Literary and Critical Theory Pierre Bourdieu
by
Jen Webb
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 July 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780190221911-0040

Introduction

The work of Pierre Bourdieu (b. 1930–d. 2002) has continued to exercise a profound influence on the academic field in the years following his death. In 2007, ISI Web of Science identified him as the scholar with the second-highest number of citations of books in the humanities (after Michel Foucault); in 2014, Adrian Ivakhiv analyzed the updated data and named him as the third most cited humanities scholar of the 20th century (after Foucault and Freud). Grandson of a peasant sharecropper, and son of a village postman, he grew up in rural Béarn, France, where he describes himself as being a “renegade” distinguished by the number of detentions he received at school. He moved on to further education in prestigious schools, where his experience of social exclusion provided him with insights into social politics that informed his later work. Bourdieu began his professional life as a philosopher, and he worked as a teacher before he was conscripted and sent to Algeria. His tour of duty completed, he took a post at the University of Algeria, taught himself ethnography, and began his first major empirical work, with the Kabyle people. In the mid-1960s, now back in France, he was appointed director of the Centre de Sociologie Européenne, and in 1981 he was made chair of sociology at the Collége de France. Later in his career he became a public critic, using both scholarly and popular media to battle what he identified as forces of oppression in French society. He is, therefore, not precisely a philosopher, sociologist, or anthropologist, and yet his influence across these and related disciplines has been extensive. Though his work has been criticized as being too oriented toward reproduction, and overly focused on socioeconomics, his analysis of the role of cultural capital breaks with the easy polarities of high and low, or elite and mass modes of literary and other cultural production, attending rather to the conditions in which practitioners and audiences are constructed. This offers a fresh way of viewing the literary and cultural space from that offered by either cultural history or Frankfurt School–style critical theory. Throughout his career he has explored new ways to understand and engage with the impact of the sociopolitical domain on the lives of individuals. His signature themes of field, habitus, and capital; his focus on scholarly reflexivity; and his sophisticated methodological and epistemological rigor provide literary and critical scholars with valuable tools for thought.

General Overviews

Bourdieu’s first book was published (in French) in 1958, and during the decade that followed his key topics began to emerge—principally empirical studies of the fields of education and of cultural production, and texts on the principles and practices of critical sociology. By the 1980s he had published also on language and philosophy, and by the early 1990s—emerging as a public intellectual and social activist—he had added explicitly political writings and pamphlets to his oeuvre. Throughout, the same topics reappear, and are developed or reconceptualized. The result is a large and constantly growing body of work. His books have continued to appear in French and in English translation since his death, and the secondary literature proliferates, with publications testing Bourdieu’s concepts in art, sociology, education, the economy, literature, ideology, linguistics, nursing, business administration . . . the list goes on. Adding to the complexity, Bourdieu’s prose is notoriously difficult in his native French, and no easier in English translation. This was a deliberate gesture on his part, one designed to break with familiar or commonplace perceptions and afford new ways of thinking about, and perceiving, social concepts and frameworks. It does, though, make the task of understanding Bourdieu considerably more challenging. In addition, he does not necessarily revisit and explicate key terms developed in his earlier publications. Consequently, new readers coming to his mid- or late-career work may miss both the meanings and the nuances of his publications. All this makes it difficult to produce a genuinely comprehensive overview of his writings and their impact. There have, however, been a number of such publications produced. Some address the arc and trajectory of his work (Calhoun, et al. 1993; Grenfell 2004; Reed-Danahay 2005). Others are general accounts aimed at elucidating Bourdieu’s themes and concepts, or providing a context for the reach and endurance of his work (Jenkins 1992; Lane 2000; Santoro 2011; Webb, et al. 2002). Others again provide critical overviews of a specific theme or themes: Robbins 1991 and Swartz 1997 contextualize Bourdieu’s critical sociology, while Fowler 1997 addresses his contributions to the creative and cultural domains. Though there are many other publications worth exploring, these are among the English language overviews likely to be set on course reading lists, and to feature in bibliographies.

  • Calhoun, Craig, Edward LiPuma, and Moishe Postone, eds. Bourdieu: Critical Perspectives. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

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    This edited collection draws together essays by specialists including Scott Lash, Loïc Wacquant, Beate Krais, and the editors, with concluding remarks by Bourdieu himself. The essays cover such topics as the science of science; knowledge systems; habitus, field, and capital; language and linguistics; gender and power; and television and the cultural arbitrary. Though necessarily dated, it outlines many of the building blocks of Bourdieu’s oeuvre.

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    • Fowler, Bridget. Pierre Bourdieu and Cultural Theory: Critical Investigations. London: SAGE, 1997.

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      This work pays less attention than do others to Bourdieu’s sociological work, and significantly more to his contributions to cultural and critical domains of practice. It offers a close, critical evaluation of his writings on the creative field and the apparent blind spots in his account—popular literature and other cultural artifacts, for example. Further, it provides a detailed analysis of the critical reception of Bourdieu’s work by English-language scholars.

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      • Grenfell, Michael. Pierre Bourdieu: Agent Provocateur. London: Continuum, 2004.

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        Beginning with a brief biographical account, this book sets out the distinct moves in Bourdieu’s work—from ethnography, through education, art, and culture, to his late interventions as a political analyst and activist. Throughout, Grenfell contextualizes Bourdieu’s work, concluding with a critical account of his intellectual legacy.

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        • Jenkins, Richard. Pierre Bourdieu. London: Routledge, 1992.

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          Aims to clarify Bourdieu’s ideas and concepts for an Anglophone audience who, in 1992, may yet not have come across his work. In a move that must have heartened early readers, Jenkins criticizes Bourdieu’s writing style as “obscure, complex and intimidatory,” but nonetheless elucidates his sociological, epistemological, and conceptual contributions.

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          • Lane, Jeremy F. Pierre Bourdieu: A Critical Introduction. London: Pluto, 2000.

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            Lane’s introduction begins by engaging closely with Bourdieu’s Algerian work, something that receives minimal attention from many Bourdieu scholars. A useful feature of this is that Bourdieu’s combination of critical reason and empathic connection emerges in this early work, along with his concern to rely for effect not on passion, but on evidence. Central to Lane’s thesis is his explication, and evaluation, of Bourdieu’s theoretical apparatus.

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            • Reed-Danahay, Deborah. Locating Bourdieu. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.

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              Published later than many of the better-known overviews, this work incorporates Bourdieu’s shift, during the last decade of his life, toward the role of the public intellectual and critic of the state, as well as exploring his occasional, but significant, autoethnographic and “autobiographical” writings.

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              • Robbins, Derek. The Work of Pierre Bourdieu: Recognizing Society. Milton Keynes, UK: Open University Press, 1991.

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                One of the early book-length overviews, in English, of Bourdieu’s critical sociology, this volume outlines his concepts of human society, and of critical social research as a way of reframing social relations. Though now quite outdated, it remains an accessible introduction to key concepts from Bourdieu’s early to mid-career research.

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                • Santoro, Marco. “From Bourdieu to Cultural Sociology.” Cultural Sociology 5.1 (2011): 3–23.

                  DOI: 10.1177/1749975510397861Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  This introduction to the special issue of Cultural Sociology on Bourdieu’s legacy touches on the specifics of his major contributions, offers a detailed and dispassionate overview of his place in the academic field, and argues for the efficacy of his cultural and intellectual practice in developing his premier position as a critical and cultural sociologist.

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                  • Swartz, David. Culture and Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997.

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                    As the title of this book indicates, the focus throughout is how Bourdieu addresses the problem of power in the various domains in which he conducts his investigations. Like other overviews, Swartz’s covers the key issues of field, habitus, and capital, with close analyses of his work on intellectuals and cultural producers. It offers a valuable explication of Bourdieu’s reliance on Weber and Durkheim, something often overlooked by other critics.

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                    • Webb, Jen, Tony Schirato, and Geoff Danaher. Understanding Bourdieu. London: SAGE, 2002.

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                      Written as a general introduction to Bourdieu’s work from the perspective of social and cultural theory, this book uses examples from popular culture to explicate key terms and concepts. Offers a “roadmap” to his methodological, epistemological, and axiological frameworks. The final section focuses specifically on his engagements with creative and critical theory and practice.

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                      Primary Texts

                      Throughout his oeuvre, Bourdieu’s work addresses such issues as the constitution and social location of the individual, the role of capital and power, the impact of doxa on the reproduction or transformation of a field, and the importance of maintaining methodological reflexivity. Bourdieu published nearly forty books and over four hundred articles during his lifetime, and they can be categorized into several groups: anthropological/ethnographic; analyses and critiques of the field of education; critical sociological studies and texts on reflexive methodology; analyses of the cultural and literary field; and a body of political articles, books, and pamphlets (see, e.g., Bourdieu 1998a). The focus here is on Bourdieu’s contributions to literary and critical theory, key works in that area, and shifts in his analyses over his career. The critical reception of his work has often been couched in terms of the relationship between his concepts, and those of both Immanuel Kant and the Frankfurt School critics, particularly Theodor Adorno. Bourdieu departs from Kant’s logic of the universality of the aesthetic, demonstrating through fieldwork and theoretical analysis that the Kantian universal aesthetic is in fact a learned and inherited aesthetic, one constructed in terms of the principles of vision and division (Bourdieu 1984, Bourdieu 1991). He shares with Adorno an awareness of the association between the domain of “culture” and socioeconomic inequality, and of the potential of creative work to effect social transformations (Bourdieu, et al. 1990; Bourdieu and Haacke 1995). However, he departs from Adorno’s notion of universal culture in favor of a more relational conception, arguing that culture is both historical and constructed, and that the taste for cultural forms and practices emerges from the material conditions of the lives of individuals and groups, rather than from an a priori universal (Bourdieu 1993, Bourdieu 1996). His logic of the field rests to a considerable extent on his analysis of the broader social field, including the role of the state, the construction of social groups as field-based and relational—in contradistinction to the more usual Frankfurt School notion of social classes—and the formation of taste and doxa (Bourdieu 1985, Bourdieu 1998b, Bourdieu and Passeron 1990). Bourdieu frequently worked in collaborations, and a number of these texts are co-authored, or are compiled from individually attributed essays and interviews by Bourdieu and his research colleagues. The effect is of an ongoing, and expanding, intellectual conversation.

                      • Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984.

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                        Expands Bourdieu’s logic of culture and group formation by means of an examination of taste in the broad sense, and in the more restricted field of cultural production. Demonstrates how the “game” of culture is played out through struggles to legitimate one’s own (group) taste, and in that way to compete for control of the principles of legitimation.

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                        • Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Social Space and the Genesis of Groups.” Theory and Society 14.6 (1985): 723–744.

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                          Contrasts the sociological notion of “class on paper” with the lived experience of “practical groups” as a way both of critiquing Marxist thought and of explicating the “principles of vision and division” that organize society and establish the symbolic power relations as manifested in both the logic of the state and the practices of distinction associated with literature and culture.

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                          • Bourdieu, Pierre. Language and Symbolic Power. Translated by Gino Raymond and Matthew Adamson. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1991.

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                            A collection of essays that contribute to critical theory in their exposition of the operations of power in society, the distributive properties of capital, and the function of doxa in adapting individuals to their lived experience or generating resistance to the norms. Incorporates discussion of literary authors and the struggle in that domain to find legitimate ways of speaking/writing.

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                            • Bourdieu, Pierre. The Field of Cultural Production: Essays on Art and Literature. Edited by Randall Johnson. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.

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                              This compilation of essays includes maps of the field of cultural production, argues for a bifurcated field (split between market-oriented and autonomous modes) and, through case studies especially of 19th century French novelists and poets, analyses the social conditions for entry to the field, production and reception of its products, and the modes of capital that operate within the field.

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                              • Bourdieu, Pierre. The Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field. Translated by Susan Emanuel. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996.

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                                A portrait of the contemporary literary field, it includes a major study of Flaubert’s life and writings—historicizing the work of literary production and analyzing his social contexts and conditions. Outlines the struggle of writers against the forces of legitimation, and the battles between literary groups, as formative of the modern literary field, its dualist structure, relationship to the economic field, and its elaboration of artistic habitus and values.

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                                • Bourdieu, Pierre. On Television. Translated by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson. New York: New Press, 1998a.

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                                  In this text, Bourdieu departs somewhat from the field of cultural production to focus critically and theoretically on the mass media, its transformative effect on the sociopolitical world, and the transformative effect of the economic and symbolic capital afforded by the television industry on journalism itself.

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                                  • Bourdieu, Pierre. Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action. Translated by Randall Johnson. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1998b.

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                                    A collection of essays that exemplify Bourdieu’s relational philosophy of science, and dispositional theory of action, rehearsing and refining some of his earlier works (including Field of Cultural Production and Distinction), clarifying them for an Anglophone audience. A critical study of society, it doubles as a call for a more engaged sociology, one more capable of moving between the usual antinomies.

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                                    • Bourdieu, Pierre, with L. Boltanski, R. Castel, J. C. Chamboredon, and D. Schnapper. Photography: A Middle-Brow Art. Translated by Shaun Whiteside. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1990.

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                                      An analysis of photography based on extensive fieldwork, this multi-authored work also provides foundational concepts for Bourdieu’s later work on the field of cultural production, including principles of legitimacy, the structuring of distinction, and the use of taste and cultural practice to establish and confirm group (or class) membership.

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                                      • Bourdieu, Pierre, and Hans Haacke. Free Exchange. Translated by Randal Johnson. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995.

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                                        A conversation between a critical sociologist of culture and an artist who is also a political activist. Together they discuss the relations that obtain between the field of cultural production, the political field, and society more generally; as well as the conditions of entry to the creative field, the social conditions that afford cultural contributions, and the ethics of practice.

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                                        • Bourdieu, Pierre, and Jean-Claude Passeron. Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. 2d ed. Translated by Richard Nice. London: SAGE, 1990.

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                                          First published in 1970, this work outlines the foundational principles mobilized to produce “the truth” of fields and of social inequities, and legitimate the cultural arbitrary. It is an example of Bourdieu at his most convoluted, and is often identified as little more than a bleak account of social reproduction. But the analysis of these principles of reproduction gesture toward the modes of cultural resistance and transformation.

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                                          Key Concepts

                                          Bourdieu’s contribution to the broad field of social research is predicated on his key concepts—field, habitus, capital, doxa—and marked by his methodological approach: an activist sociology, characterized by reflexivity, and theory of practice. While it is necessary to separate these into individual categories for the purpose of discussion and analysis, it is important to bear in mind that each is intertwined with the others, and that they therefore operate relationally, rather than as discrete elements of an individual’s life, or of the structure of a social field. The habitus, for instance, is formulated at least in part by virtue of the field in which an agent claims a position, while that field is itself changed at least in part by virtue of the moves made by that agent. Doxa both fits agents to the field (when there is a good alignment) and mobilizes them to attempt transformation of the field (where the alignment is poor). Capital appears to be an objective value, but to a considerable extent it only operates effectively in particular fields—the reversed logic of the economy in the field of cultural production is an example of its contingency efficacy. In reading and applying Bourdieu’s methodology and critical engagement, it is important to bear in mind that his approach is always to show the conditions under which, and the contexts within which, social reality emerges. It is important also to apply the reflexive attitude necessary to break with the familiar ways of reading the world, and instead to identify what is actually there.

                                          Field Theory

                                          For Bourdieu, “field” refers to a largely autonomous social system in which individuals and institutions with shared interests, concerns, and characteristics both operate and compete. Each agent who participates in a field will agree, more or less, on the rules, rituals, conventions, and categories that obtain in, and constitute, that field. It is also, however, a space for conflict, with competition for position and rewards attached to particular positions and effective playing of the “game” of a field. This game—the field itself—exists as such only insofar as the field is occupied by agents whose habitus disposes them to “play” (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992). Field and habitus are therefore intrinsically interwoven and, in what he terms a “simple definition of field” (Bourdieu 2005), Bourdieu sets out the issues of position-taking and the relation of agents within a field to the relations of forces that constitute it. His is always a relational philosophy of field, rather than a structural one, and as such presents a view of social practice and organization that is dynamic. Savage and Silva 2013 make this point in their account of Bourdieu’s concept of field, comparing it with other conceptions of field, and arguing for the productive contributions of its openness to complexity and relationality. A number of scholars have put Bourdieu’s concept of field to work in their research practice. Bennett, et al. 1999 is a major field study of Australian cultural tastes, building on foundations laid by Bourdieu. Bennett again, with other colleagues (Bennett, et al. 2013), provides a convincing account of the transferability of field theory to a wide range of studies beyond the Euro-American standards. Bourdieu’s concept of field, though, has attracted some criticism (Bolin 2012, Buchholz 2016), primarily from more recent theorists who are engaging a world Bourdieu did not live to see.

                                          • Bennett, Tony, Michael Emmison, and John Frow. Accounting for Tastes: Australian Everyday Cultures. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

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                                            Begins with a Bourdieusian theoretical framework to examine taste and consumption. While the authors strongly critique and reframe aspects of Bourdieu’s critical and cultural theory, incorporating more fully the role of social networks/social capital in position-taking and the navigation of fields, the project demonstrates the rigor and efficacy of the underlying concepts in making sense of broad social questions.

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                                            • Bennett, Tony, John Frow, Ghassan Hage, and Greg Noble. “Antipodean Fields: Working with Bourdieu.” Journal of Sociology 49.2–3 (2013): 129–150.

                                              DOI: 10.1177/1440783313480929Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              An introduction to a special issue on Bourdieu studies, this paper discusses previous instances in which Bourdieusian concepts have been transported beyond their points of origin in 19th- and 20th-century French culture, and the transformations of those concepts effected by their relocation. Not so much an explication or critique of field, it draws together field studies in the Antipodean region, demonstrating the reach and the flexibility of this concept.

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                                              • Bolin, Göran. “The Forms of Value: Problems of Convertibility in Field Theory.” tripleC 10.1 (2012): 33–41.

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                                                While acknowledging the utility of Bourdieu’s concept of field, Bolan critiques what he identifies as an overemphasis on economic reasoning in analysis of field practices. Posits the need to reevaluate and qualify Bourdieu’s legacy, to account for (a) the existence for more than one field of power, and (b) the transferability of capital(s) between fields, particularly with regard to the digital domain, mass culture, and large-scale production of cultural product.

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                                                • Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Political Field, the Social Science Field, and the Journalistic Field.” In Bourdieu and the Journalistic Field. Edited by R. Benson and É. Neveu, 29–47. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2005.

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                                                  Combines a lesson on the concept of field with an explication of field analysis. Examines the internal and external relations that obtain within and between the fields of government, journalism, and the academy, and the difference between “spontaneous” sociology and reflexive practice in reading and traversing field. Outlines the logic of the cultural field, and ways of reading art and literature.

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                                                  • Bourdieu, Pierre, and Loïc Wacquant. An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.

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                                                    This collection of essays by, and conversations between, Bourdieu and Wacquant draws together accounts of field theory from a range of Bourdieu’s other publications, and demonstrates both the reliance of field and habitus on one another, and the dynamic nature of field, through the metaphor of “the game.” Locates field study within Bourdieu’s relational philosophy and reflexive epistemology.

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                                                    • Buchholz, Larissa. “What is a Global Field? Rethinking Bourdieu’s Field Theory beyond the Nation-State.” Sociological Review Monographs 64.2 (2016): 31–60.

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                                                      One of a number of recent publications evaluating the capacity of social and critical theory to address the contemporary global environment, this article focuses on Bourdieu’s concept of field, and recommends a combination of analogy and autonomy as analytical tools to upgrade field theory.

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                                                      • Savage, Mike, and Elizabeth Silva. “Field Analysis in Cultural Sociology.” Cultural Sociology 7.2 (2013): 111–126.

                                                        DOI: 10.1177/1749975512473992Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        This introduction to a special issue of Cultural Sociology focuses on the use of the concept of field as a methodological tool. Provides a careful overview of Bourdieu’s logic of field in relation to that of other researchers. Offers approaches that extend Bourdieu’s work, allowing investigations of creative work that does not fit the “highbrow” categories, of globalized and multinational practices, and of the material of culture.

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                                                        Habitus

                                                        Bourdieu draws from earlier scholars, particularly Marcel Mauss and Erwin Panoksky, to build his concept of habitus. A major contribution provided by habitus is that it offers an explanation for practices that breaks with the grand narratives of, say, Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, or existentialism, locating these explanations instead in a combination of personal and sociocultural contexts (Bourdieu 1990). We are, that is to say, constructed by personal dispositions, the effects of personal history, and our rehearsed responses to various situations (see also Bourdieu 1984, cited under Primary Texts). This provides the embodied sets of tendencies that engender in individuals the durable dispositions to perform in the contexts in which they are immersed. Habitus is pre-reflective, and as such partially unconscious; individuals regard their tastes and dispositions as natural properties of the self, rather than a product of their personal history (Bourdieu 1977). They behave, Bourdieu observes, like “fish in water”: entirely at home in a particular context, and therefore not driven to seek change (Bourdieu 2000). It is this notion of habitus that leads some critics to argue that Bourdieu is more a theorist of reproduction than of transformation (e.g., Certeau 1984), or that he inadequately recognizes the self-awareness and reflexive potential of habitus (McNay 1999, Sweetman 2009). But, since habitus manifests in relation to field—where a field is “the game itself,” habitus is “a feel for the game” (see also Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992 under Field Theory)—as long as agents are comfortably aligned to the field in which they perform, they are unlikely to shift to a more conscious and reflexive perspective; however, where there is a mismatch between the habitus and the field, and the player is no longer well aligned to the rules and values of the game, the discomfort this engenders often acts as an incentive to engage reflexively, and potentially trigger resistance to and transformation of that field (see also Bourdieu 1998b, under Primary Texts). Although Bourdieu frequently acknowledges the potential of habitus to change, his equally frequent identification of it as durable and unitary has sparked a number of recent studies of the alterity and multiplicity of the structure (Gartman 2013, Lahire 2011, Noble 2013). The continued importance of the concept is signaled by the publication of a special section of Sociological Review (Silva 2016), where contributors explore the history and future of the concept, and its deployment across the academic field.

                                                        • Bourdieu, Pierre. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

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                                                          A text on sociological practice that is equally a text on the habitus, Outline draws on Bourdieu’s early work in Algeria to explicate the order of knowledge, and structuring structures, that shape a group’s or an individual’s life experience. Explicates the strategies deployed by marginalized groups, and the modes of domination they must negotiate.

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                                                          • Bourdieu, Pierre. The Logic of Practice. Translated by Richard Nice. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1990.

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                                                            Primarily an exposition of theory of practice, this text critically examines the antinomies of objectivism and subjectivism, consciousness and unconsciousness, individual and society. Introduces the habitus as that which allows, especially, marginalized agents to adjust themselves to everyday contexts and to accommodate potential futures. Analyzes cultural contexts and the strategies adopted as “practical logics” by those agents, and argues for generative resistance.

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                                                            • Bourdieu, Pierre. Pascalian Meditations. Translated by Richard Nice. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000.

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                                                              A critical synthesis of scholarly reason and the scholarly habitus, this work identifies Bourdieu’s debt to Pascal, extends his concepts of practice, and contributes to critical theory by identifying the flaws in scholarly reasoning that contaminate research epistemology, methodology, and findings.

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                                                              • Certeau, Michel de. The Practice of Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

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                                                                In a close reading of (particularly) the early work on the Kablyle and Béarn communities, chapters 4 and 5 offer a sharp critique of what Certeau identifies as a degree of inflexibility in Bourdieu’s analysis, and a tendency to fetishize the concept of habitus, or overdetermine it in terms of class. Most critically, he argues that Bourdieu’s theories inadequately account for practice because of their focus on conceptual structures.

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                                                                • Gartman, David. Culture, Class, and Critical Theory: Between Bourdieu and the Frankfurt School. New York: Routledge, 2013.

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                                                                  Contrasts the critical frameworks offered by Bourdieu and Adorno, with particular reference to class inequality. Examines their key concepts in light of the strategies deployed by design industries, and argues that while each theorist offers valuable working principles, neither fully accounts for contemporary practices.

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                                                                  • Lahire, Bernard. The Plural Actor. Translated by David Fernbach. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2011.

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                                                                    A major contribution to contemporary Bourdieu studies that offers a strong critique of what the author sees as a tendency to generalize from concepts to actuality. Acknowledging the imbrication of habitus within field, Lahire calls for research that traces individuals across multiple fields to determine the fluidity and mutability of habitus.

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                                                                    • McNay, Lois. “Gender, Habitus and the Field: Pierre Bourdieu and the Limits of Reflexivity.” Theory, Culture & Society 16.1 (1999): 95–117.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1177/026327699016001007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Argues that the concept of habitus is productive for gender-oriented analyses of identity and embodiment and acknowledges it as a generative rather than a determining construct, but considers that Bourdieu inadequately articulates the material differences between male and female subject positions and insufficiently builds into his notion of habitus an understanding of gender fluidity and multiplicity.

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                                                                      • Noble, G. “‘It Is Home but It Is Not Home’: Habitus, Field and the Migrant.” Journal of Sociology 49.2–3 (2013): 341–356.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/1440783313481532Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        Beginning with an account of the changes in hexis manifested by a public speaker on shifting from English to his native Arabic, this paper argues against an unproblematic adoption of Bourdieu’s writings on the habitus. Though the author seems to offer a rather reductive reading of Bourdieu’s concept, the paper includes a useful engagement with embodiment, language, and transnational habitus.

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                                                                        • Silva, Elizabeth, ed. “Special Section: Habitus: Beyond Sociology.” Sociological Review 64.1 (February 2016): 73–183.

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                                                                          A special section of this journal, it includes contributions from recognized Bourdieu scholars, including Wacquant, Silva, and Darmon. Papers mobilize the concept of habitus within particular intellectual frameworks, addressing ethnography, fieldwork, social mobility, and gender studies. Provides deep background to the term “habitus,” and its use/s across the centuries, as well as Bourdieu’s reliance on Leibniz and Husserl to develop the concept.

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                                                                          • Sweetman, P. “Revealing Habitus, Illuminating Practice: Bourdieu, Photography and Visual Methods.” Sociological Review 57.3 (2009): 491–511.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-954X.2009.01851.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Establishes the growing importance of visual culture as a mode of critical cultural research, and argues for the potential of visual practice to inform a reflexive habitus. Addresses Bourdieu’s own visual research: photography as both a mode of note-taking and a mode of seeing the subject of investigation. Identifies in this practice a way of moving beyond the axioms of habitus to a more engaged understanding.

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                                                                            Capital

                                                                            “Capital” is a term that runs throughout Bourdieu’s work, a tendency that may explain the many commentators who have categorized him as a Marxist scholar (Beasley-Murray 2000). Certainly he looks to capital as a mobilizing force in society and for individuals, defines it as “embodied labour” (Bourdieu 1986), and identifies the economic mode as the bedrock for all other forms of capital. There are, however, fields of practice and logics of value that reject the acquisition of financial wealth. A prime example is the field of cultural production (Bourdieu 1983, Swedburg 2011; see also Bourdieu 1996, under Primary Texts), which reverses the primacy of financial gain—an issue Scott Lash develops in his critical analysis of the cultural economy (Lash 1993). Cultural capital is embodied capital: possession of rare skills and knowledges, markers of distinction, and institutionalized “assets” such as titles. It is a more field-specific capital than the economic form because its value depends on other members of the social group identifying it as such. It is also, as demonstrated by papers in Bennett and Silva 2011, both more complex and more problematic than the other forms. Social capital is, as the name implies, the networks possessed by an individual: membership of social, familial, and professional groups, and the credentials, or consecration, bestowed by virtue of those relationships. All forms of capital are more or less convertible into others—indeed, the point of capital acquisition is to convert it into another form that extends the agent’s position, comfort, or utility. Scholars—including Bourdieu—have extended the original three forms of capital into many more: Bourdieu and Wacquant, for example, discuss intellectual capital (see Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992, under Field Theory), and terms like natural capital, religious capital, infrastructural capital, political capital, and artistic capital appear in the scholarly, political, and popular discourse. These are, for the most part, merely variants of the three main forms, but Bourdieu also identifies an important, and distinctly different, fourth form: symbolic capital. This, defined as consecration (see also Bourdieu 1993, under Primary Texts), or prestige (Bourdieu 1977, under Habitus), is capital that is “mis-recognised” as such (Bourdieu 1990, under Habitus), because its status as symbolic power is masked and accepted as legitimate capital (Bourdieu 1984, under Primary Texts).

                                                                            • Beasley-Murray, Jon. “Value and Capital in Bourdieu and Marx.” In Pierre Bourdieu: Fieldwork in Culture. Edited by Nicholas Brown and Imre Szeman, 100–119. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000.

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                                                                              A critical analysis of Bourdieu’s theories of capital read against Marx and Marxists. Acknowledge Bourdieu’s “conventional” use of Marx’s terminology, but argues that Bourdieu is not well aligned to Marxist theory but, by introducing the concept of cultural capital, has unsettled both economic and aesthetic theories.

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                                                                              • Bennett, T., and E. Silva, eds. Special Issue: Cultural Capital: Histories, Limits, Prospects. Poetics 39.6 (2011): 427–443.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1016/j.poetic.2011.09.008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Critically outlining the concept and trajectory of cultural capital, the editors observe a number of flaws that, they argue, are being corrected by contemporary scholars. Papers addressing the topic from the perspective of gender relations, cultural product, aesthetics, and education are presented by contributors such as Vincent Dubois, Virgilio Pereira, Mike Savage, and Brigitte LeRoux.

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                                                                                • Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Field of Cultural Production, or: The Economic World Reversed.” Poetics 12.4–5 (1983): 311–356.

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                                                                                  Argues for an understanding of the literary field as characterized by an inverse relationship to economic capital. Identifies a specific literary capital as what is sought by agents: the reward for success being literary prestige, not money. Offers an analysis of the 19th-century French literary field, the forces and competition operating in that space, and the (reversed) economic logic that drove practice.

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                                                                                  • Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Forms of Capital.” In Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. Edited by John G. Richardson, 241–258. Translated by Richard Nice. New York: Greenwood, 1986.

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                                                                                    Locates capital at the heart of the social world while criticizing mainstream economics as having been captured by capitalism. Posits instead an economy of practices, and outlines the major forms of capital he identifies as central to social engagement and the operations of fields.

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                                                                                    • Lash, Scott. “Pierre Bourdieu: Cultural Economy and Social Change.” In Bourdieu: Critical Perspectives. Edited by C. Calhoun, E. Lipuma, and M. Postone, 193–211. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 1993.

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                                                                                      Applies Bourdieu’s notion of capital, and especially the reversal of economic logic in the creative domain, to an extension of understanding the bifurcated structure of the cultural field. Critiques Bourdieu’s “idealism,” but compares his model positively with that of Althusser.

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                                                                                      • Swedburg, Richard. “The Economic Sociologies of Pierre Bourdieu.” Cultural Sociology 5.1 (2011): 67–82.

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                                                                                        A critical reading of Bourdieu’s various works on economic issues; argues that he introduces to the field a number of economic sociologies, and that his work cannot be reduced to a unitary notion of capital. Includes an account of an unpublished manuscript produced by Bourdieu and colleagues for a study on sociology of credit.

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                                                                                        Field of Cultural Production

                                                                                        The field of cultural production is sufficiently different from other social fields, and attracts sufficient attention from Bourdieu and from subsequent scholars, to require a section of its own in this bibliography. Bourdieu’s development of knowledge about the structure, rules, values, and logic of this field are developed throughout his oeuvre, with Rules of Art (Bourdieu 1996, cited under Primary Texts) being the earliest book-length publication that focused on the topic. Two early essays, originally published in French in 1977 and 1980 (Bourdieu 1980, Bourdieu 1993) predate that book, and describe the field as “a universe of belief,” one that functions according to a charismatic ideology that demands a disavowal of economic profit. In Photography (Bourdieu, et al. 1990, under Primary Texts), The Love of Art (Bourdieu, et al. 1991) and Field of Cultural Production (Bourdieu 1993, under Primary Texts), he diagrammed the field from several perspectives, showing how the various modes of capital structure the positions available within the field, and applying similar rules to literature, the plastic and performing arts, and the consecrated site of the museum. These diagrams present a field in which the agents are “the dominated of the dominant” because they lack economic capital; and in which the field itself is bifurcated, split between autonomous (avant-garde, elite) art, and heteronomous art (art produced for a market). The field as a whole, though, is—Bourdieu argues in Rules of Art—”a profession which is not really one,” because it is insufficiently coded, insufficiently defined, and almost no one can exclusively participate in it because almost no one can make their living from their engagement. What is missing in this account, some contemporary critics argue (Bennett 2005, Frow 1987, Myers 2013), is a more nuanced account of how agents in the field emerge and operate, or the variety of positions available in the field that are barely acknowledged by Bourdieu’s account. They identify, for example, the amateurs, the community artists, the professional creatives, and indigenous artists (e.g., designers and architects), all of whom are committed to the production of cultural work and cultural value without necessarily committing to the universe of belief. Other scholars, though, have applied Bourdieu’s principles of the field to productive analyses of the contemporary context, both in the traditional “artistic” domains (Grenfell and Hardy 2007, Prior 2011) and in the professional domains (Lipstadt 2003).

                                                                                        • Bennett, Tony. “The Historical Universal: The Role of Cultural Value in the Historical Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu.” British Journal of Sociology 56.1 (2005): 141–164.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2005.00051.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          A critical overview of Bourdieu’s work on the creative field, which suggests his principles are informed by “Darwinian” conceptions of historical struggles. Engages Bourdieu’s application of the concept of anamnesis, but argues against Bourdieu’s representation of historical consistency.

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                                                                                          • Bourdieu, Pierre. “The Production of Belief: Contributions to an Economy of Symbolic Goods.” Media, Culture and Society 2.3 (1980): 261–293.

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                                                                                            Originally published in 1977 in Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, the journal Bourdieu established, this essay addresses the complex relationship between creative producer and the gatekeeper/distributor: the publisher or curator who provides access and a platform. Analyzes the market factors, where maker and gatekeeper share a mutual disavowal of economic interest, while being committed to producing both the object and a market for that object.

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                                                                                            • Bourdieu, Pierre. “But Who Created the Creators?” In Sociology in Question. By Pierre Bourdieu, 139–148. London: SAGE, 1993.

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                                                                                              An early essay in which Bourdieu discusses the belief systems in the field of cultural production, and the problems associated with conducting a sociology of the arts. Simultaneously criticizes the then-contemporary sociologies of art and literary theory as reductive, and as failing to account for production as well as consumption.

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                                                                                              • Bourdieu, Pierre, Alain Darbel, and Dominique Schnapper. The Love of Art: European Art Museums and Their Public. Translated by Caroline Beattie and Nick Merriman. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                The product of research designed to inform French government policy, this volume rehearses Bourdieu’s argument about the extent to which the domain of art operates as a universe of belief, and identifies art museums as the “churches,” or consecrated sites, for art. Reporting on various surveys conducted with museum visitors, Bourdieu and his colleagues demonstrate the principles of vision and division that reinforce visitors’ existing class or social identity.

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                                                                                                • Frow, John. “Accounting for Tastes: Some Problems in Bourdieu’s Sociology of Culture.” Cultural Studies 1.1 (1987): 59–73.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1080/09502388700490041Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  An early critical engagement with Bourdieu’s writings on the field of cultural production, arguing that when it comes to taste and aesthetics, Bourdieu falls into essentialism, and that he fails to deploy his own concept of relational philosophy and critical practice when he turns his attention to “mass” or popular culture and class-related issues of cultural competence.

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                                                                                                  • Grenfell, Michael, and Cheryl Hardy. Art Rules: Pierre Bourdieu and the Visual Arts. Oxford: Berg, 2007.

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                                                                                                    A comprehensive overview of Bourdieu’s work on the field of cultural production, and particularly the domain of visual art. Reevaluates the structure and function of the field in the 21st century, and the relationship between field structure and the possibilities for creative practice.

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                                                                                                    • Lipstadt, Hélène. “Can ‘Art Professions’ be Bourdieuean Fields of Cultural Production? The Case of the Architecture Competition.” Cultural Studies 17.3–4 (2003): 390–418.

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                                                                                                      Tests out the notion of field within a professional domain that does not participate in the art field’s logic of disinterest and autonomy. Offers a history of architecture competitions, and applies Bourdieu’s key concepts to the operations of this practice to conclude that his principles of the cultural field are sufficiently flexible and robust to accommodate professional creatives.

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                                                                                                      • Myers, Fred. “Disturbances in the Field: Exhibiting Aboriginal Art in the US.” Journal of Sociology 49.2–3 (2013): 151–172.

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                                                                                                        Considers the exhibition of indigenous art under the field logic presented by Bourdieu, and examines the extent to which that logic can apply across national and cultural boundaries. Identifies the discursive processes put to work in exhibitions of indigenous art to conform them to the field, and argues that Bourdieu’s logic rests on a single hierarchy that does not accommodate indigenous work.

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                                                                                                        • Prior, Nick. “Critique and Renewal in the Sociology of Music: Bourdieu and Beyond.” Cultural Sociology 5.1 (2011): 121–138.

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                                                                                                          Applies Bourdieu’s key concepts to a specific aspect of the cultural field, and critically evaluates the position of this work in socio-musical studies. Setting Bourdieu’s analyses in the broader context of sociologies of culture by thinkers such as Becker or Wolff, Prior argues that Bourdieu’s account overemphasizes legitimate culture and fails to address popular tastes. Notes, though, that Bourdieu-heavy and Bourdieu-lite studies can simplify the more complex nature of his critical theory in this respect.

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                                                                                                          Doxa

                                                                                                          The term “doxa,” which emerges throughout Bourdieu’s oeuvre, originates with the ancient Greeks: Plato, who defines it negatively as the opponent of knowledge; and Aristotle, who defines it more positively as the beginnings of knowledge. Bourdieu comes to it in no small part through the work of Husserl, for whom doxa is the basic condition of engagement with the world: experiential rather than epistemic; a naïve believing or sens pratique rather than an evidence-based knowledge. Bourdieu tends to the Platonic view, using doxa to denote that which is taken for granted, or misrecognized, in any cultural context; that which is unsayable because it need not be said. It is this, for Bourdieu, that tends to keep people adjusted to their social location, even when their situation leads to their being disadvantaged. His bleak view of the effects of doxa is evident in a number of his texts, including Bourdieu 2001 and Bourdieu and Eagleton 1994. However, he also acknowledges the possibility of doxa developing into reflexivity in those cases where a profound misfit between habitus and field can initiate processes of resistance (Bourdieu 1988, Moi 1991). While a number of studies have found Bourdieu’s concept of doxa productive (Krais 1993, Stabile and Morooka 2003, Morrin 2016), other scholars take a more critical view, arguing that Bourdieu’s analysis is a limited reading of Husserl (Myles 2004), or an insufficient account of the relationship between habitus, field, and utterance (Butler 1999).

                                                                                                          • Bourdieu, Pierre. Homo Academicus. Translated by Peter Collier. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988.

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                                                                                                            The final chapters of this book offer a case study for ways in which doxa can be interrupted by a mismatch between habitus and field. Tracing the changes in higher education in the mid-20th century, he identifies a “crisis of succession” that unsettled the doxic order and resulted in a rejection of institutional limits and a transformation of the field.

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                                                                                                            • Bourdieu, Pierre. Masculine Domination. Translated by Richard Nice. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                              A case study on gender politics, where Bourdieu identifies doxa as a soft power that maintains the patterns of gendered power imbalances by ensuring that individual agents internalize its “truths,” and manifest them in bodily performances of dominance or submission. Describes the principle of the paradox of doxa as the embodied expression of Husserl’s “natural attitude,” or sens pratique.

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                                                                                                              • Bourdieu, Pierre, and Terry Eagleton. “Doxa and Common Life: An Interview.” In Mapping Ideology. Edited by Slavoj Zizek, 265–277. London: Verso, 1994.

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                                                                                                                In conversation with Eagleton, Bourdieu sets out the concept of doxa he applies—one that seeks to account for the extent to which oppressed groups and individuals seem to adjust themselves to the social limits they face. Firmly distinguishes doxa from ideology.

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                                                                                                                • Butler, Judith. “Performativity’s Social Magic.” In Bourdieu: A Critical Reader. Edited by Richard Shusterman, 113–128. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.

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                                                                                                                  Critically engages Bourdieu’s argument about habitus and doxa, and particularly the operation of the body and the import of performative utterances in the formation of individual agency.

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                                                                                                                  • Krais, Beate. “Gender and Symbolic Violence: Female Oppression in the Light of Pierre Bourdieu’s Theory of Social Action.” In Bourdieu: Critical Perspectives. Edited by Craig Calhoun, Edward LiPuma, and Moishe Postone, 156–176. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

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                                                                                                                    A case study of gender relations, particularly in terms of the workplace, the gendered division of labor, and women’s work in the private and public domains. Identifies the impact of the doxic order in authorized symbolic violence.

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                                                                                                                    • Moi, Toril. “Appropriating Bourdieu: Feminist Theory and Pierre Bourdieu’s Sociology of Culture.” New Literary History 22.4 (1991): 1017–1049.

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                                                                                                                      This essay, written when Bourdieu was still relatively unknown to many Anglophone scholars, argues for the affordances of his concepts for a feminist agenda; and particularly his linking of crisis with the transformation of doxic realities. While criticizing his analyses of gender as partial and limited, the essay identifies his work as productive for a feminist reading of texts and cultures.

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                                                                                                                      • Morrin, Kirsty. “Unresolved Reflections: Bourdieu, Haunting and Struggling with Ghosts.” In Bourdieu: The Next Generation: The Development of Bourdieu’s Intellectual Heritage in Contemporary UK Sociology. Edited by Jenny Thatcher, Nicola Ingram, Ciaran Burke, and Jessie Abrahams, 123–139. Milton Park, UK: Routledge, 2016.

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                                                                                                                        Case study of a working-class UK community, where the author applies Bourdieu’ s notion of doxa to analyze the deficit discourse applied to underprivileged or oppressed social groups.

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                                                                                                                        • Myles, John. “From Doxa to Experience: Issues in Bourdieu’s Adoption of Husserlian Phenomenology.” Theory, Culture and Society 21.2 (2004): 91–107.

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                                                                                                                          Provides a useful overview of Bourdieu’s deployment of the notion of doxa across his earlier works, as well as an account of Husserl’s phenomenological approach to doxa. Critiques what he identifies as Bourdieu’s insistence on a relationship of polarity between doxa and reflexivity, or his failure to countenance an embodied rationality.

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                                                                                                                          • Stabile, Carol A., and Junya Morooka. “Between Two Evils, I Refuse to Choose the Lesser.” Cultural Studies 17.3–4 (2003): 326–348.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/0950238032000083845Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            Unlike many studies that deploy Bourdieu’s logic of doxa to examine those without privilege, this essay examines the “doxosophers”—those who set public opinion and inform government policy without interrupting the doxic view of the world or applying reflexive rigor to their public commentary—in a call to intellectuals to resist the easy or the familiar in rendering their accounts of social reality.

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                                                                                                                            Reflexive Knowledge and Practice

                                                                                                                            While concepts provide the tool kit Bourdieu applied in his research, tools are only useful when they are put to work to accomplish results, and this raises two connected points: the role of practice, and the importance of reflexivity. Bourdieu often treats them as discrete issues, with practice presented as an aspect of the habitus, and reflexivity a conscious and considered application of critical thought to the self. Where practice is, thus, a kind of tacit knowledge—internalized, historicized, and manifested in an agent’s approaches to the field in which they operate (Schirato and Webb 2002; see also Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992, under Field Theory)—reflexivity is what allows the individual to think beyond the familiar constructs of thought (Wacquant 2008). While for the most part Bourdieu preserves the differences between practice and reflexivity, there are points in his work where he identifies a degree of overlap: in Weight of the World (Bourdieu, et al. 1999), for example, where he and his team endeavored to engage in practice (conversations with underprivileged people) while adopting a scientific reflexivity to better account for the stories they were told. Kenway and McLeod 2004 report positively on their own testing out of this approach to research into a marginalized social group. Drawing on this construct, Wacquant conducts a workshop on the concept of a more unified social theory, one that provides points of contact across the usual antinomies (Wacquant 1989), and Webb argues for a reflexivity in and as practice for creative writing academics (Webb 2012). Jon Dean (Dean 2017) sets out a comprehensive guide to reflexivity.

                                                                                                                            • Bourdieu, P., et al. The Weight of the World: Social Suffering in Contemporary Society. Translated by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

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                                                                                                                              A report on one of Bourdieu’s last major empirical studies, this connection of annotated records of conversations with underprivileged people in Paris, punctuated by critical commentary, is a powerful representation of human suffering and individual perspectives on the place of an agent within the social structure. An attempt to model empathic connection without the loss of scientific rigor.

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                                                                                                                              • Dean, Jon. Doing Reflexivity: An Introduction. Bristol: Policy Press, 2017.

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                                                                                                                                Provides a theoretical and conceptual explication of reflexivity, before moving to case studies and concrete example of how to “do” reflexivity. While this is presented as a textbook for research students, it builds on Bourdieu’s work and provides valuable insights into the practical qualities of the reflexive mode.

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                                                                                                                                • Kenway, Jane, and Julie McLeod. “Bourdieu’s Reflexive Sociology and ‘Spaces of Points of View’: Whose Reflexivity, Which Perspective?” British Journal of Sociology of Education 25.4 (September 2004): 525–544.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1080/0142569042000236998Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Interrogates Bourdieu’s key “reflexivity” texts through the perspective of feminist and postcolonial studies, along with offering critical evaluations of the perspectives of previous reviewers of Bourdieu’s research methods. Concludes with a report of a project conducted by the authors, where they attempted to exploit Bourdieu’s engaged reflexivity in order to elucidate the condition of marginalized young women.

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                                                                                                                                  • Schirato, Tony, and Jen Webb. “Bourdieu’s Notion of Reflexive Knowledge.” Social Semiotics 12.3 (2002): 255–268.

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                                                                                                                                    Outlines the twin logics of agency Bourdieu identifies in practical and reflexive knowledges, while locating Bourdieu’s notion of reflexivity in an historical intellectual context. Argues for a blending of the tools of practice with reflexive engagement.

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                                                                                                                                    • Wacquant, Loïc. “Towards a Reflexive Sociology: A Workshop with Pierre Bourdieu.” Sociological Theory 7 (1989): 26–63.

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                                                                                                                                      Presents an outline of Bourdieu’s oeuvre for workshop participants (and later readers), and then moves to a conversation between himself and Bourdieu, interrogating his mentor on questions of practice and approaches to constructing the methodological space. More than an engaging primer on Bourdieu studies, it draws together many of the threads of the complex issue of reflexivity.

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                                                                                                                                      • Wacquant, Loïc. “Pierre Bourdieu.” In Key Sociological Thinkers. 2d ed. Edited by Rob Stones, 261–277. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                        This essay by a student and collaborator of Bourdieu identifies the key structure of Bourdieu’s analyses as “a science of human practice,” and he explicates that science, and its various modes of emergence, across the course of this essay. Offers an astute and concise overview of his mentor’s life’s work, particularly his contributions to, and practice in, reflexive critical theory.

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                                                                                                                                        • Webb, Jen. “The Logic of Practice? Art, the Academy, and Fish out of Water.” In Special Issue: Beyond Practice-Led Research. Edited by Scott Brook and Paul Magee. TEXT 14 (2012).

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                                                                                                                                          Builds from Bourdieu’s key concepts, especially reflexive practice, to assess the difficult relationship between the field of literary production and the academic field where many creative practitioners make their living. Posits ways in which artist-academics can both straddle the two fields and begin a transformation of the academic field.

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                                                                                                                                          Bourdieu and the Literary Field

                                                                                                                                          Bourdieu is known as a philosopher, anthropologist, ethnographer, and sociologist, but though he frequently returns to authors, and to the field of literary production, he is not identified as a literary scholar. His contributions are less in the meaning-making potential of literary texts than in making meanings of the field in which they are produced and circulate (Bourdieu 1988; see also Bourdieu 1993, under Primary Texts, and Bourdieu 1996, under Primary Texts). He did, however, have a lifelong interest in literature—Ahearne and Speller 2012 notes that as a child he imagined himself becoming a second Balzac—and in addition to frequent references to literature, he also published papers on the field. His focus was on 19th-century French literature, but he also maintained connections with 20th century writers—his conversation with Günter Grass is an example of this interest (Grass and Bourdieu 2002). His perspectives have been strongly criticized by Jacques Rancière, whose account of the field and of how to read a novelist like Flaubert differs sharply from Bourdieu’s account (Rancière 2004). However, Bourdieu’s analysis of aesthetics and of literary field, and his arguments about best practice in analysis, has been productively taken up by literary and critical scholars. Speller 2011 is the first major book-length contribution on the topic. Others approach his construct of the field from the position of critical and cultural studies: Anna Boschetti argues that Bourdieu’s accounts of the field are less about literary theory and more about critical social theory (Boschetti 2006); Bernard Lahire addresses the problem of labor and income for writers (Lahire 2010); Jacques Dubois applies Bourdieu’s approach to an analysis of French literary history (Dubois 2000); and Michel Hockx identifies the utility of Bourdieu’s project to investigations of literary culture in China (Hockx 2011).

                                                                                                                                          • Ahearne, J., and J. Speller. “Introduction: Bourdieu and the Literary Field.” Paragraph 35.1 (2012): 1–9.

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                                                                                                                                            Contextualizes the contentious relationship between Bourdieu and the academic literary field. While acknowledging the reductive potential of sociologies of literature, the authors observe that his attention was less the social insights provided by literature than the affectual connection literary works can offer.

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                                                                                                                                            • Boschetti, Anna. “Bourdieu’s Work on Literature: Contexts, Stakes and Perspectives.” Theory, Culture & Society 23 (2006): 135–155.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/0263276406069779Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Explicates Bourdieu’s focus on literature with reference to the 20th-century French intellectual tradition, and the association between philosophy and literature. Argues that Bourdieu’s contribution is a rejection of the charismatic account of the author in favor of a sociological analysis.

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                                                                                                                                              • Bourdieu, Pierre. “Flaubert’s Point of View.” Translated by Priscilla Parkhurst Ferguson. Critical Inquiry 14.3 (1988): 539–562.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/448455Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Rejects the convention of analyzing creative works without reference to the contexts of their production and circulation, while simultaneously rejecting the “man of genius” approach to literary analysis. Uses this foundation to read Flaubert within and against the social, economic, and political context in which he practiced his art, and within the literary networks in which he participated.

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                                                                                                                                                • Dubois, Jacques. “Pierre Bourdieu and Literature.” SubStance 23.3 (2000): 84–102.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1353/sub.2000.0028Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Discusses Bourdieu’s contribution to literary scholarship, and identifies it as a new way of reading literature. Argues that Bourdieu’s literary sociology depends on his principles of vision and division in the making of the social world, and that—through readings of Flaubert and Zola—it is possible to see these principles at work. Puts Bourdieu into practice in an analysis of French literary history.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Grass, Günter, and Pierre Bourdieu. “The ‘Progressive’ Restoration.” New Left Review 14 (2002): 63–77.

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                                                                                                                                                    A conversation held in 1999 between political activists operating in two distinct, yet related, domains: literary and sociocritical production. Both discuss the importance of stories in bringing the harshness of history into felt experience, in presenting and challenging the lies of politics, and in providing an alternative perspective on the social domain.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Hockx, Michel. “The Literary Field and the Field Of Power: The Case of Modern China.” Paragraph 35.1 (2011): 49–65.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.3366/para.2012.0041Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Articulates the difficulties in translating theory and method between very different cultural contexts, but observes the uptake of Bourdieu as a literary theorist, by Chinese scholars, from the 1990s. The impact has been a reevaluation of the doxa of Chinese literature, and locally a strengthened analysis of the field of literary production.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Lahire, Bernard. “The Double Life of Writers.” Translated by Gwendolyn Wells. New Literary History 41.2 (2010): 443–465.

                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1353/nlh.2010.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                        Lahire reads through the work of Christophe Charle to argue for a better analysis of the impact of labor conditions on the literary field, and to propose a reevaluation of Bourdieu’s account, one that recognizes that the literary field is a partial field only, occupied in a contingent manner by its agents.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Rancière, Jacques. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. Translated by Gabriel Rockhill. London: Continuum, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                          A section of the original French-language version, this book includes an afterword by Slavoj Zizek and an interview with Gabriel Rockhill, where Rancière draws a sharp distinction between his and Bourdieu’s accounts of aesthetics. Rancière characterizes Bourdieu’s cultural sociology as one that depends on “mastery” over those who are the subjects of a study. Offers a reading of Flaubert that focuses on “literary equality” rather than on field operations.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Speller, John. Bourdieu and Literature. Cambridge, UK: Open Book, 2011.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0027Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            A comprehensive and lucid overview of Bourdieu’s work on literary culture and the literary field; Speller extends the usual coverages by including accounts of applications of Bourdieu’s method beyond France or Europe, as well as chapters on both literary politics and literary policy. Possibly reflecting Bourdieu’s death before the emergence of social media, Speller’s account does not attempt to incorporate this mode of literary production.

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                                                                                                                                                            Resources, Biographies, and Bibliographies

                                                                                                                                                            Given the impact Bourdieu has had on the literary/critical world, it is surprising that there are so few resource materials on him, or information about his personal and social life. Encyclopedias—including generalist ones such as his Wikipedia entry—provide only the bare-bones facts of his life, and, in the absence of an authorized or properly researched biography, the facts provided in various public records are sometimes inaccurate or contradictory. There is also a paucity of resources on his work, such as bibliographies or listservs. Considering the enormous body of secondary literature, it seems unfortunate that there are so few sites that collate and critically address this literature. However, in the past decade a number of special issues of journals focused on Bourdieu’s legacy, or collections of essays by Bourdieu scholars, have gone some way to fill this gap.

                                                                                                                                                            Biographical Works

                                                                                                                                                            Bourdieu consistently rejected autobiographical or biographical accounts of his life, insisting instead that the focus should be on his professional identity and work. There is, therefore, a very real paucity of quality biographical accounts. Some summary statements appear in the obituaries that followed his death: see, for example, Haacke 2002 and Calhoun and Wacquant 2002. Other writers include biographical sections in their broader accounts of Bourdieu’s contribution; Craig Calhoun, for example, uses biographical detail in his entry on Bourdieu in the Blackwell Companion (Calhoun 2003). Michael Grenfell includes a biographical section in his Key Concepts (Grenfell 2014) and in his Agent Provocateur (Grenfell 2004, under General Overviews). Reed-Danahay’s Locating Bourdieu (Reed-Danahay 2005, under General Overviews) draws together threads of his autobiographical writings to form something of a picture of the man. But perhaps the most expansive story of his life is presented by Bourdieu himself, in the documentary produced in the final months of his life (Carles, et al. 2001) and in his Sketch for a Self-Analysis (Bourdieu 2007), which, though he insists is “not an autobiography,” provides details and insights into his family of origin, and the formation of his habitus.

                                                                                                                                                            • Bourdieu, Pierre. Sketch for a Self-analysis. Translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                              In this work, Bourdieu turns his analytical tools and his critical gaze on himself, in a project to demonstrate sociological reflexivity. Though it incorporates autobiographical elements, he insists that it is not an autobiography, and that such personal or familial facts as are incorporated are there purely to demonstrate the constitution and operation of a habitus over the course of a lifetime committed to research and critical social action.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Calhoun, Craig. “Pierre Bourdieu.” In The Blackwell Companion to Major Contemporary Social Theorists. Edited by George Ritzer, 274–309. Malden, MA, and Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405105958.2003.00014.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                In this account of Bourdieu’s professional life and work, Calhoun smuggles in some elements that pertain more obviously to biography. He describes and analyzes, for example, Bourdieu’s sense always of being an outsider, despite his enormously successful career. He also provides an intellectual genealogy, showing the lines of connection to his predecessors (Durkheim, Mauss, Levi-Strauss) and contemporaries (Goffman, Foucault).

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                                                                                                                                                                • Calhoun, Craig, and Loïc Wacquant. “‘Social Science with Conscience’: Remembering Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002).” Thesis Eleven 70 (August 2002): 1–14.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1177/0725513602070001002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  More a summation of a life’s professional work than a biography, this obituary article begins to depart from the conventional delineation and assessment of Bourdieu’s theoretical and critical contributions when it describes his burial site in Père Lachaise Cemetery, and lists those literary and intellectual luminaries who share that space. Here the professional becomes personal, and their sorrow seems visceral.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Carles, Pierre, dir., with Annie Gonzalez and Véronique Frégosi, prods. Sociology is a Martial Art. VHS videotape. NTSC standard. 146 minutes. Brooklyn, NY, and Paris: First Run/Icarus Films, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                    English subtitled version of La Sociologie est un sport de combat. A captivating cultural artifact that follows Bourdieu through his days at the university, in the street, and attending political protests. Interestingly, as with the obituaries, very little of his private world is in evidence, but the documentary clearly delineates his times, his contexts, and the domain in which he worked.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Grenfell, Michael James. “Biography.” In Pierre Bourdieu: Key Concepts. 2d ed. Edited by Michael Grenfell, 11–25. London and New York: Routledge, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Named by the author as a “sketch” rather than a biography, this chapter contextualizes Bourdieu’s antipathy to life writing. Incorporating rather more details about his family of origin than are offered in most Bourdieu biographies, it also sets out a comprehensive “biography” of his intellectual, social, and political contexts.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Haacke, Hans. “A Public Servant.” October 101 (2002): 4–6.

                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1162/octo.2002.101.1.4Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                        Locating Bourdieu in the international intellectual domain, Haacke fills in the gaps of knowledge for readers unfamiliar with his oeuvre. Notably, he describes Bourdieu as an “intellectual street fighter,” a reference to his late work as a public intellectual and political activist.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Bibliographies and Resources

                                                                                                                                                                        Very few online or printed resources are available for anyone seeking a repository of research material on, or by, Bourdieu. The bibliographies of the books and journal articles listed elsewhere in this document offer some assistance, but they require significant investments of time on the part of the interested individual. There are a few stand-alone bibliographies available, though their quality is uneven, and most are quite dated. They also perform different functions. The Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin’s bibliography, for example, constitutes one element of a larger project on migration and transnational culture (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 2016). The site compiled by Mörth and Fröhlich extends the bibliography published by the authors in a 1994 book, making it more widely available and more easily updated; while the BSA Bourdieu Study Group site is the online home for a study group of (mostly) younger British sociological researchers.

                                                                                                                                                                        • BSA Bourdieu Study Group.

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                                                                                                                                                                          With archives dating back to November 2012, this UK-based site, part of the British Sociological Association, hosts information about study forums on social issues such as religion, class, capital, and gender, as well as institutional issues such as Bourdieu’s legacy. Provides information about, and links to, recent publications.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. “Bibliography on Bourdieu.” 2016.

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                                                                                                                                                                            The product of a larger project on the multicultural habitus, and associated with the “Bourdieu Transnational” research network, this site provides lists of works by Bourdieu, and about Bourdieu, in both transnational and international contexts. Organizes secondary publications by topics, and includes some important works.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Mörth, Ingo, and Gerhard Fröhlich, comp. “HyperBourdieu© WorldCatalogue.”

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                                                                                                                                                                              A principally German site with multilingual options, this bibliography and “mediagraphy” of Bourdieu’s published work and public statements is organized alphabetically, by year and by type of publication. Includes a list of links to Bourdieu-oriented websites, including some dead links.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Journals

                                                                                                                                                                              The depth and range of Bourdieu’s research publications have stimulated a number of collections of explanatory, critical, and applied essays written by scholars investigating and drawing on his work. This expanded in the years following Bourdieu’s death, when there was a plethora of special issues of journals. Some special issues are only tangentially connected to the main body of Bourdieu scholarship, such as those published in journals of accountancy, knowledge management, or linguistics. Most, though, operate within the intellectual disciplines where Bourdieu made his home: sociology (Back, et al. 2009; Santoro 2011; Swartz 2003; Susen 2013; see also Silva 2016, under Habitus), cultural studies (Bennett, et al. 2013; Pileggi and Patton 2003; see also Bennett and Silva 2011, under Capital), ethnography (Wacquant 2004), and literary studies (Ahearne and Speller 2012, Fourny 2000). The special issues listed in this section offer a sample of those published by high-ranked journals and edited by recognized Bourdieu scholars.

                                                                                                                                                                              • Ahearne, Jeremy, and John Speller, eds. Special Issue: Bourdieu and the Literary Field. Paragraph 35.1 (2012).

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                                                                                                                                                                                Discusses Bourdieu’s long-held interest in literature, one that focused both on the structure and struggles within the field, and later on external relations, when he defended the literary field against government funding cuts. Includes contributions by Gisèle Sapiro, Anna Boschetti, Jeremy Lane and Jérôme David, and by the editors.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Back, Les, Azzedine Haddour, and Nirmal Puwar, eds. Special Issue: Post-colonial Bourdieu. Sociological Review 57.3 (2009).

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Focuses on Bourdieu’s contributions to postcolonial studies, and describes (and reproduces part of) the posthumous exhibition of his Algerian photographs. This exhibition provides a frame for the special issue, with contributors responding to the images and discussing the principles of visual imagery in social research. Papers by Azzedine Haddour, Paul Sweetman, and Derek Robbins, among others.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Bennett, Tony, John Frow, Ghassan Hage, and Greg Noble, eds. Special Issue: Antipodean Fields: Working with Bourdieu. Journal of Sociology 49.2–3 (June–September 2013).

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Examines the transferability of Bourdieu’s key concepts beyond Europe, and beyond fields of power and “high culture,” to the Australasian region and everyday practices and community structures. Includes essays on food, work, and education contexts, indigenous cultural materials, and cultural values.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Fourny, Jean-François, ed. Special Issue: Bourdieu. SubStance: A Review of Theory & Literary Criticism 29.3 (2000).

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Special issue on Bourdieu that reclaims his initial academic identity as a philosopher and his location in that specific French cultural tradition. Outlines the combative relationships he experienced across the course of his career, including with academics and other writers. Includes papers on his intellectual context, and aspects of literary/intellectual engagement and critique. Contributors include Niloo Kauppi, Jill Forbes, and Beate Krais.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Pileggi, Mary, and Cindy Patton, eds. Special Issue: Bourdieu and Cultural Studies. Cultural Studies 17.3–4 (2003).

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Begins by describing as something of a historical anomaly—the (poor) reception Bourdieu’s work received in sociology circles in the United States, then makes a case for Bourdieu studies as an affordance for interdisciplinarity and critical engagement. Contributions on issues affiliated with cultural studies concerns—gender, culture, reflexivity, habitus, and literature—by established and (then) Bourdieu scholars.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Santoro, Marco, ed. Special Issue: On the Shoulders of Pierre Bourdieu: A Contemporary Master in Chiaroscuro. Cultural Sociology 5.1 (2011).

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                                                                                                                                                                                          A critical account of Bourdieu’s career and his “surprising” fame, as well as his usefulness to the program of cultural sociology. Includes papers by Nick Prior, Omar Lizardo and Rudi Laermans, and a comparison, by Bottero and Crossley, between Becker’s and Bourdieu’s sociologies of the art world.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Swartz, David, eds. Special Issue: The Sociology of Symbolic Power: A Special Issue in Memory of Pierre Bourdieu. Theory and Society 32.5/6 (2003).

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Presented as an homage, it doubles as a critical engagement with Bourdieu’s work and his legacy. Includes papers on the sociology of religion, Bourdieu’s relationship to neoclassical economics, education and the transferability of knowledge, social capital, and several developments of field theory. Contributions by Bourdieu scholars, including Gisèle Sapiro, Nick Couldry, Nicholas Garnham, and Frédéric Lebaron.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Susen, Simon, ed. Special Issue: Bourdieu and Language. Social Epistemology 27.3–4 (2013).

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                                                                                                                                                                                              A special issue that aims to fill a gap in the literature by producing both a sociology and a philosophy of language. Susen’s core article provides a comprehensive critical account of Bourdieu’s writings on language. Other contributors respond to, provide comment on, and critique Susen’s essay. Includes responses by Bridget Fowler, Derek Robbins, Michael Grenfell, Bryan Turner, and Lisa Adkins.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Wacquant, Loïc, ed. Special Issue: Bourdieu and Ethnography. Ethnography 5.4 (2004).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                Includes papers by Bourdieu and collaborators, including the Algerian sociologist Abdelmalek Sayad, the poet Mouloud Mammeri, and Bourdieu’s wife, art historian Marie-Claire Bourdieu. The focus is predominantly on the ethnographic work conducted in Algeria in the late 1950s, but includes work from Bourdieu’s Béarn ethnography. Additional papers by the Algerian anthropologist Tassadit Yacine and by Paul Silverstein.

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