Polemics as a Symbolic Capital Defence Way in the 18th Century in Prussia: the Case of Christian Gottlieb Mielcke and Gottfried Ostermeyer
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Institut of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore;
Online publication date: 2021-07-23
Publication date: 2021-07-23
Corresponding author
Žavinta Sidabraitė
KMW 2021;312(2):223-240
The research was based on the methodological premises of the cultural capitalism theory, formed by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, where a cultural field was perceived as a battle-field of interested actors (agents) seeking to accumulate as large as possible cultural and symbolic capital. The interests of Mielcke and Ostermeyer clashed in the second half of the 18th century, when both of them started working on the same cultural project: the preparation of an updated Lithuanian hymnal, based on the principles of rationalism and the Enlightenment theology. As Ostermeyer was the first to prepare the hymnal and to publish it on governmental funds, Mielcke could not accept the fact that he was circumvented by an ambitious newcomer in the field of Lithuanian culture where his own family had been among the predominating ones for a number of years. In the criticism of Ostermeyer’s hymnal, Mielcke sought to present him as an impudent intruder who, despite significant symbolic capital accumulated in other areas, did not have sufficient cultural capitalisation in the field of Lituanistic Prussian culture and who had a too poor command of Lithuanian. Mielcke succeeded in stopping Ostermeyer’s decisive engagement in the field of Lituanistic activity. Nonetheless, in the fight with the opponent, Mielcke also lost a significant part of his accumulated symbolic capital.
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