Bourdieu on Television (Imre Szeman)

“When it appeared in France in 1996, Pierre Bourdieu’s On Television ignited a media controversy that raged for months and propelled the book to the top of the best-seller lists. Bourdieu could not have hoped for a better reception for this short text. Certainly, the controversy surrounding the book boosted Bourdieu’s already considerable cultural capital as one of the most prominent figures of the French academy. More significantly, however, the reaction of the print and electronic media to his pointed criticisms served as a confirmation of his conclusions regarding the severe limits of contemporary journalism. The transformation of Bourdieu’s book into one of the seemingly endless string of “current events” and “social issues” that grips the media for a moment, only to fade forever into obscurity within a week or so (call this the “Time syndrome”), exemplified all of the media’s gravest problems in their very attempt to dispute Bourdieu’s assessment of their failings.” -Imre Szeman

Download: Bourdieu on Television

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