Thinking about civil wars with and beyond Bourdieu: State, capital and habitus in critical contexts
Journal of Classical Sociology
en ligne (18 mars 2021)
Bourdieu, capital, civil wars, general economy of practices, habitus, state
Building on Marx and Weber, Bourdieu developed a sociology for scrutinizing the processes of domination and accumulation that allow social reproduction to take place. Yet, Bourdieu rarely tackled the breakdowns of social orders and never construed war as a scientific object, even if he signaled the theoretical interest in an inverse sociogenesis of the state. Despite this limitation, we argue that his work furnishes conceptual instruments for thinking about change and remains heuristic for understanding the dynamics of civil wars. These extreme situations in return let us rethink some of the theory’s central concepts (fields, habitus, capital). Thus, in succession we examine Bourdieu’s definition of the state (which fits into the Weberian tradition), explain the consequences of defining civil war as a violent competition between social orders, and end with an exploration of the social impacts of civil war on habitus.