87, 216 n.2 3


H a n o te a u , A ., a n d L e to u r n e u x , A ., 16, 108-9, 199 n n . 17-18, 211 n .9 6 , 212 n .io o haram, see s a c re d h a r d /te n d e r , 122, 131, 132, 228 n.91 H a rris , M ., 73, 201 n .3 0 , 215 n .3 H a r tm a n n , N . , 79 H a v e lo c k , E . A ., 236 n.41 H e b - H e b - e r - R e m m a n , 114 H e g e l, G . W . F . , 18, 76, 86, 156, 163, 200 n . 19, 218 n .4 7 , 237 n-¥> H e id e g g e r, M ., 156, 216 n .2 4 , 231 n.113 h e re sy , 43, 169, 171 h e rm e n e u tic s , 1 -3, n , 23, 119; see also sem io lo g y h e te ro d o x y , see o rth o d o x y h e x is, b o d y , 82, 87, 9 3 -4 ; m a n o f h o n o u r ’s, 94, 162; w o m a n ’s, 94 h ir e d tille r , 12-13 h is to ry , c o lle c tiv e , see thadjadith', o f e x c h a n g e s , 6 7, 207 n .7 2 ; a n d h a b itu s , 18, 7 8 -9 , 8 2 -3 ; in d iv id u a l a n d c o lle c tiv e , 86; m a trim o n ia l, 66; a n d p ra c tic a l lo g ic 228 n .9 0 ; a n d s e x u a l d iv is io n o f la b o u r , 9 2; a n d s t r u c ­ tu re s , 8 5 , 218 n . i ; a n d te rm in o lo g y o f social u n its , 108; a n d u n c o n s c io u s , 7 8 -9 ; see also s tr u c tu r a lis m H je lm s le v , L . , 201 n .2 9 H o b b e s , T . , 189, 193 h o e in g , 131, 226 n .6 6 h o n o u r ( hurma), 48, 61, 90, 126, 178, 181, 182, 196, 211 n .9 4 , 2 , 4 n . m ; m a n o f, n , 94, 162, 175; see also c a p i ta l: s y m b o lic , is o tim y , p o in t o f h o n o u r, s e n s e , s tra te g y h o t, see c o ld h o u s e ( K a b v le ) , 21, 44, 61, 8 9 -9 1 ,9 4 , n o , 113, 117, 125, 186, 217 n .3 9 h u m a n is m , 4 ; see also s u b je c tiv is m H u m b o ld t, W . v o n , 119 H u m e , D ., 77 hurma, see h o n o u r H u s s e rl, E ., 1, 76, 107, 199 n .8 , 221 n.21 h y s te re s is e ffe c t, 78, 8 3 ; see also g e n e r a tio n , h a b itu s " id e o lo g ic a l a p p a r a t u s e s ” , 188 id e o lo g y , 21, 33, 37, 38, 62, 64, 65, 188; see also g e n e a lo g y , n o r m , o fficial, ru le illn e s s, 166-7 im p r o v is a tio n , 8, io , 11, 21, 54, 79, 95, 171; see also h a b itu s in c e s t, 30, 6 4 , 206 n .6 8 in c o rp o ra tio n , see e m b o d im e n t in c u lc a tio n , 1 9 - 2 0 ,6 2 ,7 7 ,8 1 ,8 5 - 6 ,9 2 ,1 1 2 ,1 8 2 , 186, 196, 200 n .2 6 ; see also h a b itu s in d e te rm in a c y , 109-13, 122-3, I40 - 3> 221 n -2S in d iv id u a l, 26, 81, 8 5 -6 ; c ritiq u e o f, 84; a n d p o s itio n , 1 8 7 -8 ; see also h a b itu s



in f o r m a n t, 18-19, 37- +2- 52 ' 57~^i 9®. ,0 5 -6 ; ue also a n th r o p o lo g is t in s id e , see o u t(s id e ) in te g ra tio n , lo g ic a l, 115, 163, 232 n .8 ; m o ra l, 115; s o c ia l, 163; see also lin e a g e in te lle c tu a lis m , 1, 19, 24, 9 6 -7 , 116, 117, 203

la b o u r tim e , a n d p r o d u c tio n tim e , 132-3, 176, 179, 222 n .3 2 lad le, 140-1 L a k o ff, G ., 221 n .2 5 la m p , 9 0 -1 , 125, 130, 139, 227 n .8 4 , 231 n.105 la n d , 6 , 36, 208 n .8 o ; p r a c tic c s c o n c e r n in g , 162, n .47 172, 174-5, 182, 191, 233 n .2 2 ; s y m b o lic v a lu e in te r a c tio n , 10-11, 25, 73, 8 1 -2 , 9 6 ; see also o f, 6 0 -1 , 1 8 2 -3 ; see flk ° ea r t h , p lo u g h in g , h a b itu s w om an la n g u a g e : o f th e b o d y , 120; a n d c la ssific a to ry in te ra c tio n is m , 21, 7 3 , 81, 237 n .4 9 ; see also p h e n o m e n o lo g y s c h e m e s , 124; a n d e x p e r ie n c e , 170; o rd in a ry , in te r e s t, 76, 106, 194, and see r u le ; e c o n o m ic , a r.d a u th o r ity , 21, 1 70-1; a n d s p e e c h 172, 182; e c o n o m ic a n d s y m b o lic 38, 3 9-40, {Uingueiparole), 1, 2 3 -4 , 26, 84, 201 n .2 9 171, 177, 1 8 0-1; p a r tic u la r a n d g e n e r a l, 4 0 -1 ; L a o u s t, E ., 96, 140, 209 n .7 8 , 228 n.87 L a R o c h e fo u c a u ld , F . d e , 6 s c ie n tific , 222 n .2 6 ; a n d u p b r in g in g , 182 in te rv a l, 171; a n d s tr a te g y , 6 , 14, 15 L a s sw e ll, H . D ., 201 n .3 0 in v e rs io n , 130, 217 n .3 8 , 225 n .6 5 ; lo g ic a l, a n d law , 16, 21, 3 1 -2 , 46, 187-8, 215 n .1 9 ; see also c u s to m a r y law b o d y m o v e m e n t, 116, 119; see alsoth r e s h o ld is o tim y , p rin c ip le o f, n - 1 5 , 16 L e a c h , E . R ., 26, 108, 202 n n .3 0 & 35 le a rn , 88, 9 6 ; b y d o in g , 217 n .4 0 ; see also e d u c a tio n , in c u lc a tio n , p e d a g o g y ja c k a l, 126, 129, 136, 225 n.61 J a k o b s o n , R ., 11, 198 n .8 , 199 n . n le a rn e d ig n o ra n c e (docta ignorantia) , *«£ m a s ­ te ry : p ra c tic a l ju ra l ru le s , 31, 205 n .5 8 le f t/r ig h t, 15, 61, 89, 91, 118-19, 121, 126, 169 ju s tic e , s e n s e o f, 17 le g a list fo rm a lis m (juridisme) , 17, 2 0 ,2 2 , 2 7 ,4 0 , 46, 201 n .2 7 , 219 n .3 ; see also ru le K a d i-ju s tic e , 16 le g itim a tio n , 19,165, 168, 1 7 0 -1 ,1 8 8 , 196,1 9 6 -7 kairos, 20 L e ib n iz , G W . , 7 6 , 8 0 - 1 ,8 6 ,2 i 6 n . 2 S , 2 3 7 n . 46 K a n t, I . , 86, 91, 124, 231 n .1 1 0 hanun ( h e a r th ) , i n , 113, 118, 132, 225 n . 5 7 ,2 2 8 L e N y , J . F . , 223 n .3 8 L e to u r n e u x , A ., see H a n o te a u , A . n .9 2 , 230 n.107 K a s d a n , L . , see M u r p h y , R . L e v i- S tra u s s , C ., 4 -5 , 27, 30, 32, 115, 195, 198 n 5, 202 n .3 8 , 203 n .4 2 , 204 n .5 5 , 205 n n .5 8 & K e lly , W . H ., 201 n-3p khammes, 190-1, 192, 196 64, 223 n .3 9 , 237 n -49 k in s h ip , 30-71 p a tsim ; c a te g o r ie s ,2 o 6 n .68, (a n d L e v y -B ru h l, L . , 117 m y th ic c a te g o rie s ) 4 5 ; b y m e n a n d b y w o m e n , lim it, 124, 129, 137, 164, 166; a g e , 165 4 1 -3 ; official a n d p ra c tic a l, 3 3 -8 , 39, 105, L in d e r , S . B ., 239 n .5 8 202 n .3 7 ; re la tio n s , m a n ip u la tio n o f, 4 1 -3 , lin e a g e, in te g r a tio n o f, 57—63; see also g r o u p , 8 9; r e p r e s e n ta tio n a l, 35, 5 9 ,6 6 ; te r m s , 37,205 id eo lo g y , n a m e , official n .5 8 , 206 n .6 8 ; see also c o u s in , f u n c tio n lin g u is tic s , 1 ,2 2 -3 , 25; S a u s s u ria n , 1 ,2 3 -5 , a n d K le in , M ., 92 see S a u s s u re K lu c k h o h n , C ., 201 n .3 0 lite ra c y , 89, 106, 156-7, 186-7, 2 I^ n -44. ZI9 n n .3 & 4 , 220 n .9 , 228 n .9 0 , 236 n .4 1 ; see also k n o w le d g e (connaissance), 2 -3 , 96; p ra c tic a l ( p r im a ry ) 3, 10, 19; p ra c tic a l, a n d d o x a , 164; m n e m o te c h n ic s lo g ic, 125, 142, 158, 221 n .2 5 ; e c o n o m y o f, th e o re tic a l, m o d e s o f, 3 8 ; see also f u n c tio n , o b je c tiv is m , p h e n o m e n o lo g y 109-14; n a tu r a l, 221 n .2 5 ; p ra c tic a l, 96-158 k n o w le d g e (savoir), 20, 98, 106, 200 n .2 0 , 219 passim, 163, 221 n n . 23 & 26, 222 n .2 9 , 224 n.4 5 , (la x ity o f) 91, 109, 228 n .g o , (a n d n n .3 - 4 , 236 n .3 9 ; a n d b o d y , 218 n .4 4 " lo g ic a l lo g ic ” ) 142, 158, 231 n.110 K r o e b e r , A . L . , 202 n .3 0 lo g ic ism , 117, 119; see also in te lle c tu a lis m la b o u r , 172-3, 1 7 4-6; o f c o n c e a lm e n t, 1 7 1-2; lo o m . 90, 115, 122, 146, 160 d iv is io n o f, 163, 219 n .4 , (b e tw e e n s e x e s) 41, L o r d , A . B ., 88 L o w ie , R . H ., z i8 n . i 44, 4 5 ,6 2 ,8 7 ,8 9 , 9 0 ,9 3 , 160-1, 163, 217 n .3 8 , 219 n .4 ; o f e u p h e m iz a tio n , 196; o f o b je c tifi­ L u l i c s , G ., 171 c a tio n , 196; a n d p a in s , 1 7 4-5; p ro d u c tiv e a n d u n p r o d u c tiv e , 1 75-6, 234 n .2 5 ; o f r e p r o d u c ­ M a c K e a n , D ., 239 n.63 m a g ic , 43, 126, 151-2, 219 n .4 ; lo g ic o f, io i, tio n , 171, 180, and see r e p r o d u c tio n ; s e x u a l, 151-2; a n d re lig io n , 41, 89, 93, 219 n .4 8 9 , 9 0 ; s y m b o lic , 171, 180; w o m e n ’s, c a le n d a r m a le , see fe m a le o f, 146-8

Index Malinowski, B., 195, 201 11.27, 202 n-}° manner, 86 manners, 94 map, 2, 37, 105 Marcy, G., 12, 199 n.13, 209 n.84 market,49, 58, i n , 122, 174,181,183, 184-6,217 n.38, 235 n.37; cultural, 187; matrimonial, 47, 56, 68-9, 71, 162, 174, 213 n.106; selfregulating, 183, 189 marriage, 6-7, 8, 30-71, 101, 103, 125, 129, 174, 220 n.14, 225 n.61; preferential, 3r, 33, 37; proposal of, 34-5; see also cousin, extra­ ordinary, function, labour, market, negotia­ tion, official, rite, strategy Marx, K.., 10, 30, 36, 60, 77,83-4, 96, 170, 176, 177, 178, 226 n.69, 237 n.48 "master beam”, and main pillar, 90, 227 n.79 mastery, practical, 2,4, 15,19,79,87, 88-9, 111, 118, 123, 156, 223 n.40; symbolic (theoretical), 10, 18-19, 79. 88• "8, 231 n n.in-12 materialism, 22, 96, 182; see also economism Matheron, A., 218 n.45 Maunier, R. 234 n.30 Mauss, M., 4, 97, 172, 195, 233 n.23 Mead, G. H., 11 measuring, 127, 224 n.54


nefs, 139, 141 negotiation, matrimonial, 34-5, 56, 59, 235 n.32; see also marriage Negro, 101-2, 129, 22c nn.8-9, 226 n.71 Nicod, J . , i n , 119, 222 n.28, 223 n.35 Nicolet, C., 236 n.42 nif, see point of honour norm, 19-21, 22, 27-8, 193; see also rule Notopoulos, J . A ., 236 n.41 objectification, 20-2, 87-95passim, 98, 105, 164, 170, 232 n.9; of social capital, 184, 186-7; see also calendar, diagram, formulation, labour, theory objectivism, 1-30 passim. 72, 77, 79, 83-4, 90, 96, 115, 198 nn.3 & 8, 200 n.25, 232 n.g, 239 n.61 obligation, 6, 70, 190, 192-3, 195-6, 209 n.8o obsequium, 95 observer, 1-2, 5, 17-18, 96, 123, 223 n.30; see also anthropologist odd, see even offence, 61; and revenge, 7, 61, 199 n.14 official, and practical, 19, 34-5, 41,.52, 53, 59; symbolic profits of, 22; and unofficial, 35,41, 45; see also kinship, ideology officialization, 21, 38-43, 171

m ech an ism , 22, 72-8 p a ssim

(to) o pen, see (to) close

Merleau-Ponty, M., 20, 200 n.21, 203 n.47 metaphysics, 156-8 mimesis, 2, 26, 96, 116, 125, 138, 167, 218 n.44, 224 n.46, 236 n.41 misrecognition (meconnaissance), 5, 21-2, 97, 133,163. 164, 168, 170,171,172-83,191,195-6 mnemotechnics, 88, 94, 187, 217n.32, 22c n .n , 231 n .i12, 236 n.41 model, 3-9, 10, 73, 123; lineage, see genealogy; and norm, 27-9, 32-3 modus operatidijopus operatum, 1, 18-19, 3&, 72' 79, 87, 90, h i money, 172-3, 185; see also exchange monothesis and polythesis, 5, 107, 109, 171,199 n.8 Morand, M., 199 n.18 morning, 148-52, 161-2 Murphy, R., and Kasdan, L., 32, 205 nn.60-2, 206 n.66, 213 n.103 mutual aid, see thiwizi myth, 163; and philosophy, 158; and science of myth, 114-15, 117-18, 156-8, 231 n n.m -12; see also rite mvthopoeia, 118, 124; see also ritual practice

opinion, 167-71 oppositions, mythico-ritual, 45, 94, 112, 113, 118, 124-7, *42> 157; see also contraries, magic, pairs of oppositions e.g. female/male opus operatum, see modus operandi orchestration of practices, 163, 232 n.7; see also habitus orthodoxy/heterodoxy, 19, 164, 169; see also opinion out(side)/m(side), 41, 57-8, 61, 90-2, 94, 102, 103, n c, 118-19, I22> 137. 160-1 outsider (stranger), 46, 47, 135, 138, 154, 230 n.107, see also awrith, centrifugal, observer, outside

name, 60; first (transmission of), 36-7, 50, 206 n.70; proper, 18; see also capital: symbolic, title nationalism, 177 Needham, R., 31, 204 n.57

Panofsky, E., 1, 23, 218 n.2 Pariente, J. C., 202 n.31 Parmenides, 124 Parsons, T ., 83 passages, 128, i3off; see also rite pedagogic action, 20, 64, 87, 94-5; see also education, inculcation pedagogic relationship, 18 pedagogy, implicit, 94 performance, see execution personality, basic, 84-5; modal, 85 personification of collectives, 203 n.49; see also realism Peters, E. L., 33 phenomenology, 3-5, 80, 168, 233 n. 15



Phidias, 86 philosophy, 30, 156, 168, 187, 223 n.41, 231 n.113 Plato, 156, 158, 200 n.20, 218 n.44, 224 n-4^ ploughing, 100, 104, 113, 127, 128, 130, 135-6, !37» *75; and marriage, 45, 55, 114, 125, 137, 138— g, 208 n.78; and weaving, 115 ploughshare, 45, 127, 136, 137 Poincare, H., 2 point of honour (nif), 12, 14-15, 58, 61, 89, 90, 93, 94, 181, 182, 211 n-94, 214 n.i 11, 220n. 15, 224 n.50 point of view, 10-11, 96, 117; see also anthropologist, objectivism politeness, rules of, 94-5, 218 n.46; see also etiquette political science, 189 politics, 40, 54, 58, 60, 82-3, 92, 93-5, 153, 168, 171, 178-9, 180, 194, 218 n.46; and epistemology, 165 ; see also collectivization, officialization, position Polyani, K., 183, 189, 235 n.37, 239 n.6o polysemy, 110-11, 120-3, 143; see also indeter­ minacy polythesis, see monothesis pomegranate, 114, 121, 138-9, 145, 227 n.84 position, in family, 69; legally defined, 187-8; political, 107-8; in social structure, 82 potlatch, 194 pottery, 146-8 power, 15, 195, 235 n.33; economic, 184-5; political, 180, 194; symbolic, 165, 170, 233 n.9 power relations. 187-8, 231 n.i 12, 237 n.47; domestic, 43, 45^6, 64-5. 67-8, 164-5, 2I3 n.104, and see brothers, female, strategy: successional; intergenerational, 165 practical logic, see logic practical mastery, see mastery practice, as "art”, 2; temporal structure of, 5-9, and see simultaneity; theory of, 4, 9, 10, ii, 72, 96, 105, (implicit) 1, 3, 17, 22, 23, 25, 31. 36; universe of, no, 122-3 prayer, 148, 153, 159, 160, 162 present, see gift pre-Socratics, 156, 224 n.48, 231 n.113 Prieto, L., 25, 202 n.31 probabilities, objective, and subjective aspira­ tions, 76-8, 86, 218 n.48 prophet, 171 Proust, M., 166, 233 n.13 psychoanalysis, 92 psychology, child, 93; and sexual division of labour, 92; social, 81 Pythagoreans, 124 qabel, 15, 90, 162, 175 qanun, see customary law

qualification, academic, 187-8, 236 n.44; see also title Quine, W. V., 29, 204 n.51 Radcliffe-Brown, A. R., 24, 31, 201 n.30, 205 n.58 rationalization, 20,28,98,101; see also ideology realism, 27, 29-30, 38, 39, 84-5, 203 n.49; of the element, 216 n.29; l^e intelligible, 201 n.30; naive, 201 n.30; of the structure, 72,216 n.29 reciprocity, cycle of, 4-5, 9 recording, 188 regionalism, 177 regularization, see conformity reification of abstractions, see personification. realism , th e o ry : th eo rizatio n

relationships, genealogical, see official; official and practical, see official; upkeep of, 35, 38, 39. I7I> 178 religion, see magic representations, 1-2, 96-7, 116 reproduction, cycle of, 36, 155; mode of, 60,64; simple, 59, 162, 166, and see accumulation; social, 3, 52, 58-71 passim, 83, 163, 164-6,182, 188-90, 196-7, 204 n.53; see also labour resurrection, 134-5, O?"8* *54-5. 223 n*4°» ^ n.86 revenge, 6-7, 36,46,60-1,62, 182-3,208-9 n-8°* 211 n.94 revolution, 73-4, 82-3; see also conjuncture rhythms, collective, 161-3; see a^so tempo Riegl, A., 23 right, see left rite (ritual), 2, 7, 15, 21, 91, 95, 129, 132-9, 163, 219 n.4; expulsion, 104, 176; fertility, 114, 118; marriage, 45, 52, 53-6, 115,122,137, 139, 143, 204 n.54, 207 n.75, 210 n.87, 227 n.77; of passage, 95, 128, 129, 135, 153-4; prognosti­ cation, 128, 225 n.57; prophylactic and prop­ itiatory, 45, 101, 102, 129, 132, 148, 212 n.99, 225 n.63; rain-making, 100,103,118,128, 130, 135-6, 139, 140; sanctioning, 132ff; and strategy, 35, 89, 207 n.74, 208 n.75; $ee a^° circumcision, sheaf ritual practice, 107, 111-13, 114-20, 122, 124, 132, 222 n.32, 224 n.48; see also logic: prac­ tical ritualization, 163, 166; of crises, 178 ; of interac­ tions, 7, 15; of violence, 207 n.74 roots, linguistic and ritual, 120-1; sense of, 98 Rosenfield, H., 205 n.61 ruh, 139, 146, 220 n.16 rule, 2, 8, 15-17, 22-9, 31, 36, 4c, 46, 70, 76, 98, 196, 201 nn.26-7, 207 n.74; see rational­ ization Russell, B., 155, 235 n.33 Ruyer, R., 95, 216 n.22

Index sacred (haram), 61, 89, 137, 199 n.14, 227 n.77 Sahlins, M. D ., 237 n.48 Sapir, E., 23, 119 sar, 193, 211 n.95 Sartre, J.-P., 73— 6, 170, 215 n.18, 216 n.24, 23! n.102, 233 n.19 Saussure, F. de, 1, 23-5, 26, 27, 198 n.4, 201 nn.28-9, 221 n.22 scheme (scheme), apprehension of, 116,123, 222 n.33, 2230.40, 228n.86; and habitus, 8-9,15; and jurisprudence, 16; and model, 6,8-9,11, 20; and practice, 27, 91, 97, no, 112-13, 122-3; and situation, 142-3 scheme transfer, 116, 156 scholars, 156, 231 nn.m -12; see also bureau­ cracy, literacy, specialists Schutz, A., 21, 200 n.23 self-evidence, 53, 80, 164, 167-71, 182-3, 200 n.20, 203 n.49, 216 n.20; see also doxa semiology, 23, 188; spontaneous, 10, 26 sense, 79-80, 124; of analogy, 112; of honour, 10-15,165, 199 n. 15,20c n. 18. and see honour, point of honour; of justice, see justice; of limits, 124, 164; practical, 113, ami see know­ ledge (connaissance): practical; of reality, 86, 164; of roots, 98 separation, 124-30, 135, 153 series, 154-5, 229 n.97 Servier, J., 135 sexes, opposition between, 87; see also female, labour, oppositions sexuality, 225 n.56; male and female relations to, 92-3 shame, 44, 47, 48; see also honour, woman sheaf, ritual of last, 134-5, 140, 226 n.73, 227 n.81 simultaneity, and succession, 9, 38, 107, 117, 198 n.8, 221 n.22 situation, 25-6, 76, 110, 123, 142-3; see also conjuncture situational analysis, 26 smith, 104, 106, 126, 127, 133, 152, 163, 219 n.4, 226 n.71 snake, 114, 222 n.31, 227 n.82, 228 n.88 sociology, 188-9, 233 n-!7 soft, see hard Sophists, 20, 231 n.i 11 sorcerer, 171 space, body, and cosmic, 89-90, 91; directions in, see east/west; divisions of, 91, 163, 185, 217 n.38; geographical, 117; geometrical, 105, 108, 117-18; house, 89-91, 113, 117, 160; male and female, 91, 160, 163, 217 n.38; movements in, 90-1; village, 89-90, 160-1; village, and market, 185-6 specialists, 21, 184, 231 nn. 111-12, 233 n.16 speech, as constructed object and preconstructed datum, 23


spiced/bland, 130, 143-5, 227 n.83; see also cooking Spinoza, B., 83, 95 spokesman, 37, 40, 59, 193 Steiner, G. A , 217 n.33 straight, see crooked stranger, see outsider strategy, 3-9,15, 36, 40,181, 182, 186, 190, 236; collective, 59; domination, 183-4; educative, 62; fertility, 62; and habitus, 214 n.2; hon­ our, 89, 185; matrimonial, 48, 58-71 passim, 204 n.54, 214 n n .iio -n , and see negotiation; and ritual, 89, 207 n.74; second-order, 22, 42-6, 52, and see officialization; successional, 62-3, 232 n.io, and see succession; see also habitus, reproduction, rite structural functionalism, see functionalism structural lag, 83 structuralism, 3, 24, 26, 32, 82-4, 119, 237 n.49; anthropological, 26-7. 32, 52, 115, 218 n.i; linguistic, 26; and Teilhardism, 120\ see also functionalism, linguistics, Saussure structure, and conjuncture, 78, 81; and func­ tion, 24-5; and individual, 84; and musical form, 198 n.8; objective, construction of, 21, 200 n.25; realism of the, 72; social, 24; status of, 84; type a:b: :b,:b2, 44 style, 1, 6, 25, 86; see also manner subjectivism, 3-4, 82, 84, 216 nn.24 & 28 succession, 36-7,62, 206-7 nn.70-1; crisis and, 64 Suger, Abbot, 1 swelling, 102, 114, 116, 138, 140, 143, 145, 222 n.31, 223 nn.33 & 4c symbol, and situation, 141 symbolic activities, 176-7; see also technical symbolic capital, see capital symbolic forms, see form symbolic stimulation, 76 symbolic system, 97, 218 n .i, 231 n .m -1 2 ; coherence of, 97, 109, 119-20, 218 n.i symbolic violence, see violence symbolism, of body, 92-3; of circumcision, 227 n.75; of cooking, 138; of honour, 92; of interaction, 10; see also space synchronization, 163, 232 n.7 taken for granted, see self-evidence, doxa taste, 124; categories of, 121-2, 123; see also body: socially informed taxonomy, see classificatory system teaching, see education, pedagogy technical, and symbolic, 175-6, 181, 222 n.32 Teilhard de Chardin, P., 120 tempering, 104, 127, 133, 137, 222n.31, 229

” •93 tempo, 7, 15; see also delay, interval, prac­ tice, strategy



n .6 te n d e r , see h ard

u n th in k a b le , 18, 21, 31, 7 7 ,1 6 8 -7 0 , 1 7 7 ,1 9 6 ; see a lso s e lf- e v id e n c e u p /d o w n , see b o tto m

te r m in o lo g y , o f so c ia l u n its 1 0 8 -9 ; see a ^ ° k in sh ip

u p r ig h t, see c r o o k e d u r b a n iz a tio n , 233 n .1 6 , 239 n .6 2

te m p o r a l r h y th m s, a n d so c ia l o r d e r , 165, 232

th a d ja d ith , 36, 6 4 , 136 th a jm a th , see a sse m b ly


th a m g h a rth , 4 5 , 66, 6 8 , 1 0 1 - 2 ,1 2 6 ,1 2 8 - 9 , 160-** 213 n .1 0 4 ; 219 n .4 , 220 n .8 , 225 n .6 o th a y m a ts, 136, 209 11.82 t h e o r y , a n d n e u tr a liz a tio n o f f u n c tio n s , 106; a n d p r a c tic e , 1, 29; th e o r iz a tio n e ffe c t o f, 1 0 9 - ic , 171, 178; see a lso g r a m m a r, la w , m a ste ry th islith , 45, 55, 133, 1 4 0 -1 , 213 n .1 0 4 th iw iz i, 6 0 , 173, 179-80, 192, 234 n .2 4 th r e sh o ld , 1 3 0 - 2 ,1 4 8 ,2 1 9 n .6 ; se e a ls o in v e r s io n t im e ,' 6 - 7 , 1 0 5 -6 , 162, 176, 180, 184, 193, 234 n .2 6 ; s e e a ls o d e la y , in te r v a l, k a iro s, la b o u r , p ra ctic e, s im u lta n e ity , te m p o , te m p o r a l r h y th m s t id e , 184, 236 n .4 1 ; tr a n sm issio n o f, 36; see also n a m e , q u a lific a tio n t o p , see b o tto m to ta liz a tio n , 106-9; t ^ o l s o s im u lta n e ity , th e o r y T o u r a in e , A ., 215 n .4 T r u b e t z k o y , N . S . , 119 T u r n e r , H . A ., 239 n .6 3 t w is te d , see cr o o k ed u fth yen , see s w e llin g u n c o n s c io u s , 2 7 -8 , 7 8 - 9 , 80 , 120, 203 n .4 0 , 216 n .2 8 , 223 n .3 9 ; e p is te m o lo g ic a l, 23 u n c o n s c io u s fin a lity , 25, 119, 223 n .3 9 u n d iv id e d h o n o u r , 47 u n d iv id e d o w n e r s h ip , 33, 40 , 48, 49, 62, 212 n .io o ; b rea k u p o f , 45, 62 , 6 3 , 212 n .9 7 ; a n d c o m m u n it y o f h a b itu s , 35; see a lso la n d , str a te g y : s u c c e s s io n a l, s u c c e s s io n u n n a m e a b le , 18, 51, 177; see a lso u n th in k a b le

J., 202 n n .3 3 , J.,

V an V e ls e n ,

3 6 -7

V endryfes, 123 v e n g e a n c e , see r e v e n g e v io le n c e , le g itim a te , z i , 4 0 -1 ; r itu a liz e d , 207 n .7 4 ; s y m b o lic , 21, 190-7 p a ssim , 237 n .4 7 v ir ility , 9 2 -3 ; see a lso p o in t o f h o n o u r , s e x u a lity V o g e l, T . , 230 n . i o i v o lu n ta r is m , see su b je c tiv ism

J., 75

W a h l, W a lla c e, A . F . , 85 W a llo n , H . , i i 2 W a tt, I ., 236 n .4 0 w e a v in g , 90, 115, 133, 146; a n d p lo u g h in g , 115, 227 n .8 3 , 229 n .9 4 W 'eber, M . , 9 , 16, 6 4 , 7 6 , 170, 179, 188, 215 n .1 9 W 'esterm arck, E . , 114, 224 n .5 3 , 228 n .8 9 w e t /d r y , 9 0 , 100, 103, n o , 1 1 2 ,1 1 3 -1 4 ,1 2 7 , 129, 130, 140, 146, 221 n .1 7 , 227 n .8 3 W h ite , L . , 23 W h itin g , J. M . W ., 233 n .1 4 W ittg e n s te in , L . , 29, 30, 203 n .4 8 , 204 n .5 2 W o lf, E ., 235 n .3 4 w o m a n , 41, 44, 62, 6 6 , 6 8 , 89, 112, 1 2 3 ,1 2 6 ,1 2 8 , 209 n .8 1 , 217 n n .3 7 - 8 , 224 n .5 1 ; o ld , se e tham gharth-, re la tio n to , an d rela tio n to la n d , 46, 55, 114, 1 2 5 -6 , 128-^, see a lso e x c h a n g e , fe m a le w o o l, 1 4 6 -8 w o rk , see la b o u r w r itin g , see lite ra cy y ea r, f a n n in g , 1 2 7 -8 ; see also ca len d a r Z iff, P ., 120, 203 n .38

O utline o f a th e o ry o f practice is recognized as a major theoreti­ cal text on the foundations of anthropology and sociology. Pierre Bourdieu, a distinguished French anthropologist, develops a theory of practice which is simultaneously a critique of the methods and postures of social science and a general account of how human action should be understood. With his central concept of the habitus, the principle which negotiates between objective structures and practices, Bourdieu is able to transcend the dichotomies which have shaped theoretical thinking about the social world. The author draws on his fieldwork in Kabylia (Algeria) to illustrate his theoretical propositions. With detailed study of matrimonial strategies and the role of rite and myth, he analyses the dialectical process of the Incorporation of structures' and the objectification of h abitus, whereby social formations tend to reproduce themselves. A rigorous, consistent materialist approach lays the foun­ dations for a theory of sym bolic capital and, through analysis of the different modes of domination, a theory of symbolic power. '[O u tlin e o f a th e o ry o f p ra c tic e ] can be highly recommended as a complex and often beautifully written piece of philosophical literature/ The Times H ig h e r Education S u pp lem e nt 'Few bodies of work are so systematic, so comprehensive, so creative, so fertile as Bourdieu's. Few theorists glide so adroitly between levels and styles of analysis, and few reach so keenly to the heart of so many analytic issues/ A m erican J o u rn a l o f S ocio log y Pierre Bourdieu is Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautcs Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and Director of the Centre de Sociologie Europeenne. Cover design by Margaret Downing

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