The Essay

session 5
narratives of the 90s
• 90s epigrams
– “You shouldn’t have to sacrifice who you are just
because somebody else has a problem with it.”
(Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City)
– “You know it’s not your style, but it’s right there
and you try it on anyway”
• Being present: what does it mean?
• A strong identity is based on receiving
undivided attention.
• Relate to living in the world symbolically
through personal experience of the world.
• Authentic living vs. dictated agendas.
rebecca miller
arthur miller & inge morath
miller & monroe
miller & daniel day-lewis
cultural production
movie director
the move across fields of cultural production
is determined by various negotiations which
ensure and determine the degree of a
subject’s successfulness in a field of cultural
critics as gate keepers
• “I always had this compulsion to tell stories
and I was so visual at the same time. Making
films just seemed the right way to unify those
things.” (Rebecca Miller)
• “Probably given the fact that everybody in my
family is an artist, I became one. But I think
that happens with doctors too”. (Rebecca
pierre bourdieu
• economic capital: consists of economic forces  money
• cultural capital: consists of non-economic forces  family,
background, social class, prestige.
– (symbolic capital)
• the dominated class has fewer economic means  it engages
in producing works of culture
• the dominating class possessing economic capital  engages
in investing in the preservation of works of art.
Personal Velocity: Greta
• Greta
– ambitious, speedy
– ‘hates’ her job
– gets things done
• Lee
a quiet man
loves his job
has no aspirations
• Greta’s character is a
reflection of her father 
– through success, her assets
get converted into money and
• Lee’s character mirrors the
values of his family  ‘nice’
• Identity
– established from the outset
– mediated and negotiated
– determined by realizations not decisions
• Aspirations
• Personal velocity
• Challenging of social institutions
• Shoes
– are a reflection of the dynamics of a field
– are a manifestation of personal velocity
– are a standard by which we judge others
– are a manifestation of different negotiations
between fields
• Religion
– Christianity (Protestantism and its work ethics: the
aim is to be as good as others)
– Judaism (stresses interpretation: the aim is not to
be as good as the others, but better)
• performative
– Miller’s writing emulates Greta’s editing
– no redundancies
– flat delivery (compare to the deadpan voice-over
in the film)
• irony
– no sentimentality
• interior monologue