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Negri on Bourdieu

Q: But there are people like Pierre Bourdieu, who played a classic role and represented the movement?

Negri: I knew him well and I admired him very much for his fundamental integrity. He was not obliged to do what he did in 1995, he had nothing to gain from it. Pierre Bourdieu was a great professor and a remarkable intellect, but not much more. He never played the role that someone like Sartre was able to play in a different epoch. Even when Bourdieu held that astonishing speech to strikers at the Gare de Lyon in 1995, that was not the speech of someone identifying the lines of a political process.

Bourdieu simply declared his solidarity: That’s rare and valuable, but it’s not really a political gesture. This is not the intellectual that the socialist or communist movement used to show us. At the same time it’s clear that the political function of intellectuals has changed since the 1970s: He is no longer a conscience enlightening the masses, but has become an activist. He is not above the struggles, he is, together with others, one of the protagonists in them. He’s one of the faces of this ‘common’ that is invented by the fighting singularities.
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