Phenomenology, Structuralism and History

in Theoria
Author: Nick Crossley
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The work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty has enjoyed a marginal presence within Anglo-American sociology and social theory for many years, particularly within the phenomenological and interactionist camps. In more recent years, however, his profile has grown. This is due largely to the growth of sociological interest in embodiment, a theme which Merleau-Ponty’s work addresses at length, and perhaps also to the rise to prominence within sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, whose work is influenced by that of Merleau-Ponty, particularly in relation to themes of embodiment and habit. Loic Wacquant1 has described Bourdieu as the ‘sociological heir’ of Merleau-Ponty and many other writers2 have identified the connection between the two thinkers as pivotal in their attempts to elucidate the nature and contribution of Bourdieu’s thought. It is perhaps only natural, therefore, that Bourdieu’s recently elevated standing in Anglo-American sociology should entail some reflected glory for Merleau-Ponty too.

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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