Professor Kim Kyung-man of the Department of Sociology,

Publishes Bourdieu's Philosophy and Sociology of Science:

A Critical Appraisal and Holds a Colloquium

Bourdieu's Philosophy and Sociology of Science: A Critical Appraisal, the latest book written by Professor Kim Kyung-man of the Department of Sociology, will be published as a volume in the Routledge Studies in Social and Political Theory series, a prominent series by the U.K.-based Routledge publishing company, in January of next year.

Before its publication, this book was highly acclaimed by Jeffrey Alexander, the world's best-known social theorist from Yale University in the U.S., as well as by other renowned social theorists, philosophers, and scientific historians from the U.K. and Canada.

▲ Cover of Bourdieu's Philosophy and Sociology of Science: A Critical Appraisal (London: Routledge), the new book of Professor Kim Kyung-man

There have been a lot of discussions around the ideas of Pierre Bourdieu, a French sociologist and one of the most important and powerful intellects worldwide. However, until now, none have addressed the philosophy and sociology of science, a topic which sits at the center of Bourdieu’s ideas. In his book, Professor Kim states that critics have criticized Bourdieu as being a relativist or an objectivist because they lack an understanding of the epistemological basis of his ideas, just as do many other scholars in the academic world.

In the first part of the book, Professor Kim positions the epistemological basis of Bourdieu's idea within the traditions of the English post-positivist philosophy of science. In doing so, he identifies the core of the “field theory of science”, which is born by his “sociologized philosophy of science”. The professor also critically evaluates whether Bourdieu's field theory of science can overcome the dichotomy of relativism and objectivism through two case studies in geology and genetics.

In the second part of his book, Professor Kim gives a critical appraisal of Bourdieu's argument that his field theory of science can enhance the epistemological standing of social science, of which the epistemological validity has always seen significant doubted compared to that of the natural sciences. Through his critical assessment, Professor Kim presents the problems behind Bourdieu's idea – that his reflexive sociology has the epistemic authority to fight against the social inequality and exploitation caused by so-called neoliberalism.

The last part presents Professor Kim's argument in the form of an imaginary conversation between Jürgen Habermas and Bourdieu: the suffering of people on the margins of society cannot be relieved neither by the objective truths found in social science, as Bourdieu insisted, nor by Habermas’s discursive theory of truth, which is at the opposite of Bourdieu's theory. Professor Kim posits that one should find the hope of critical theory inside the esthetic power manifested through the textual performance of critical ethnography.

The Department of Sociology will hold a colloquium to celebrate the publication of Professor Kim Kyung-man’s new book in room DB102 in Dasan Hall at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, November 11. Professor Kim will give a lecture on the topic of 'Who’s Doing Science?: Bourdieu, Positivism, and the Social Reproduction of Class', focusing on the 5th chapter of his book. (Go to the colloquium notice)