Tag: bourdieu

  • Against spontaneous sociology: Michael Burawoy’s attempt to rescue Bourdieu from Matthew Desmond and what it means for public sociology

    My notes on Burawoy, M. (2017). On Desmond: the limits of spontaneous sociology. Theory and Society, 46(4), 261-284. The work of Matthew Desmond has won enormous acclaim in recent years, with Evicted being a book I recommend to anyone keen to understand the relevance of contemporary sociology. While recognising his talents as an ethnographer and writer, […]

  • The missing history of the practical intellectuals

    One of my pet hates is the legacy of the ‘intellectual’, with its connotations of heroic figures speaking truth to power. This is recognised even by those who seek to retain the notion, as was the case with Foucault’s project “to break with the totalizing ambition of what he called the ‘universal intellectual’” as Bourdieu […]

  • Pierre Bourdieu, liberal thought and the ontology of collectives

    Well over a decade ago, I was due to start a PhD in Political Philosophy looking at ideas of the individual within liberal thought. There are many reasons why I ultimately moved into a Sociology department instead, though my lack of regrets about this choice hasn’t stopped me occasionally wondering what might this thesis might […]

  • Pierre Bourdieu, post-war Algeria and the existential conditions for collective action

    In an early essay on post-war Algeria, Pierre Bourdieu reflected on the existential experience of the urban sub-proletariat and its political significance. This is reproduced on pg 16 of Political Interventions: Social Science and Political Action: Habituation to prolonged unemployment and the most casual and poorly paid work, along with the lack of any regular employment, […]

  • The Relative Autonomy of Symbolic Mediation

    A quick note on the Wacquant workshop. We’ve turned to habitus and he’s offered the unproblematic claim that we always encounter the physical world through the prism of symbols. Social relations generate symbolic relations which are deposited in the body, shaping action in ways which serve to reproduce or transform social relations. It would be impossible to dispute this. However there’s […]

  • The Philosophical Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu

    I’m at an interesting workshop being given by Loic Wacquant on the practical application of Bourdieu’s social theory. An aspect that has really stood out to me so far is Wacquant’s presentation of Bourdieu’s work as a philosophical sociology. The point is partly biographical, with Bourdieu’s transition into social research being a response to his national […]

  • Before Bourdieu, there was Orwell

    I love this little passage, quoted on pg 172 of Zizek’s Trouble in Paradise: We all rail against class-distinctions, but very few people seriously want to abolish them. Here you come upon the important fact that every revolutionary opinion draws part of its strength from a secret conviction that nothing can be changed … The […]

  • An Archerian reading of Bourdieu: the reflexive imperative as the normalisation of hysteresis

    I’ve just cut this out of a paper I’m working on. It’s not up to scratch and it doesn’t really contribute anything to the development of the paper. But it’s an idea I’m planning to return to in future, so I’d be interested in any thoughts people have about it. I hadn’t actually compiled the […]

  • Call for Papers: The contemporary relevance of the work of Pierre Bourdieu

    CALL FOR PAPERS The contemporary relevance of the work of Pierre Bourdieu BSA Bourdieu Study Group’s Inaugural Biennial Conference 2016 Organised in association with the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies, University of Bristol 4-6 July, 2016, University of Bristol Pierre Bourdieu has been one of the most influential sociologists of the second half […]

  • Reframing Margaret Archer’s critique of habitus

    One of the most contentious aspects of Margaret Archer’s work on reflexivity has been her critique of Bourdieu’s habitus. I was thinking back to this issue when reading Sam Friedman’s excellent new paper in the Sociological Review on the habitus clivé. It’s a whole dimension to Bourdieu’s work which I was completely unfamiliar with and furthers […]

  • Howard Becker and Margaret Archer share a critique of Bourdieu

    They just express it in a very different way: “Bourdieu’ s big idea was the champs, field, and mine was monde, world—what’s the difference?” Becker asks rhetorically. “Bourdieu’s idea of field is kind of mystical. It’s a metaphor from physics. I always imagined it as a zero-sum game being played in a box. The box is full […]

  • On the Street Where you Live: Bourdieusian analysis of socio-spatial hierarchy

    This looks really interesting: ‘On the Street Where you Live’: Bourdieusian analysis of socio-spatial hierarchy BSA Bourdieu Study Group Event Tuesday 2nd December 2014 London Key Note Speakers:  Dr Paul Watt (Birkbeck) Dr Michaela Benson (Goldsmith) Dr Tracey Jensen (UEL) Dr Simon Harding (Middlesex University) and Stephen Crossley (Durham) The relations between the social world […]

  • The Further Sociology of Hipsters

    Does the word ‘hipster’ mean anything? “Not anymore” says Josh, an “archetypal hipster” quoted in this Guardian article. The word itself obviously has a long history but did its present sense, referring to a diffuse yet uniform sartorial and lifestyle trend in the neoliberal metropolis, ever really have a clear meaning? In its absence, can we […]

  • A BSA Bourdieu Study Group Event: Are Elite Universities Meritocratic?

    Are Elite Universities Meritocratic? A BSA Bourdieu Study Group Event Tuesday 8th July 2014 10am-5pm Cardiff University Committee Rooms, Glamorgan Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3WT Keynote Speakers Professor Diane Reay and Dr. Vikki Boliver Bourdieu talks about university being a process of ‘elimination’ for those who lack the type of ‘capital’ valued […]

  • The Public Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu (part 2)

    This is the second in a series of posts about the public sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. I wrote yesterday about his arguments concerning globalisation and social movements. This provides the political context in relation to which he saw a scholarship with commitment as important. In this post I’m going to discuss what he saw this as entailing […]

  • Bourdieu meets Marx, Gramsci, Fanon, Freire, Beauvoir and Mills (in Burawoy’s imagination)

    I came across this interesting project by Michael Burawoy earlier. He conceives of a whole series of imagined ‘meetings’ between Bourdieu and leading political thinkers, elaborating his own understanding of Bourdieu’s work by considering its relationship with important intellectual trends. I’ve only looked through the Mills one so far but these do look very interesting and […]

  • The Public Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu (part 1)

    The thing I like most about Bourdieu is his conception of public sociology. It seems clear to me that Bourdieu was a public sociologist, though others are less certain about this and I suspect it’s not a term he would have chosen to use himself. For a whole host of reasons, I’ve never been massively interested in much of Bourdieu’s […]