Search results

The origins and evolution of an intellectual social project

In two parts, the book examines, first, the attempts of three thinkers of the first half of the twentieth century to reconcile, in different socio-cultural contexts, the legacy of idealist philosophy with the claims of empirical social science, and, secondly, the trajectory of Bourdieu’s career in France from philosophy student to sociological researcher to political activist. It traces a progression from thought to action, but an emphasis on action informed by thought. It poses the question whether Bourdieu’s attempted integration of intellectualism and empiricism correlated with his particular socio-historical situation or whether it offers a global paradigm for advancing inter-cultural understanding. The book is of interest in confronting the question whether socio-political organization is best understood by social scientists or by participants in society, by experts or by the populace. It will stimulate general consideration of the relevance of a sociological perspective in everyday life and how much that perspective should be dependent on inherited concepts. Part I analyses the work of Alfred Schutz, Aron Gurwitsch and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Part II that of Pierre Bourdieu. The book is methodologically meticulous in situating these works socio-historically. It provides an introduction to some ideas in social philosophy and shows how these ideas became instrumental in generating a theory of practice. The book is aimed at post-graduate students and staff in all disciplines in the Humanities, and Human and Social sciences, but, more generally, it should interest all academics concerned about the contemporary social function of intellectuals.

’ [the historical development of Gestalt psychology]. These six lectures, given in 1933–34, led to his first published article in French (Gurwitsch, 1934) and to two subsequent articles of 1936 (Gurwitsch, 1936b and 1936c). Gurwitsch gave his second course at the Sorbonne in 1934–35 on ‘intentionalist psychology’10 and, the following year (1935–36), the third on the work of Goldstein and Gelb. His interest in the psychology of language led to his second French publication – a review of Psychologie du langage published in 1935 (Gurwitsch, 1935). This was followed by an

in The Bourdieu paradigm

problem of perception in phenomenology and in Gestalt psychology]. In April he applied for a renewal of his research grant.5 His application makes it clear that he had become aware of the potential value of Husserl’s phenomenology in facilitating a dialogue between philosophy and Gestalt psychology. Merleau-Ponty’s application was denied, but he was appointed Professor at the lycée in Chartres and, in 1935, he moved to Paris, where he taught at the École Normale Supérieure until 1939 when he was mobilized for military service. According to Embree, Merleau-Ponty first

in The Bourdieu paradigm
Abstract only

that ‘reality’ is inaccessible. Aron Gurwitsch (1901–73) studied in Berlin under Carl Stumpf, who had struggled there to reconcile the legacy of German idealist philosophy with the emerging sciences of physiology and psychology. The form of reconciliation attempted by Gurwitsch involved seeking to argue for the theoretical benefits to be derived from associating the emphases of phenomenology and Gestalt psychology. Gestalt psychology was intent on demonstrating empirically that there are objective networks of meaning which impinge on our perception and which are not

in The Bourdieu paradigm
Abstract only
To fasten words again to visible – and invisible – things

Visual Perception (1954) and Visual Thinking (1969) appealed to Gestalt psychology to argue for a ‘perceptual thinking’ that refutes a Cartesian mind/body dualism and celebrates the embodiment of thought and meaning. ‘Perception starts with the grasping of striking structural features’, Arnheim wrote in 1954, anticipating advances in cognitive linguistics and neuroscience by thirty years.17 At roughly the same time, Nelson Goodman’s analytic aesthetics formulated a turning point in AngloAmerican philosophy: Languages of Art (1968) remains ground-breaking in its

in Mixed messages
Abstract only
The Neuendettelsau missionaries’ encounter with language and myth in New Guinea

Max Wertheimer, ‘Numbers and Numerical Concepts in Primitive Peoples’, in Willis D. Ellis (ed.), A Source Book of Gestalt Psychology (Abingdon: Routledge, 1938). 67 Wertheimer, ‘Numbers and Numerical Concepts’, p. 265. 68 Wertheimer, ‘Numbers and Numerical Concepts’, p. 265

in Savage worlds
Abstract only
Of images, poetry and Pandaemonium

, the nature of the images therein and their origins in his life and work as a whole. The chapter will start to look at them through the lenses of his other work and in the context of his lifelong preoccupation with the image. Summarising Jennings’s understanding of the image, Charles Madge likens it to the central principle of gestalt psychology, founded on ‘“the combination of many effects, each utterly insensible alone, into one sum of fine effect”’. 3 A short appreciation of Magritte, written for the surrealist journal London Bulletin

in British art cinema

impression’ and therefore be more easily remembered than an irregular composition.43 The idea that visual perception is based on finding and identifying basic figures echoes the fundamentals of gestalt psychology, which was highly esteemed in the first decades of the twentieth century. Among psychologists and art historians it was commonly held that elementary forms and colours could cause emotional effects in the viewer. This would eventually also appeal to marketers, and furthermore visual repetition in the commercial context was considered an important means for

in Travelling images

gestalt psychology as well as from the work of Husserl: see Embree 1972; Wieder 1974; Maynard 1996. 101 The radicalism of ethnomethodology ‘action frame of reference’ of Parsons, as well as the model of the actor built into economics and rational choice theory, or even that typical of symbolic interactionism. However, if the claim is that it is practices, ‘local orders’, or ‘situated action systems’ (Rawls 2006: 86) that do the work required to reduce uncertainty, there are challenging questions that must be addressed about the nature of the agency involved here, and

in The radicalism of ethnomethodology

but has no intrinsic relation to them (such as the shop). Using his own categorization of domains, Gurwitsch implies that Gestalt psychology constitutes a thematic field in relation to his dominant phenomenological theme. I concentrate on Gurwitsch’s discussion of MerleauPonty and then on the novel elements of Part 6 and the conclusion. Part 4, devoted to the ‘phenomenological theory of perception’, has four chapters which consider ‘the perceptual process’, ‘analysis of the perceptual noema’, ‘the noetic analysis of perception’ and ‘intentional analysis’ before

in The Bourdieu paradigm