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Zhou Xueguang | Bourdieu's On the State reading notes
2023-12-13 [author] Zhou Xueguang preview:

[author]Zhou Xueguang


Bourdieu's On the State reading notes

*Written by Zhou Xueguang

Professor, Department of Sociology, Stanford University

French sociologist Bourdieu's book On the State: The Curriculum of the Collège de France (1989-1992) is based on the recordings of a lecture given by Bruce at the École de France in 1989-92. The Chinese translation was recently published by Joint Publishing House. The topic of this lecture is exactly what I am focusing on, and it is related to the topics I have been reading and thinking about during this time, and it is very insightful to read. Record it here.

Ordinary book reviews require an accurate and complete overview of the whole book, and the Chinese translation of the lecture is accompanied by a book review by sociologist Tian Geng, which does this work. My reading notes are not for the purpose of book review, but I hope to take this opportunity to collide and communicate with the author's thoughts, more to take what I need, pay attention to my interests, write a few more sentences if I feel them, and put aside those that are not touched for the time being. In other words, my sense of reading is centered on me, not on the author or the work.

A brief summary: Bourdieu's book makes an important advance on Weber's famous assertion of the "state", that is, the state's legitimate power as a monopoly on the use of violence, which includes not only physical violence but also more symbolic violence; In this way, Bruce reinterprets the state system (involving taxes, education, the military, welfare, official behavior, etc.) and the origin and historical evolution of the state. In my opinion, whether people accept or question this proposition, it will stimulate new imagination and research topics.

The theme of this book, "The State", is not only a new extension of a series of Buch's research work, but also the general outline of these research work, that is, to re-understand these fields and phenomena from the ultimate source of the state ("meta-field") with the state as the main line, and to integrate previous research work and provide clues to understand Buch's other works.

The audience for this lecture is the general intellectual, not the scholars in the field of expertise. On the one hand, the expression in the text is colloquial, conveying the immediate flow of thoughts and unmodified straightforward arguments, with rich thoughts and active thinking clues. On the other hand, the narrative is not very systematic and thorough, and many aspects are to the point, and the inspiration is greater than the rigor, and the breadth is greater than the depth. The lecture lasted for three academic years, and the structure was loose, the content was varied, and there were many repetitions and jumps in the text, and the coherence was not enough, which caused certain difficulties for reading comprehension.

In the following reading notes, I first summarize the main ideas and context of the book, and then expand on the author's ideological origins and methods, as well as the central issues discussed by the authorthe micro basis of the state and the origin of the stateand finally some extended reflections of my own.

To clarify: The words and sentences in quotation marks in the article are all quoted from the Chinese translation, but the version I read is not finalized, and the page numbers and specific translated words may be slightly different from the final version, so the page numbers will not be marked one by one. Some translations are incomprehensible, and I have revised them according to the English version.

1. Theme and context

The theme that runs through Bush's speech is that the state has a monopoly on both physical and symbolic violence, and that the possession of symbolic violence is a prerequisite for the implementation of physical violence. Bourdieu starts from Weber's definition of the state, that is, the state is the monopoly on the justification of the use of physical violence, and extends the behavior of the state to the symbolic power activities in all spheres, and sees these symbolic activities as a whole for the operation of various state institutions and their justification construction. Legitimacy comes from the possession of symbolic violence, constructed on the basis of symbolic capital. This line of thought is not only a logical extension of Weber's famous proposition about the state, but also an important advancement of this proposition.

This lecture integrates various previous research works and constructs a complete system of phenomena in different fields and at different levels (micro, meso, and macro). And the main thread that runs through it is a symbol of power/a symbol of violence. Symbolic violence shapes stable institutions, while micro-behaviors and social order embody symbolic violence.

For readers familiar with Bourdieu's academic thought, the recurring concepts of symbolic violence, symbolic power, and symbolic capital will not be unfamiliar to the reader. Brinell uses these concepts without making strict distinctions, and roughly expresses the same connotation. These concepts and their related analyses permeate a range of Brinell's research work, ranging from art, education, social life, markets, politics, officials, and state institutions. He proposes a series of capitals: economic capital, cultural capital, social capital, information capital, political capital, etc., and defines symbolic capital as "capital born in the relationship between any kind of capital and socialized actors, who know and recognize this capital." Symbolic capital, as its name suggests, is at the level of recognition and recognition.

1.1. Theme idea

In Bush's view, the state is constructed by actors with specific interests, and has undergone a transformation from the special and private domain to the universal and public domain in the course of historical evolution. The state monopoly symbolizes violence, and through the process of justification, such as discourse, law, culture, etc., it extends the special interests of the private domain (reproduction on the basis of the blood of the dynastic royal family) to the general applicability of the public domain of general public interest (bureaucratic state, welfare state).

Symbolic violence and the consequent construction of legitimacy have played a key role in this historical process. The state monopolizes symbolic resources to construct the basis of its legitimacy, shapes the reality of society as people perceive it, and shapes people's mental structure. Therefore, it is necessary to break through the national thinking that is "taken for granted" and "should be so" in order to understand the process and mechanism of the construction of social institutions.

2.2. Legitimacy: From Weber to Bourdieu

The German sociologist Weber first put forward the concept of legitimacy, especially emphasizing people's recognition and obedience to power and domination in the social order. No power can be sustained for a long time through violence, it needs to be justified. In his lecture "Politics as a Cause," Weber said: "The state is a community of mankind which, within a fixed territory, affirms (de facto) its monopoly on the legitimate use of force. (Translated by Qian Yongxiang et al.)

Bourdieu makes an important advance on Weber's proposition by proposing a subversive view: "To say that the state is justified is to say that it can obtain obedience without coercion, or take a very special form of coercion, which I call symbolic violence." The state is not only the maker of the discourse of justification, but also constructs the common cognitive structure of people, thus playing a decisive role in the reproduction of symbolic order and social order. Further, it is not the language, the nation or the territorial region that gives rise to the state, but the fact that the actors, through the organization of the state, monopolize symbolic resources, thus "establishing the state in the sense of a unified inhabitant who speaks the same language" and, in the process, ithematizing the state as a natural reality and our way of thinking about the world.

If Weber's concept of legitimacy emphasizes bottom-up recognition and acceptance, then Brinell's concept of symbolic violence draws attention to the role and process of using symbolic power to construct legitimacy from the top down. In Bush's view, social institutions exist in both objectivity and subjectivity. The latter is even more important because once it exists in people's subjectivity, it becomes taken for granted and no longer attracts attention. One of the effects of the state system of imposing symbolic power is to make arbitrary premises natural in the form of beliefs, which is the origin of the state. Culture, which symbolizes the basis of capital, plays a role in shaping legitimacy. Over the course of history, this logic has become the norm and has become obscure and difficult to identify.

This argument implies that the cognitive analysis of the country faces extremely difficult challenges. In real life, the state has become a natural reality of people's lives, and it has built people's thinking world. Just as people can't grab their hair and get up, it is difficult for us to think outside the country in real life. In order to get rid of the national mentality, Bush argues, he employs a number of analytical strategies to break out of this cocoon. In my opinion, Brussels re-understands the state and proposes new theoretical explanations along three threads in the speech: (1) judging the existing national research literature, revealing the shortcomings of the existing way of thinking, and proposing new analytical methods and ideas; (2) to recognize the symbolic power of the state behind the real society and its order at the micro level of daily life; (3) From the research idea of structuralism (structuralism), it focuses on the theme of symbolic violence and reinterprets the origin of the state. Let's talk about each of them in turn.

2. The author's ideological origin and methods

In this lecture, Bruce draws ideas from a number of texts and genres, draws clues for thought, and proposes a series of creative theoretical analyses and insights. From an academic point of view, it is particularly noteworthy and discussed, the author's research ideas and methods, so as to know not only what he is saying, but also why he is saying it.

2.1. Ideological origins

First of all, one of the main topics of the lecture is the discussion of the basis of justification, a theoretical source from Weber's writings, which has been mentioned above and will not be discussed here.

Second, it is not difficult to see the relationship between Britz and traditional French scholarship, especially the thought of the French sociologist Durkheim. Durkheim was concerned with the system of ideas that sustained society, especially the shared way of thinking. The article repeatedly borrows Durkheim's exposition of the meaning of the social unconscious, that is, the reality of social construction and its way of thinking, in Durkheim's words, "the unconscious is history". "To explore the history of a discipline or a nation is to explore the unconscious of each of us, each of us attaining the same objective reality from top to bottom by coincident with the unconscious of others. The power of social reality comes from the harmony between these unconscious mental structures. In his discussions, Bruce borrowed several concepts from Durkheim: logical integration (the same way of thinking/concept) and moral integration (shared values). People may not share values, but share the same way of thinking/concepts, so they can communicate, argue, and even conflict. For example, the left and right have different values, but may have the same way of thinking. This isomorphic shared way of thinking embodies logical obedience, and it is also possible to move towards shared value judgments, i.e., moral obedience. Here, we see the beginning of symbolic power to construct reality.

Thirdly, Brusch's focus on symbolic power leads him to trace the ideological origins of phenomenology, ethnology, symbolic interactionism, and neo-institutionalism. "Everything I say in my lectures is based on the idea that ideas make things, ideas make reality, and worldviews, perspectives, norms, and all these things construct reality..." This line of thought is the theme of the "social construction of reality" in phenomenology (cf. Berger & Luckmann). The lecture quoted and echoed the theoretical ideas of Garfinkel and Goffman. Among them, Goffman's theoretical discussion of the foreground-backstage is very consistent with Britz's special-universal and private-public domain theories.

I am particularly fond of these aspects, because this line of thought comes from the same ideological origins as the neo-institutionalism in organizational sociology.

2.2. Judgment of existing theories

Bruce believes that criticism of existing theories and their presuppositions is one of the research strategies to get rid of national thinking. We might as well learn more about his theoretical ideas from Brinell's judgment of existing theories.

In the lectures, the author constantly repeats the critique of sociological functionalism. Functionalist theories explain the structure and behavior of social institutions in terms of the functions they produce. In particular, Bush discusses the structural-functionalist logic of Eisenstaedt's Imperial Political System, that is, the need for a state to fulfill certain functions (the function of unity, the function of services) leads to corresponding structural attributes (centralization, taxation, legitimacy, etc.). The larger theoretical logic behind this proposition is that, in the course of history, various resources (religious, cultural, economic) are separated from the family, and the primitive accumulation of resources causes conflict, driving the development of new types of resources that control and redistribute, leading to the emergence of states. Social development will lead to the differentiation of its internal functions, such as the relative independence of the political sphere, the differentiation of political roles from other roles, the concentration of power, the emergence of corresponding political systems (parliaments, bureaucrats), and so on.

Bruce opposes the functionalist idea of explaining the state from the function of the state, and proposes that the state should be understood and explained from the perspective of mechanism. This orientation is very much in line with the current mainstream of sociology. For the construction of Brunell's theory, the criticism of functionalism is an important part, because functionalism understands and explains the state system from the thinking of the state. In other words, the theoretical premise of functionalism is precisely the acceptance of the discourse of order and legitimacy that symbolizes the creation of violence in the process of state construction.

Bush says that he tacitly assumes that state systems have a reason for their existence, and instead focuses on explaining the logic behind why they exist, how they exist, how they perpetuate, how they reproduce themselves, and so on.

Along the same lines, the author discusses Anderson's books "The Transition from Antiquity to Feudalism" and "The Genealogy of the Absolutist State." Anderson's question is, why do different countries have different evolutionary paths (Britain, France, Russia, Eastern Europe)? Bush believes that Anderson's Marxist ideological logic and Eisenstaedt belong to the same functionalist theoretical vein, that is, to explain the characteristics of the state system from the function of the state. "Both of them are functionalists: they don't think about what created the state and what conditions it has to meet in order for the state to do what it does."

Bush goes on to discuss Moore's The Social Origins of Autocracy and Democracy. The book attempts to understand the role of the rural upper classes and peasants in the revolution towards capitalist democracy, fascism, and communism. Moore examines the different combinations of the big landlords, the peasants, and the urban bourgeoisie, and finds three different paths: (1) the democratic road: when the three are balanced; (2) The Japanese-German road: the strong imbalance of the rural aristocracy, the survival of feudal traditions, and the ruling state bureaucracy; and (3) the communist road: commercialization, the weakness of capitalism, absolutism provoked peasant revolt and the mechanical reversal of the old system. Primitive absolutism is renewed.

In this part, Brusch's discussion is very jumpy, and the context of his thinking is not very clear. Bush proposed that the understanding of the state should not be limited to the discussion of the functions it should perform, as in the Marxist tradition, but should focus on how the state is constituted. Instead of the dichotomy between the economic base and the superstructure and its causal relationship, Bruce argues that the state is a specific way of thinking that drives the construction of state entities and social realities.

With regard to the study of the origins of the state, the author discusses in particular the writings of the German sociologist Elias, the American sociologist Tilley, and the British scholars Corrigan and Thayer.

Among them, Brussels's theory of the state draws the main ideas of capital concentration and the transformation from the private domain to the public domain from Elias's work. Elias's research on the evolution of European civilization developed Weber's theory of monopoly violence, specifically, the dual monopoly of physical violence and economic capital (taxation), especially the evolution from private monopolies (king, dynastic monopolies) to public monopolies. This contains the process of transformation from the special to the universal, from the private domain to the public domain, proposed by Brich. Elias writes: "It is impossible to understand the corresponding changes in civilization, human consciousness, and instinctive control of behavior without examining the process of state formation, the unstoppable centralization of society, which is first and foremost evident in absolutist regimes." (Chapter 3)

Take taxes, for example. Elias argues that state taxation, like other forms of coercion, is a form of extortion, a symbolic justification. It is no longer seen as blackmail because of its legitimacy. In addition, the monopoly process is a series of knockout forms, and competitors gradually disappear. Here, Elias points to the endogenous dynamics of the evolution of the state: the more the king expands his power, the more he expands his dependence on the people who depend on his power (i.e., his subjects), driving the shift from the particular to the universal. The institutionalization of the state has led to denser, interdependent networks among members of society, thus constructing the basis for justification.

In Bush's view, Tilley's discussion places the process of state concentration in a broader comparative perspective. Tilley's research emphasizes the process of concentration of capital, including the dual process of economic capital and coercive concentration of power. There are three stages in the process of concentration of economic capital: the monarchy centralizes power, which is still feudal logic; the rudiments of the country's development of tax functions; The third stage is the integration of the tax apparatus into the state. The process of coercion also has three stages that are broadly similar: in the first stage, the monarch recruits armed forces from among his servants and princes, personal service, within the contract; the second stage, relying on mercenaries; At the third stage, the army enters the state structure. In a nutshell, Tilley's process of centralization goes through three stages: hereditarianism on a feudal basis; Brokerage stage: intermediaries, mercenaries, money lenders; Finally, the nationalization phase. Different countries have gone through three different paths: (1) the mandatory path: Russia; (2) the capitalist path: Venice; (3) Mixed path: United Kingdom.

Bush's criticism of Elias and Tilly is that they fail to take into account the importance of symbolic violence in the formation and evolution of states. In this regard, Bruce particularly appreciates the work of Philip Corrigan and Derek Sayer on the work of symbolic power. In their book, The Great Arch: The English State Formation as Cultural Revolution, the two scholars reject the idea that the state is a coercive agency [of physical violence]. They believe that "the role of the state is not only to adjust the objective order, but also to continuously adjust the psychological order, the subjective order." The state is a whole set of cultural forms. (190) The State regulates all the systematic, proper forms of social life, such as legal codes, statistics, etc. The formation of the state was a cultural revolution through which the domesticated were domesticated. It is not difficult to see that this line of thought is very much in line with Bruch's proposition of symbolic power, in which the state engages in the construction of legitimacy, and culture is the instrument of legitimacy and domination.

2.3. Structuralist genealogical approach

The journey of Brynell's national studies began with the realization that the symbolic coercive effect of nation-building was taken for granted through the process of naturalization, thus being exempt from the questioning of scientific inquiry. In order to break out of the cocoon of national thinking, Bruch proposed the research idea of structuralist genealogy (structuralism): "one of the ways to understand the functioning of a society is to analyze how it was born," that is, to understand the origin of the state from the level of empirical research, in order to identify the important role of symbolic capital. He argues that at the time of the origin of the state, when the process of justification was not yet complete, it was possible to see the controversy between different forces and rhetoric, reproducing the arbitrariness of its beginnings, in order to understand the process of its justification development. (154-156) The place of origin is the essence of the struggle, and the revolt against the establishment of the state is very important to help us understand the duality of the state, that is, those who build theories of the common good are also those who benefit from them.

Thus, the structuralist approach seeks to discover the particular logic of the birth of the state (bureaucratic logic) and to describe the special nature of this logic, i.e., the logic of practice rather than logic. To quote the philosopher Cassirer, the so-called "structure" is "a factual rationality, an accidental rationality, which exists simultaneously in its operation and origin." From this perspective, social behaviors arise from the limitations of past historical products or structural inevitability based on Xi.

Here, Bruce makes the important point that history closes other possibilities. History is the possibility of realization, and thus history destroys the other possibilities that existed at that time, and also makes these other possibilities no longer remembered, or even imagined. History is preserved in the material culture, but also in the structure of people's minds. History, as soon as it happens, closes other possibilities. Bush argues that one of the functions of historical sociology is to awaken the possibility of these disappearances, rather than to reinforce the inevitability that has already occurred.

In the exposition of methodology, Bruce especially discusses the relationship between sociology and historiography and puts forward some interesting views. In his opinion, there is no difference between historiography and sociology. Sociologists who take the present as the object of study are engaged in comparative history. When dealing with the phenomenon of the state, sociologists must turn themselves into historians. In order to avoid thinking about the state with a state mentality, sociologists should avoid thinking about society with a socially produced mindset. Get rid of belief-based understanding. "I will try to illustrate," Bush argues, "how a real history of occurrence, a historical sociology, strives to grasp these ongoing creative processes that transform structures under the constraints of structure and people's psychology, which both transform structures and partially shape previous structures."

3. The State and the Monopoly of Symbolic Power: The Real World of State Construction

Another strategy to break through the cocoon of national thinking is to take a methodological approach to empirical research. "My consistent strategy has been to grasp these grand issues in an easy-to-understand perspective, where they bring out the essence of the equation hidden beneath the humble façade." He proposes to cut into some of the seemingly most trivial questions from the side... It is at this level that we avoid to the greatest extent the role of the state, the things that the state imposes on us.

3.1. The state makes reality

The state exists in everyday life. An important mechanism for the functioning of the state is the transformation of the particular into the universal, the private domain into the public domain, which is gradually realized through the monopoly of symbolic violence, the construction of legitimacy into a natural reality, and the continuous reproduction and reinforcement in daily life. The author uses different fields and examples from his previous research to illustrate the micro-mechanisms of "symbolic violence" and its reproduction.

One example is that the various experiences of people's daily lives, such as buying a house in a market transaction and dealing with an agent, involving purchasing power, expectations of housing prices, loans, housing subsidy policies, etc., all permeate the symbolic power of the state. In this sense, the state creates the market and the different consumer groups and the associated real world, and gives legitimacy to different administrators.

Another example is the various thematic committees set up by the French government, ranging from the establishment of organizations, the selection of personnel, role-playing, etc., which transform the special (specific individual activities and special interests) into the general (facing the public), from the private domain (interest groups) to the public domain (public interest), and from the committee to the act of the State. It is in the prosaic day-to-day functioning of the bureaucracy that the state constructs the reality to which people are Xi. The logic of the Commission is to be socially recognized and accepted as a part of the real world through the forms and procedures of legitimacy. In this sense, "the state is the product of thousands of infinitesimal actions." "Rituals and the application of rules and procedures in daily life are all part of it.

3.2. National manufacturing thinking

One of Bush's important ideas is that the state creates thinking and legitimacy. In order to understand the state, it is necessary to understand its symbolic function, and to understand the logic of the operation of the field of the public servants who make the speech of the state, that is, how the state constructs the state, the state thinking, and the public thinking model by producing a rational ideology, so that special interests have a universal appearance. The author points out that we can gush and easily utter a whole lot of words about the state precisely because we have already thought according to the logic of the state.

Bush discusses a range of mechanisms of state-made thinking, especially the relationship between the state and rituals, culture, education, and other fields. He proposed that the state shapes culture and nationality through education and the military, cultivates a common cognitive structure, creates social classifications and sacralizes them. The state provides a variety of identification rituals that lead to faith and obedience, leading to a coherence effect in the symbolic system. For example, the state-constructed education system is a vast recognition ritual that establishes hierarchies (e.g., qualifications), shapes the corresponding mental structures, classification principles, value systems, and so on. "The state constructs the social order itselfthe timetable, the time budget, the schedule, the state constructs our whole lifeand, at the same time, it constructs our thinking."

Bruce emphasized the meaning of faith. Belief is a primordial-justification, and the mechanism that transforms the particular into the universal is not consensus but belief. The state, on the other hand, is the producer of beliefs, that is, the construction of a reality and its beliefs that are taken for granted through symbolic power. Formalization (officialization) means universality, publicity, moralization, becoming "foreground" in the Goffman sense. People accept and recognize the state in obedience to these ceremonial activities. In these activities, the state becomes a belief and is no longer questioned. Bush proposes a unique proposition: belief is an untacit, unconscious contract, an "act of conviction obedience" to the social order, which is far more effective than a formal contract. Bush emphasizes that the "belief" mentioned here is not the recognition of justification in the Weberian sense, but a kind of original-legitimacy.

I think that the two Chinese expressions "as it should be" and "as it should be" may be able to properly express Busch's thinking. "Taken for granted" means that these institutions have been naturalized, leading people to take them for granted as if they were natural. In this respect, Brigs's thinking coincides with that of the British anthropologist Dame Mary Douglas. In her book How Institutions Think, Douglas writes that emerging institutions are always fragile, subject to a variety of interests and challenges, so finding a stable mechanism to provide a basis for legitimacy is key. This stability mechanism is the naturalization of social classification. It is necessary to use some kind of metaphor to establish the formal structure of the key parts of social relations in the objective world, or in the supernatural world, or in the eternal space, rather than as some kind of institutional arrangement that people purposefully and deliberately construct. (Douglas 1986, p. 48) Here we see the key role of symbolic power in creating reality, creating naturalization.

"As it should be" has a formalized connotation of "what it should be", that is, to transform empirical discourse into normative discourse. Bush pointed out that symbolic power transforms the "already be" into the "ought", that is, moralizing and rationalizing. Even if it does not become a reality, it is considered to have happened, "because it is unanimously recognized as official, not unanimously denied." It is present both in certain types of structures for example, in the social sector there is some objective principle of equalization or with the intention of equalization and it is also present in people's brains, and it represents something that people say does not exist but admits that it is good to exist. It is by relying on this basic lever of obedience that people create formal effects and achieve alchemy. Bruch's "alchemy" is the creation of illusions transformed through symbolic capital. In this process, the state becomes an established fact or an expectation that should be expected without questioning or discussion.

Bush further argues that people's actions of resistance also imply identification with the existing order. When people protest or boycott official policies in front of the government or parliament, it also means identification with this power structure. The author cites Weber's example of a thief who conceals his behavior when he steals, showing that he also acknowledges the rules. People are secretly breaking the law (the private domain) means that they recognize the rules of the public domain.

4. The Origin of the State and the Process of Monopolizing Symbolic Power

An important part of Bush's lecture is the reinterpretation of the origin and meaning of the state, with the aim of illustrating the central role of symbolic violence in state-building. This is an important analytical strategy to break out of the cocoon of national thinking. As mentioned earlier, Bruce developed the theoretical logic of structuralist genetics, which begins with the analysis of the origin of the state. At the time of the birth of the state, the process of justification has not yet been completed, and we can explain how the state has acquired universality, publicity, and morality from the various debates, different choices, and various forces at this point in time. In short, the study of the origin of the state is the study of the process of justification and construction of the state system.

Bruce proposed a specific theoretical model of the origin of the state, that is, the state is the product of the gradual accumulation of various capitals (economic, physical, symbolic, social, cultural, informational), and this process is closely related to the dynastic state; At the same time, it is accompanied by a process of transmutation. His theoretical discussion is divided into two steps: the first is about the pattern of accumulation and concentration of different capitals, which may come from different groups and processes. The second step is to establish a qualitative change model of different types of capital associated with centralization. In the process of accumulation and transformation of various capitals, it has undergone a transformation from special to universal, from private domain to public domain, and from home to country. The concentration and monopoly of symbolic resources played a key role in this process. The author distinguishes between two kinds of possession (possession): the possession of various types of capital and the possession of capital that gives power to this capital, the latter being symbolic capital. In the course of history, the dual process of the concentration of different types of capital and the concentration of different types of capital in the hands of the same group of people gave birth to the state.

A brief record of the main points and ideas of Brussels on the origin and significance of the state in the book.

Brich's discussion begins with a comparison of early European city-states with empires. Citing historian Joseph R. Strayer, he pointed out that empires and city-states were different forms of organization. The empire's mobilization capacity is relatively limited, the degree of integration of different regions is low, and the sense of identity and loyalty is weak. In contrast, it is easier for city-states to integrate citizens, promote political participation, and gain internal cohesion. European countries integrated their populations through a system of mobilization and organization, which led to the importance of symbolic resources such as faith and conviction.

In this sense, the origin and emergence of the state derive from symbolic capital. Bush proposed that the so-called primitive accumulation is the primitive accumulation of symbolic resources. In other words, all kinds of capital economic, cultural, social, and so on can only function if they have a symbolic meaning. For example, economic capital has different meanings in the cognitive systems of different societies, and the same wealth has different meanings in different cultural backgrounds, bringing different social status.

Bush's discussion focused on the transition from a dynastic state to a bureaucratic state, highlighting his important points. The so-called "dynastic state" here refers to the different countries in Europe before the 17th century, which are mainly reflected in the status of monarchs, and do not have the characteristics of modern states. The bureaucratic state refers to the rise of the modern state.

In Brugh's view, there are two modes of reproduction in the dynastic state: the family mode of reproduction (hereditary inheritance) and the cultural mode of reproduction (bureaucracy, education), which are inherently contradictory, thus promoting the new pursuit of legitimacy. The owners of cultural capital (bureaucrats and jurists) propose a new basis of legitimacy and move towards the construction of the state, from power on the basis of "home" to impersonal power, from the private domain to the public domain.

Briz then discusses the process of concentration of various types of capital, taking physical capital as an example. The state's monopoly on violence is established in a twofold context: competition between states and competition within the country. Concentration comes by depriving others of their power, moving towards universalization and monopoly. For example, physical capital such as the military, the police, and the judiciary are gradually concentrating to deprive others of the right to use violence. The accumulation of physical capital also depends on the accumulation of symbolic capital, because the former depends on mobilization, that is, it needs to construct legitimacy.

The emergence of the tax system went through a similar process. From the perspective of Durkheim functionalism, with the differentiation of society, various functions, including the tax system, were separated. In Bruch's view, the state plays an important role in the separation of these functions, participating in the process of constructing various fields and their boundaries. The tax system of the dynastic state shifted from special to universal, taxing all subjects, unlike the feudal system in which only subordinates were taxed. Taxation under the feudal system has the meaning of gifting, which is an economic exchange relationship based on interpersonal dependence, while the tax system of the dynastic state requires various capitals such as professional administrators, documents, information, statistics, etc., so the establishment and implementation of the tax system also depends on symbolic capital, "The physical violence necessary for taxation can only be fully realized when it is disguised as symbolic violence." The bureaucracy is not just an archive, it also invents the discourse of legitimacy... A large part of the construction of the state is a psychological invention, and the use of symbolic power is very important in order to complete the work of taxation. The tax officer appears as an agent (delegate) of the state and is recognized by the public. In other words, it is a natural belief that the state system of economic capital, taxation, etc., is recognized and complied with through the monopoly of symbolic capital.

Rituals and symbolic symbols (such as uniforms) are important in this process. The tax system in the modern sense is accompanied by a great deal of work to justify and justify taxation. By the same logic, we can understand the significance of the state's monopoly on cultural capital, such as classifying, authenticating, and appointing through education, just as the various titles have been awarded in history, thus creating logical and moral integration and providing the conditions for those in power to rule.

At the same time, it is also a process of unification of the legal market. In medieval Europe (around the 12th century), there were various legal systems, which were gradually unified as the king's power expanded, establishing a unified judicial system (such as England) and establishing a single rule of the game. Jurists pushed for universality, breaking down feudal boundaries through litigation theory and moving towards the legitimacy of kings and the centralization of power. With the unification of the legal market, litigation procedures are becoming standardized, homogeneous, and universal.

Another process is the aggregation and centralization of information in the direction of the country, in particular the centralization of cultural capital. The concentration of cultural capital is closely related to the birth of a nation, as the former helps to shape national consciousness. In the process of the birth of the state, the diffusion symbolic capital, based on collective, mutual recognition, transitioned to an objectified, systematic, empowered, state-guaranteed, i.e., bureaucratic symbolic capital.

The transition from a dynastic state to a bureaucratic state was a qualitative shift. There is tension between the law of consanguinity in the former and the territorial law in the latter, while the latter is more universal, and the state promotes the universalization of different fields (economy, culture). This process of transformation involved two aspects, one was the separation of the dynasty from the family, and the other was the separation of the dynasty from the bureaucracy.

4.1. Home and country

The separation of the family from the country is an important part of this process. In the pre-capitalist period, Bush argues, "people thought in terms of the pattern of kinship ... In other words, the family model is here the principle by which all possible social realities are constructed. The contradiction between reproduction on the basis of blood and reproduction in the general sense promotes the birth of the state, that is, the break with the "natural connection" based on blood, that is, the process of "de-familyization".

Busch's "home" is closer to "family" in the Chinese sense: "Home is a reality that transcends its occupants, it is at the same time a building, a legacy, a family descendant, and so on." This entity that transcends the individual can become the subject of some actions that continue in time; One of the attributes of a home is its sustainability... The main attribute of the home itself is to seek perpetuity in life, to seek continuity..."

4.2. The independence of the royal power and the bureaucracy

The second process, the separation of royal authority from bureaucratic authority. The author cites the study of the British constitution to illustrate the gradual formation of bureaucracy and administration, in which the power of the king gradually diverges, and the initial network of interdependence gradually establishes and develops a complex bureaucratic system, which is combined through complex relationships in the direction of control and delegation. One example of this is the blurring of inherited positions. "If a position becomes inheritable, it is politically insignificant." The family mode of reproduction gradually gave way to another mode of reproduction, and its position became a ceremonial position, and the actual responsibility was assumed by the appointment of another official, and bureaucratization evolved in the direction of legitimacy.

The process of moving from the private power of the king to the realm of public power. The tension and dependence between the imperial power and the bureaucracy, the laws imposed on the appointees were also imposed on the appointees, and the king was gradually encased in the law through the legitimization of various relations. For example, the use of the royal seal, which involves multiple people and procedures, thus establishes a set of rules. In the process of delegating authority, the powers are also divided, and the appointment of the king needs to be coordinated by the various other departments to be effective. Another example is the tension between the dynastic principles and the legal principles embodied in the Imperial Council. In the process of dealing with this tension, charismatic authority moved towards regularization, pushing for a set of rules based on law. The contradiction between the inheritance of power on the basis of the family (family, clan) and the inheritance on the basis of education is transformed into the bureaucratic state, and the basis of universal legitimacy is obtained. Here, state rationality is a special logic that is different from morality, religion, and politics. Bureaucracy embodies universality and is a rational embodiment of personnel selection, depersonalization, and de-glamorization.

The king centralized power but had to delegate it to the bureaucracy, so there was a loss of capital in circulation. Brieus cites economist Jean-Jacques Laffont's three-level principal-manager-agent model to illustrate the power of intermediate managers. He also cited Wei Pixin's case of corruption in Chinese history. Incomplete finance leads to structural corruption, and officials seize resources for personal gain, reflecting the duality of bureaucracy: the universality of the public sphere and the particularity of the private sphere, which are both rational and corrupt. In my opinion, Brinell's discussion and analysis in this area does not reflect the depth of research that has been done in contemporary social science. The analysis of China's incomplete history of finance and official behavior is brief.

In short, the competition between various fields has promoted the rise of the state, and the state has become a "meta-field" of power. For example, in the competition of different feudal lords in the "feudal field", the king has a special status, has symbolic power, and through ritual activities, through education and the army (as a tool for instilling cultural patterns), etc., establishes a proper definition of culture, establishes a nation, universality, unity, and moves towards the state. To borrow Richet's words, "How does the state, with its own development, give birth to a new kind of capital, give birth to a peculiar state capital, which is both material and symbolic, and which functions like meta-capital, like a power that is superior to all other kinds of power."

4.3. The rise of ethnic and civil society

Bush proposed that the process of the rise of the modern state is a legal state on the one hand, and a civil society on the other; The third aspect is the political space, i.e., the parliamentary system, which establishes norms for the exercise of power. To construct the nation from the state is to promote the "integration" of the governed, and then move from the nation-state to the welfare state, and to include the people in the political process. In these respects, the social sciences already have a large literature.

Take, for example, the formation of nation-states. The usual theory of nationality is that a nation is developed historically, has a national identity, and the state arises on this basis and is legally recognized; The state is a product of the nation, not its producer. Bush proposes an opposite causal model: the state creates its own legitimacy by symbolizing power and capital. Bush cites Franco-German immigration laws as an example to illustrate the role of symbolic capital. The former comes from the universalism of the 18th century, where the state is a territorial jurisdiction, a land-based community. To be born into this land is to be a citizen. Germany's immigration laws are based on the 19th-century Romantic ethos, which is based on race, language, and culture, and focuses on descent-based citizenship.

In the sense of symbolic power, the state is an entity that depends on faith. The logic of the state, based on the quest for universality. Concentration is not a simple accumulation, but the unification and monopoly of the rules of the game. In this sense, the evolution path of the country is a process that symbolizes the monopoly of resources and the monopoly of the right to speak (naming right).

Law and jurists play an important role in this process. Bush emphasized, not without exaggeration, that jurists have created the nation-state, the public space, and the citizen. Jurists push the state to win for their own benefit, creating the nation-state, the unified state, in order to profit from the public and the universal. They reinforce the "actual" by stating what "ought to be", and the monopoly of such statements is the basic function of justification. In the process of the concentration of symbolic power, the actors of the state create a virtual state through resources such as law (Roman law), and through the promotion of a specific language, a specific culture, thus forming territorial borders, establishing a state in the sense of the same language and the same inhabitant, and not the other way around. "They made a nation and entrusted it with the task of making a nation." Thus, the author proposes that the state and civil society are not binary, but a continuum between them, in which the state is perpetuated and strengthened in the continuous distribution of material and symbolic resources.

According to my simplified formulation, the logic of Brunell's theory is roughly that interests breed ideas, ideas create states, states build the national and public spheres, and shape social realities and ways of thinking based on legitimacy. The process of state construction is a dual process that symbolizes the monopoly of capital and the construction of legitimacy. Brussels uses existing historical data and research results to reinterpret the topic of the rise of modern European states from the perspective of symbolic power, and his contribution is not a new historical discovery, but a new (or refocused) way of interpretation.

5. Extended thinking

In his speech, Bush put forward a series of powerful ideas and ideas. His proposition that the monopoly of symbolic power and symbolic violence is at the center of the construction of the state, as well as the related structurogenetic methods, not only made seminal contributions to historical sociology, but also led to a re-examination of the general theories of the social sciences, such as the economic base and superstructure, the origin and nature of the state, and other major issues.

Broadly speaking, Bush's basic idea is that the way a society is organized (the state) is subject to a specific process of distribution and concentration of symbolic resources (degree of concentration, concentration path). From this perspective, we can re-examine the development paths and characteristics of different civilizations. For example, what is the relationship between the origins of the major civilizations of the "Axial Age" proposed by Jasbelles and the way in which different civilizations are organized? What is the relationship between the construction paths of different countries and the unique symbolic resources and their monopoly processes in history?

5.1. Relationship with Chinese Studies

Bush's discussion of the origin of the state, focusing on the gestation and rise of modern European states (12th-17th centuries), is placed in the context of competition between European states and the domestic trend towards absolutist kingship, which is very different from other cultural scenes (such as the great unification since the Qin Dynasty in China), and needs to be further considered from a comparative historical perspective. My research interests involve the process of the construction of the Chinese state in history. Bush's lecture is instructive and involves a comparative study of the historical evolution of bureaucracy in China and Europe. Here, in no particular order, a list is made.

First, Brigner's discussion of home-state relations in the European context provides a comparative perspective. According to Bush, the rise of the modern state in Europe, that is, the transformation from a dynastic state to a bureaucratic state, has undergone a separation and transformation from family (family, family) to state, de-family, de-feudalization, de-personalization, towards the public sphere and public power, and on this basis, the construction of national and civil society.

In this respect, the path of state-building in China's history is in stark contrast. Family-nationalism and home-country isomorphism have always been an indissoluble complex in Chinese culture. In the course of Chinese history, bureaucratic reproduction and family reproduction coexist and blend with each other, bringing a series of characteristics to China's national construction. I have a separate article to discuss.

Another interesting clue to the contrast is that Bush notes that in the process of separating royal authority from bureaucratic authority in Europe, the king's power gradually diverged and shifted to the bureaucracy. One example of this is the blurring of inherited positions. As quoted above, "When a office becomes inheritable, it is politically insignificant. Gradually, the family mode of reproduction gave way to another mode of reproduction, and its position became a ceremonial one. Officials were appointed to take real responsibility, and bureaucratization evolved in the direction of legitimacy. This is an interesting contrast to the historian Yan Buke's dual system of position and taste in the Chinese imperial bureaucracy.

Second, examining symbolic capital and schools of thought in Chinese history from the perspective of Bruce can promote a closer interaction between intellectual history and institutional history. Bush argues that the process of state-building encounters stubborn resistance, so it is necessary to develop a discourse of legitimacy and a whole system of symbols. Because of this, symbolic capital has its significance. In China's long history, various classics and various ideological trends, especially the controversy over Confucianism, Confucian teachings, Confucian culture, the integration of Confucianism and law, and the culture of the family and the country, can all be re-examined from the perspective of the process of legitimacy construction. I think of some related works: "Zhu Xi's Historical World" (Yu Yingshi), "The Law of the Ancestors" (Deng Xiaonan), "Confucian State" (Zhao Dingxin), and so on.

In European history, royal power has always been accompanied by a struggle with divine power. Law and jurists, stemming from the constraints of theological authority on secular power, have played an important role in the construction of the state and have a lot of weight in Bush's discussion. In Chinese history, as Weber noted, imperial power concentrated divine power and political power, which had a unique significance for the construction of its legitimacy, shaping a different evolutionary path from that of Europe. This contrast is particularly relevant from the point of view of the distribution and concentration of symbolic resources. In this way, Shi Huaci's "The World of Thought in Ancient China" on the thinking world of China from the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period to the Western Han Dynasty under the background of world civilization, and Ge Zhaoguang's "History of Chinese Thought" on the general knowledge, ideas and beliefs in Chinese history can be used to think about and understand the historical trajectory and characteristics of China's state construction.

Third, Busch cites Wei Pixin's discussion of the behavior of officials under the incomplete finance of the Qing Dynasty to illustrate the relationship between imperial power and bureaucracy, especially the dual nature of official behavior in the public domain and corruption in the private domain. Brich, seemingly without thinking, uses this example to illustrate the evolution of the relationship between kingship and bureaucracy during the rise of modern states. This comparison also raises new questions: Is the relationship between monarchs and bureaucrats in modern European countries the same in nature as in the Chinese Empire?

Finally, when I read the Brinell speech, I was also thinking about my own research work. Bush's "symbolic power" is a concrete form of state symbolic violence, a continuous power. In the context of my discussion of central-local relations, I argue that the central government is constantly shifting between substantive and symbolic power to deal with the basic contradiction between a unified system and effective governance. In this context, "symbolic power" refers to the central government's delegation of substantive power to local governments, while retaining only "symbolic power", which is mainly reflected in the various symbolic forms and rhetoric of local governments recognizing the authority of the central government. The "symbolic power" that Bush is talking about and the "symbolic power" that I am talking about here are two different concepts in different theoretical frameworks, and they have different meanings.

Originally, it would be sufficient to note the different uses and meanings of the concept of "symbolic power" in different literatures and theoretical orientations. But this comparison made me realize some interesting issues, and I will continue to discuss them here. Bush emphasizes the symbolic power that comes from the state's monopoly of symbolic resources, and the justification and social reality that is constructed from it. In this picture described by Brich, the social order has been legitimized, naturalized, and no longer challenged by questioning. At this point, my theoretical orientation is different. In the central-local relations that I am concerned about, the basic contradictions in national governance have led to constant tension and imbalance in this order, which needs to be constantly adjusted to find a new balance. In other words, the order itself, or its specific manifestations, is not stable and unchanging, but is constantly changing and adjusting.

If we look at the theoretical logic of Bush, perhaps we can interpret the picture I see in this way: the historical Chinese empire, because of its scale and internal diversity, coupled with the sometimes foreign domination and dynastic changes, its legitimacy construction has always been a project in progress. The central-local relationship and the imperial power-bureaucracy relationship are endogenously tense in the process of governing interaction, and they are constantly undergoing adjustment and change, so this process of legitimacy construction is constantly interrupted or adjusted. On the other hand, are there similar challenges to the rise and subsequent evolution of modern European states? From the perspective of symbolic power, how should the different paths of state-building be explained?

Extrapolating from this point, through the theoretical mirror provided by Brinell, we can see more clearly where our theoretical foothold lies. Through his own foothold, he also saw more clearly the logic and imagination of Brinell's thinking. On this basis, conscious and selective absorption and inspiration can be triggered.

5.2. Bourdieu's thought in a historical context

Placing Bourdieu in his historical context, it is not difficult to find that Bruce's academic thought and research orientation were shaped by his social background. In this speech, Bush gave the supremacy of the state, which was clearly imprinted by France's strong state background, and this emphasis is also appropriate in the context of centralized Chinese history. However, it is not without discussion if this is placed in the history of other countries, such as the United States. Tocqueville, a fellow Bruce countryman, made this very clear in his book Democracy in America.

Scholarly research on the origins of states in history also provides a different understanding of the ideas in the Brinell lectures. For example, Milgrom, North, and Wengast's work on private ordering places particular emphasis on the role of other social mechanisms throughout history.

Bricht's argument that history closes off other possibilities is extremely valuable. Recent research on the origins of states (Graeber & Wengrow, see my reading notes) raises the same question, namely, that there are other ways and forms of state evolution in history, only because the history that has already taken has prevented other possibilities and makes it impossible for us to imagine. This reminds me of an observation by Li Zehou: The early Communists were mostly anarchist. Their will is to eliminate inequality through strong government and then move towards anarchic harmony....

In this book, Bruce shows us that the output of excellent research results, in addition to the quality and vision of scholars themselves, is the result of long-term accumulation and perseverance. Brussels' decades of continuous thinking, continuous cultivation in several fields, and the accumulation of long-term research work have paved the way for the insights that come from a high vantage point in this book.

The task of academic research is not to discover the absurd, but to explain the truth behind the absurd. The more difficult task of the social sciences, Bush argues, is to uncover the profit-driven and justified packaging behind the social order that seems to be taken for granted and deserved. In Goffman's words, it's about showing how symbolic power works backstage and rigging the front-of-house performance. In this sense, Bruce has repeatedly proposed that sociology is a meta-discipline and a spoiler of symbolic violence. Reading this, I can't help but think of a similar exclamation in my reading notes when I read Goffman's front-to-back description: "The success of stage performance lies in the fact that both the actor and the audience enter the role according to the rules and cooperate with each other. In other words, it is assumed that all parties involved, including the various characters on stage and the audience, must enter the same definition of the situation in order to enter the play, even if it is a brief situation. Researchers are more likely to appear as spectators and drama critics, watching various performances on the big stage of society, including the audience's reactions. This reminds me that when the actors and the audience are engrossed in their respective roles, and suddenly onlookers are pointing and commenting on the sidelines, it is indeed a bit of a big surprise.

Reading a good book is an opportunity to communicate and collide with wise people. Academic research contributions can be divided into two types: conventional knowledge and seminal knowledge. The former is part of the continuous accumulation of knowledge, and the latter is a new idea and direction that breaks through the existing trajectory. Groundbreaking knowledge is often an unavoidable opportunity, and if you do, don't let it go, read it carefully, and let it become a motivation and opportunity to stimulate your own thinking and imagination. Bourdieu's On the State is just such a good book.

This article comes from Professor Zhou Xueguang's Weibo, thanks to Professor Zhou Xueguang for his authorization to push!