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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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? […]