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Reading African American Literature and Culture with Bourdieu and Elias

sociology, represented by Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu, in the field of literary and cultural studies in general and in (African) American Studies in particular. The question emerged, as so often happens in our field, out of serendipitous reading – suggested, in this case, by my husband, Bernhard Buschendorf. The “communicative enthusiasm” developed above all during the com- pact courses my husband and I would over many years jointly devise and teach, for instance, on “Key Concepts of Relational Thinking,” “Symbol Theories,” “Sociological Theories of Power


Library of Congress. Stefanie Mueller received her PhD in American Studies from Goethe- Universität Frankfurt in 2011. She is the author of The Presence of the Past in the Novels of Toni Morrison (2013), which was nominated for the Toni Morrison Society Book Prize in 2015. The study explores Morrison’s later novels on the basis of both literary analysis and sociological theory, specifi- cally the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Norbert Elias. Her research interests also include TV Studies, Law and Literature, and the intersections of cul- 284 | POWER RELATIONS IN


confronts us with a carefully document- ed case of masculine domination, with a protagonist misrecognizing the very power structures that lead to the racial physical violence as well as the interdependent symbolic gender violence. Stephan Kuhl’s reconstruction of Richard Wright’s literary practice, which combines Freud’s psychoanalytical concept of “sublimation” with Bourdieu’s relational-sociological theory of practice and its core concept of “bodily knowledge,” addresses a question raised by both: How is the sexual instinct transformed into a social libido? (cf

and cultural definition. Mannheim’s sociological theory of generations is a widely accepted approach to the day. He proposed that especially the imprinting during adolescence is crucial for the formation of a generation.61 A generation develops if people of about the same age share similar experiences, in other words a similar imprinting. Within this one generation, there are different subunits that each have their own way of dealing with the issues of their times. So what might it be that has commonly imprinted on this group of young Jewish authors whom I

, 2004. Hall, Stuart. “Race, Articulation and Societies Structured in Dominance.” Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism. Paris: UNESCO Paris, 1980, 305–345. . The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left. London: Verso, 1988. . “A Sense of Classlessness.” 1958. Selected Political Writings: The Great Moving Right Show and Other Essays. Ed. Sally Davison, David Feath- erstone, Michael Rustin and Bill Schwarz. Durham: Duke University Press, 2017, 28–46. Works Cited 303 Hall, Stuart, Doreen Massey, and Michael Rustin, eds. After Neoliber

. Wesleyan UP, 1994. Speller, John R. W. Bourdieu and Literature. Open Book, 2011. Wacquant, Loïc J. D. “Towards a Reflexive Sociology: A Workshop with Pierre Bourdieu.” Sociological Theory, vol. 7, no. 1, 1989, pp. 27-63.

Sociological Theory. New Brunswick/ London: Aldine Transaction, 2002. Luhmann, Niklas. ”Die Evolution des Kunstsystems.” Schriften zur Kunst und Literatur. Frankfurt/ Main: Suhrkamp, 2008. 258-275. Lyng, Stephen. “Edgework: A Social Psychological Analysis of Voluntary Risk Taking.” American Journal of Sociology 95.4 (1990): 851-886. Lyng, Stephen. “Edgework, Risk, and Uncertainty.” Social Theories of Risk and Uncertainty: An Introduction. Ed. Jens O. Zinn. Malden: Blackwell, 2008. 106-137. 6 Works Cited | 305 Mailloux, Steven. “Hermeneutics, Deconstruction

to the sociological level of spatiality. This is not to say, however, that traditional notions of narrative theory will be left unregarded, as the second pillar on which my approach is built is situated in the realm of diegesis, connecting the philosophical and, in the broadest sense, sociological theory of space with classical literary theory. Since diegesis represents the spatial facet in the classical showing vs. telling dichotomy, it serves – in close connection to focalization – as the theoretical basis for a renewal and redefinition of partially already

of Uprisings. Verso, 2016. Corcoran, Steven. “Editor’s Introduction.” Dissensus: On Politics and Aes- thetics, by Jacques Rancière, Continuum, 2010, pp. 1-24. Davis, Oliver. Jacques Rancière. Polity P, 2010. Deranty, Jean-Philippe, editor. Jacques Rancière: Key Concepts. Acumen, 2014. Fink, Bruce. The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1995. Hall, Stuart. “Race, Articulation and Societies Structured in Dominance.” Sociological Theories: Race and Colonialism. UNESCO, 1980, pp. 305-45. Hallward, Peter. “Staging