What is sociology ? To guide the reflection, two quotes from Bourdieu.
“Today, among the people on which depends the existence of sociology, it has increasingly to ask what is the purpose of the sociology. In fact, the sociology is more likely to disappoint or annoy the powers that she better fulfill its function properly scientific. This function is not to serve some purpose, that is to say to someone. Ask sociology to be used to something, it is always a way to ask him to use the power. While its scientific function is to understand the social world, starting with the powers. Operation that is not neutral socially and who is without any doubt a social function. Among other reasons, because it is not power that do not need a hand – not the least – its effectiveness with the lack of knowledge of the mechanisms on which it is based. “(Questions de sociologie, Minuit, 1980, rééd.1984, pp. 26-27)
“My goal is to contribute to prevent that one can say anything about the social world. Schoenberg said one day that he was composing for that people may not be able to write music. I write for the people, and first of all those who have the word, the spokesman, may not be able to produce, about the social world, of noise, which has the appearance of the music. “(In an interview with Didier Éribon about ” The distinction “, Libération, November 3 and 4, 1979. pp. 12-13. Reprinted in Questions of sociology, Minuit, 1984, p. 18)
What uses do sociology ?
“Unfortunately we can always make two different uses of the sociological analyses of the social world, and, more specifically, of the intellectual world : the uses which we may call clinics, such as those that I just mentioned in speaking of socio-analysis, that is, they are to seek in the achievements of the science instruments in the self-understanding without complacency ; and uses that one may say cynical, and which are to be found in the analysis of the social mechanisms of the instruments to be “successful” in the social world (that is what some of the readers of The Distinction, treating this book as a manual of savoir-vivre) or to guide its strategies in the intellectual world.” (Answer, Threshold, 1992, p. 182)