The Birth of a Prenotion
Zygmunt Bauman is way cool. Always a source of insights and imagery. I must get round to posting the interview I did with him over ten years ago…
Anyway, here’s something from his “Liquid Fear” book of 2006.
In the “Postscript” to his last magnum opus, La Misere du Monde, Bourdieu pointed out that the numbers of personalities on the political stage who can comprehend and articulate the expectations and demands of their electors is shrinking fast; the political space is inward focused and bent on closing in on itself. It needs to be thrown open again, and this can only be done through bringing ‘private’ troubles and cravings, often inchoate and inarticulate, into direct relevance to the political process (and, consequently, vice versa.)
This is easier said than done, though, because public discourse is inundated with Emile Durkheim’s “prenotions” – presumptions rarely spelled out overtly and even less frequently scrutinized, uncritically deployed whenever subjective experience is raised to the level of public discourse and re-represented as public issues. To do its service to human experience, sociology needs to begin with clearing the site. Critical assessment of tacit or vociferous prenotions must proceed together with an effort to make visible and audible the aspects of experience that normally stay beyond individual horizons, or below the threshold of individual awareness.
And will this, from “The Craft of Sociology” embed? It will bally not. Don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Click on it, I guess, if reading more about prenotions is your thing right now…