Confirmed: Bourdieu's Point Of View On The Body.

Aug 03, 2019

Pierre Bourdieu (1 August 1930 – 23 January 2002) was a French sociologist, anthropologist, philosopher and public intellectual.

Bourdieu’s work was primarily concerned with the dynamics of power in society, especially the diverse and subtle ways in which power is transferred and social order is maintained within and across generations. In conscious opposition to the idealist tradition of much of Western philosophy, his work often emphasized the corporeal nature of social life and stressed the role of practice and embodiment in social dynamics.

Lately I was reading a magazine on the body: 100 pages with several point of views on the matter. I was browsing the magazine and stumbled upon Bourdieu’s point of view: your body is a kind of social proof. It also means a lot about your place in the world and your legitimacy as a human being.

While this seems like a nice idea (the body is the main thing to send social/limbic signals), you can’t help but challenge this idea a little bit. But you will soon discover this is an illumination confirmed by the great top model Elle McPherson.

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Does That Answer The Questions?

If the body is a kind of social proof then what can Elle McPherson teach us? Eleanor Nancy Macpherson (born 29 March 1964) is an Australian model, businesswoman, television host and actress. She is known for her record five cover appearances for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue beginning in the 1980s, leading to her nickname “The Body”, coined by Time in 1989.

Thanks to my triple culture (French, Lebanese and English), the last name of this top model means “nobody”. So yes Bourdieu was right when he talked about a legitimate place in the universe.

If this top model can give us an explanation, I guess we should listen to her: with age, the body becomes more and more acid. And the king of the acid trip will explain (yes I’m talking about this song by Led Zeppelin “Dazed and Confused”).

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

What Did You Bargain For?

Fantasy is a sign of psychic normality: psychosomatic patients have a problem with that. And fantasy is about compromise. Take for example the taxman: 10 for you and 90 for me. Or take for example The Rembrandts’ “I’ll be there for you because you’re there for me too”.

Of course the body is a kind of social proof but it means a legitimate place: it implies notions of justice and space. What signals do you want to send to society? What really disappoint you during your life?

Listening to this song by Led Zep, we could conclude that the body would explain to society what really made you miserable. For example, today, I have no hair and I’m overweight for my height. I’m trying to explain the humiliation from my grand mother while I was a bit stressed.

Photo by Jeffrey Czum on

2 Other Angles On The Body.

A song called “A Place For Me” interpreted by the Comateens makes me wonder if the body isn’t what makes our teenagers weak and impolite. Literally, they’re in a coma wondering what is happening exactly.

There’s also this song from Pink Floyd called “Nobody Home”. The song mentions measurements typical of a top model (36-24-36). So maybe your body might be about your little black book with your poems (even though this doesn’t seem so intuitive). It might also be about a moment of glory you can’t forget.

So in a nutshell your body isn’t only a social proof indicating your legitimate place. It’s also about:

  1. why it’s the main trouble of your teenager,
  2. how you want your body to evolve.

The body is an important subject. I read a medicine book mentioning it was about protection, justification and elimination. And we are all waiting to justify our love.

Photo by Daniel Pokorný on

When Will Your Body Send The Bill?

As a conclusion, I have to confess something: one day you will wake up and your body will send you the bill of your lifestyle. During the first decade of the 21st century, my lifestyle was “hitmen, thieves and many brawls” and I have troubles standing tall. But there is hope: better late than never.

I guess humanity is about 2 things: food/diet and love/sex. As we discover more and more stuff about our universe (more than 4000 exoplanets were discovered recently), our bodies will suffer because of our legitimate place in the universe. And that’s why astronomy should be our priority with music. Because music is easy to digest!

Violence could be summarised as a failure from people to reach artists to help them report on something fishy. I guess the next step then is to think of your legitimate place in the universe. Mine is easy to see: I have goto shelters when things go wrong.

Your body is a kind of social proof that tells a lot about your legitimate place. So let’s watch out for acid trips to live healthier and longer!

Nicolas Sursock

Nicolas is a musician. His work now focuses on digesting 10000 songs of jazz, blues, soul, rock, funk and electronic. He plays the guitar if he's not blogging!