Narrative Identity against Biographical Illusion: The Shift in Sociology from Bourdieu to Ricœur

Gérôme Truc


Since the publication of Oneself as Another, many sociologists have referred to the work of Paul Ricœur, some of them considering his notion of narrative identity to be a useful means of analyzing some aspects individual identity left unresolved by Bourdieu’s notion of habitus. Bourdieu had, however, already discredited the sociological relevance of the notion of narrative in his 1986 article “The Biographical Illusion.” Through a careful re-reading of both texts, this article will determine to what extent the sociological use of Ricœur’s notions can escape the confines of Bourdieu’s analysis and, moreover, the different conceptions of the human being and of ethics underlying the two distinct frameworks of analysis.



Personal Identity, Narrative Identity, Biographical Illusion, Pierre Bourdieu, Sociology

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Copyright (c) 2011 Gérôme Truc

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ISSN 2156-7808 (online)