عنوان مقاله [English]
The purpose of this article is to examine different cultural factors which are necessary for African Americans to form their own culture and identity against the dominant white class of society in the beginning of the twentieth century in America, as presented in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s come and Gone, and to provide a cultural analysis of this play in the light of the objective and systematic theory of Pierre Bourdieu. The American playwright August Wilson (1945–2005) produced a series of ten plays, The Pittsburgh Cycle, for which he received two Pulitzer Prizes. One of the basic issues which Wilson brings up in his ten plays, written in regard to each decade of the twentieth century, is the struggle of African Americans to construct their culture and consequently their identity in America. In Wilson’s plays, many newly freed African slaves move to the north in order to shape their identity as respectable citizens of great worth. Therefore, they are foreigners in a new and strange habitus, and because they have lost their contact with their past heritage and also do not have access to the social codes through which they could gain power, they search for means through which they could concretize the song they carry within themselves which is their true African heritage. And in Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Wilson portrays the socio-historical and economic forces that led to the great migration of African Americans from the South to the North, reminiscent of the biblical exodus of the migration of Israelites. He depicts men and women who try to break themselves form the invisibles chains of slavery and cruelty and search for a new life, prosperity, empowerment, safety, individuality, and of course eventually their collective racial identity). And this play is surveyed in the light of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological theory. Influenced by great thinkers such as Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, and Jean Baudrillard among others, Bourdieu’s main concern is with the changing pattern of cultural forms of domination, competition for power and prestige with the aim of revealing and bringing to light the hidden forms of domination that are consciously and unconsciously reproduced in everyday life. Though the subject of Bourdieu’s studies is basically the French society of his time, his methodology and insights are applicable to all societies which are the domains of cultural conflicts. The key terms in Bourdieu’s theory such as culture, different forms of capital, taste, distinction, and habitus provide the ground through which we can diagnose the surface and hidden conflicts in social relations. One of the main advantages of Bourdieu as a social theorist is that he does not exclude the role of history in his studies. It is, finally, argued that without capturing different forms of capital and growing individual tastes and consequently real distinction within a specific habitus, the struggle of these people for structuring their social identity is futile. The significance of the current article is that its discoveries can be extended for the analysis of other dominated cultures throughout the world as well.