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L ’E spr it C r éa te u r describe positions of unequal symbolic value and power (writing in ‘Le Monde’ does not mean the same as writing in the ‘Nouvel Observateur’). In fact, they themselves are sub­ ject to the constant conflicts inside the academe, inside the ‘faculté’ and between the academic and politico-economical spheres of society. Such symbolic conflicts appear in form of oppositions of style such as the scientific versus the literary style or the antagonism between scholar, essayist and theoretician; but they also concern the recruitment of young scholars (agrégation vs. doctorat du 3e cycle). These conflicts, linked to specific positions of power in academe, are especially excruciating because they almost always take the form of barely hidden attacks ad hominem. The seemingly objective criteria of academic excellence are incorporated into the academic habitus and thus constitute a social nature which is lived and experienced as personal. The relation to one’s social world implies the “ possession du possesseur par ses possessions” (Bourdieu). Academics, whose symbolic capital is a) their major capital and b) only weakly objecti­ fied, must be particularly sensitive to any attacks on the cultural belief system which assures their status. Hence the complaints about the mass-university, lack of intellectual rigor and selectivity or, on the other hand, the hierarchization of academe. The ‘mentalité contesta­ taire’ of many academics is really the positional expression o f their relative domination within the discipline, the ‘faculté’ or the university. Ultimately, Bourdieu shows that the structure of the social space of academe is at the heart of the different political, social, ethical and political value systems of academics. Resentment is not absent from the current onslaught of the ‘petits maîtres’ on potent ‘father figures’ such as Derrida or Foucault. However, resentment is a function of the rela­ tion between different positions of power in academe rather than a personal attitude. It cannot be separated from the institutional divisions of the French academe. Especially internationally renowned institutions like the Collège de France or the Ecoles des Hautes Etudes threaten the symbolic status of the professorial corps in the ‘facultés’ because they often bypass the traditional university career paths—Lévi-Strauss is the classic example. They further neutralize the control of the professorial corps over its growth and ideological direction by admitting foreign intellectuals and encouraging often unusual, crossdisciplinary research. The construction of this space o f conflicts and conflicting values is o f particular interest not only for those interested in socio-criticism and French culture. It provides a much needed framework which helps restore the political implications of the ‘deconstructive’ mode of reading which the American reception of ‘post-structuralism’ almost successfully repressed. T it u s S u c k University o f California Santa Cruz Ned Lukacher. P r im a l S c e n e s : L it e r a t u r e , P h il o s o p h y , P s y c h o a n a l y s is . Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986. Pp. 342. $24.95. In Primal Scenes, Ned Lukacher offers a poststructuralist theory of interpretation syn­ thesizing the principles of deconstruction and the new historical criticism. “ Primal scenes” refer to analyses reconstructing neither linguistic creations nor historical events but rather the interaction between these traditional contraries. Using as points of departure Freud’s recognition of the ontological undecidability of his patient the Wolf-Man’s repressed traumatic event and Heidegger’s remembering of the fundamental forgetfulness that con­ ceals Being, Lukacher weaves a myriad of intertextual relations. He does so in order to show that in place of the forgotten origin or concealed transcendental ground, the modern 102 W in t e r 1986 B ook R eview s reader of literature, philosophy, and psychoanalysis finds a “ textual memory . . . a series of intertextual constructions” (12). The most striking characteristic of this work is its breadth of scope. Lukacher skillfully intermeshes a multitude of texts exemplifying major currents in Western thought. In laying the foundation for his theory that the ground of memory “ inheres in the act of reading and interpretation” (12), the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 102-103
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-05
Open Access
No
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