David Inglis

Open access

Rationality and Autonomy. Thinking About Academia with Michèle Lamont

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: University, academic field, gate-keeping, Lamont, Bourdieu.

Michèle Lamont's dissection of the minutiae of how interdisciplinary grant-awarding panels operate is deployed in order to understand more broadly the nature and dynamics of academic classifications and judgements. The account she offers goes against an orthodox Bourdieusian reading of the academic field, regarding it as exhibiting more tendencies towards cooperation and good will than Bourdieu's sociology would have averred. This paper examines Lamont's argument, locating within it the source of both divergences from, and overlaps with, Bourdieu's understanding of the university field. The issues are worked through in terms of reflections upon a particular type of academic gate-keeping, namely the editing of journals. It is proposed that the kind of micro-sociological approach deployed by Lamont should be conjoined with the politics of defending forms of field autonomy developed by the later Bourdieu.

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