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


  • Gérôme Truc Institut Marcel Mauss - EHESS/ CNRS Paris



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


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.


Author Biography

Gérôme Truc, Institut Marcel Mauss - EHESS/ CNRS Paris

Gérôme Truc is a PhD Student in Sociology at the école des Hautes études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). He is currently working as a research member at the Casa de Velázquez (école des Hautes études Hispaniques et Ibériques) in Madrid. Previously he has been a visiting scholar at the Sociology Department of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He is the author of several articles and a book about theories of Responsibility and Arendt’s philosophy: Assumer l'humanité. Hannah Arendt, la responsabilité face à la pluralité (Bruxelles: éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 2008). His current research interests are sociological and political theory, sociology of cosmopolitanism, as well as sociology of emotions and memory.