Unequal Persons: A Response to Simon Susen

Steph Lawler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Simon Susen's paper "Bourdieusian reflections on language: Unavoidable conditions of the real speech situation" gives us a provocative account of the shortcomings of a Bourdieusian approach to language. For Susen, Bourdieu's own assumptions have led to a series of blind spots which lead to an over-emphasis on power, domination and their reproduction as well as to an under-emphasis on the liberating, creative and transgressive potentialities of language. I argue that Susen overlooks the locatedness of language within the bodily hexis of social actors and that, furthermore, his optimistic argument relies on eclipsing these classed bodies. Hence, I question his claim that language can escape its social determinants and transform social relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-279
Number of pages5
JournalSocial Epistemology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2013


  • Bodily Hexis
  • Bourdieu
  • Class
  • Domination
  • Identity
  • Language
  • Reproduction
  • Susen

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