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The Clothes Have No Emperor: Bourdieu on American Imperialism
Theory, Culture and Society (2000)
  • Charles C Lemert, Wesleyan University

`The Clothes Have No Emperor' (a title borrowed from Paul Slansky's hilarious critique of the Reagan years in the USA) means to say that Bourdieu's criticism of American imperialism is an understandable slip of his brilliant visual sociology. He writes to those of a disposition to agree completely because they know the facts all the better. Bourdieu may well be the only person alive today who has so perfectly combined theoretical, empirical and political work. Why then has he allowed this critique to be published for all the world to see? Not, I think, because he is wrong, but because the entailments of his own visual sociology do not translate well from place to place. Bourdieu has taught us that the sociology of social space is the next necessary step for those who would become public intellectuals. The question is how to think and speak of the world as such. Bourdieu has given us the outlines of a beginning, but this little essay in question shows that there is more work yet to be done.

Publication Date
February, 2000
Citation Information
Charles C Lemert. "The Clothes Have No Emperor: Bourdieu on American Imperialism" Theory, Culture and Society Vol. 17 (2000)
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