Managing the Tensions of Essentialism: Purity and Impurity

Robbie Duschinsky, Sue Lampitt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    This article proposes a new interpretation of Pierre Bourdieu, as a theorist of purity and impurity. Bourdieu’s writings indicate that through the adjudication of things or people as relatively impure or pure an image is constructed of their essential truth. Building from Bourdieu, we will show how themes of purity and impurity can be used to manage the tensions associated with attempts to impute an essence to human nature or to reality, ensuring that the moral and epistemological significance of complexity is masked. This is the reason why themes of purity and impurity so often attend polarized world views, and why they are frequently mobilized for justifying and operating biopolitical processes of social stratification and regulation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1194-1207
    JournalSociology
    Volume46
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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