Can we apply sociological knowledge to his personal situation, his social path ? It can be tempting to do so, and that there was a social mobility that has put us in contact with different environments. Bourdieu wished his work to allow the dominated to be aware of the social mechanisms keeping them in their condition. Thus, it defined the socio-analysis as a means to have consciousness, and therefore have a grasp of its own determinations. There is, however, not a sociologist offering her services to perform such work. The socioanalyses are finally more the fact of sociologists self-analyzing their social path1. This kind of exercise is extremely rare, introspection is not a method of research in sociology, objectivity is not assured.
This book is not a book of sociology, so to speak. It is a personal ledger in which Didier Eribon returns to a part of his life that he has hidden for many years. A native of Reims, he has left this city to follow his studies in Paris. Reims symbolizes its origin, the city where his parents lived, that it is no longer seen since his departure. It is only after the death of his father, he decides to return to Reims to see his mother. He did not attend the funeral of his father. In thumbing through the traditional photo album family, his past returns to him in memory, his first mid-life, of which he became gradually distant. His elder brother is gone in learning, so that it incorporates the “high school boys” of the city. Therefore, their paths will diverge. The author never saw his older brother, his two younger brothers, whom he believes is responsible. All the opposition to his brother, the latter embodying what he never wanted to become. The about Didier Eribon, however, is not totally autobiographical, or memory, he wishes to illustrate the analyses of Bourdieu by his own experience. The author is in fact a close relative of Bourdieu, Foucault, registering in a critical thinking of the social world. Thus, he cites the case of his brethren who have not attained the long studies, as an example among others of the social selection that operates in the school system.
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