Luc Boltanski
Introduced by Howie Chen and Jason Kakoyiannis


Discussion with Luc Boltanski.

Organized by Juicing the Equilibrium, in conjunction with Columbia University’s Center on Organizational Innovation.

In his recent work, Boltanski rehabilitates Bourdieu's concept of domination in response to “the speed and force with which real inequalities, masked by an officially sanctioned ideal of formal equality, have taken hold again, or indeed have got worse.” In recasting domination, Boltanski marks a shift from a descriptive critique invested in tracking the mechanics of management and control to an emphasis on generating widely held norms and objectives.

According to Boltanski, artistic critique – rooted in the ideals of emancipation and authenticity – must be reconfigured around a new concept of domination in order to meet the inequalities produced by the pseudo-fulfillment of its last set of demands. Artistic critique must undertake to state what is the case (for everyone) in order to have sufficiently broad relevance rather than be consigned to the “private, particular, idiosyncratic domain, or even being treated as bizarre or crazy.”

Luc Boltanski is the leading figure in the new "pragmatics" school of French sociology. He is a professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris and is the founder of the Centre de Sociologie Politique et Morale. Boltanski's recent publications include: The Sociology of Critical Capacity, (with Laurent Thévenot) European Journal of Social Theory, vol. 2, nº 3, August 1999, pp. 359-378; The New Spirit of Capitalism (with Eve Chiapello) Gallimard, Paris, 1999; and Distant Suffering: Morality, Media and Politics, Cambridge University Press, 1999.

The Center on Organizational Innovation is one of eight centers at Columbia's Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP). The Institute's core mission is to catalyze and produce pioneering social science research and to shape public policy by integrating knowledge and methods across the social science disciplines. COI promotes research on organizational innovation as well as new forms of collaboration, communication, and coordination made possible with the advent of interactive technologies.

Juicing the Equilibrium is a series of programs organized by New York based curator Howie Chen (Dispatch, NY) and artist/attorney Jason Kakoyiannis to assess how sociological and cultural economic approaches can help art producers generate new critical demands and leverage within the space of cultural production. How can the robust analytical tools and models of the social sciences—whether they be data driven, behavioral, network, or quantitative—be utilized to mend the deteriorating ability of critical practice to narrate its own complex reality?

Image Courtesy of Juicing the Equilibrium