Translating social sciences into Arabic today. The case of Pierre Bourdieu
Through the example of the Arabic translations of Pierre Bourdieu, this article analyses the conditions of the introduction and reception of a sociological thought of French origin in the contemporary Arab intellectual field and, more generally, those of the international circulation of ideas in a postcolonial context. The diachronic analysis reveals the interpenetration of logics of import and export, the differences between intellectual and academic national traditions in various Arab countries, as well as the difficult conditions through which modern works of social sciences are published and circulated in the Arab world. Hence, the general economy of these translations is characterized as selective, didactic and militant, while a foreignizing and at times literalist translational norm – notwithstanding the diversity of the translators’ terminological choices, given the absence of a normative framework – dominates their poetics. The author concludes with an analysis of the Arab translator’s habitus, characterized by a specific “suffering of position”. A bibliography of Bourdieu’s Arab translations is provided.