Managing the Tensions of Essentialism: Purity and Impurity

Duschinsky, Robbie and Lampitt, Sue (2012) Managing the Tensions of Essentialism: Purity and Impurity. Sociology, 46 (6). pp. 1194-1207. ISSN 0038-0385

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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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bourdieu, essence, impurity, power, purity
Subjects: L300 Sociology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing
Depositing User: Robert Duschinsky
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2013 15:40
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2023 14:01

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