At Home He’s a Tourist

I am reading Bourdieu, listening to records. Right now, I have Gang of Four’s classic 1979 post-punk album Entertainment. The following song comes on; what I am hearing is what I am reading:

At Home He’s a Tourist

At home he feels like a tourist
At home he feels like a tourist
He fills his head with culture
He gives himself an ulcer

This song describes the process that Bourdieu is describing as far as gaining an “academic disposition,” which essentially involves leaving the everyday world so that you can study it. Sometime I think that the more I learn, the more I sit here and think, the further I feel from home. The more stressed I feel. The less I know.

Also pertinent in the lyrics:

At home she’s looking for interest
At home she’s looking for interest
She said she was ambitious
So she accepts the process

I wonder if Bourdieu was a Gang of Four fan? Or… I wonder if Gang of Four were Bourdieu fans?

Another song on this album that relates to Bourdieu (well… Masculine Domination anyway…)

Damaged Goods

The change will do you good
I always knew it would
Sometimes I’m thinking that I love you
But I know it’s only lust
Your kiss so sweet
Your sweat so sour


One thought on “At Home He’s a Tourist

  1. I think that higher learning, particularly in the social sciences and humanities, is marked by a feeling of ‘homelessness,’ in that we often radically critique the ‘homes’ we came from and can never fully return to them, while simultaneoulsy feeling that we don’t completely belong in our academic ‘homes’ either. What really drew me to Bourdieu’s work was his recognition of this. His struggle with these concepts (largely due to his completely non-academic background/upbringing) always afforded him more authenticity from my perspective. Specifically, the fact that he struggled at all is what I appreciate; his ideas, frameworks, etc., all come from a place of reflexivity and constant evaluation, which sharply contrasts the ‘arrogance’ of social theory emanating from theorists who never had to engage with this, and exhibited such blind ‘certainty’ in their work as a result. I feel much the same way about Dorothy Smith.

    This has prompted me to examine so many facets of my own, young, undeveloped practise of sociology. Specifically, the concept of experience, and the place of experience in research, has become a critical concern for me. Although I ‘believe’ in my research, I always find myself wondering about my authenticity in doing it, largely due to the fact that what I study is something I’ll never fully understand at a local level.

    Sorry–that’s a little off the path of the concept of ‘home!’

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