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Understanding Bourdieu

Understanding Bourdieu

First Edition

Other Titles in:
Cultural Theory | Social Theory

January 2002 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"Bourdieu's work is formidable - the journey is tough. Follow this French foreign legion - take an apple, take a hanky - but take this book".
- Peter Beilharz , La Trobe University

 "A good range of recent examples from popular culture are used to flesh out the material in accessible terms. These examples are deployed very well indeed - rather than being tacked-on illustrations of an idea, they are instead used at the heart of the explanation of the ideas".
 - David Gauntlett, Leeds University

Now considered one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, Pierre Bourdieu has left his mark on most of the 'big' theoretical issues in the world of contemporary theory: gender, subjectivity, the body, culture, citizenship, and globalization. His terms are now commonplace: 'social capital', 'cultural capital', 'field', and 'habitus'.

Bourdieu examines how people conduct their lives in relation to one another and to major social institutions. He argues that culture and education aren't simply minor influences, but as important as economics in determining differences between groups of people. Unlike the other grand systematisers Marx and Foucault, Bourdieu has tested these arguments in detailed fieldwork. His range is eclectic, his vision is vast, and his writing is often dense and challenging.

Understanding Bourdieu offers a comprehensive introduction to Bourdieu's work. It is essential reading for anyone tackling him for the first time.
Contexts and Approaches
Cultural Field and the Habitus
Theorizing Practice
Bourdieu's Sociology
Government and Bureaucracy
Bourdieu and Secondary Schools
Bourdieu and Higher Education
The Field of Cultural Production
Art and Artists
Journalism and Television

Bourdieu's theory remains important, even though societies changes. However, his theory is not easily unlocked and applied in research. This book certainly helps in understanding Bourdieu by rephrasing his words into more open and transparent language.

Mr Noel Clycq
Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies, University of Antwerp
April 9, 2015

This is a really useful book in understanding the work of Bourdieu. The glossary at the beginning of the book is especially helpful for anyone new to his work and the examples thought the chapters are relevant and contextualised. An interesting a useful guide.

Jon Audain
Faculty of Education, Health and Social Care, University of Winchester
May 25, 2014

If interested in this scholar a very good entry level book that set out work and ideologies vey clearly

Miss Helen Thornalley
Education, St Mary's College
January 3, 2014

Excellent introduction to Bordieus' widespread work.

Mr Dominic Kirby
School of Education, Waterford Institute of Technology
March 7, 2012

Align with the authors aims this is an accessible introduction to the thinking and theoretical considerations of Bourdieu. An audience of undergraduate students may find this book particularly useful in conceptualising and comprehending some of Bourdieu’s key thoughts. A convenient combination of Bourdieu’s original text, authors’ comments and relevant examples allows for a concise understanding of Bourdieu’s theoretical positioning. Pertinent references are provided at the end of each chapter for those wishing to further their understanding of often complex theoretical concepts.

Mr Mark Mierzwinski
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, York St John University College
December 20, 2011

A great 'starter' on the world of Bourdieu. Seriously thinking about the social world is never easy, but this book is a great introduction to Bourdieu's work.

Mr Warren Evans
ICE House Project, Cornwall College
November 17, 2011

This is for the second part of the module, which has not yet started, but where we will be exploring Bourdieu in depth.

This book offers a good background understanding of Bourdieu, and consequently, will be very helpful for students on this module.

I will be strongly recommending it.

Dr Joanie Willett
Department of Politics, Exeter University
November 8, 2011

Bourdieu's theorising is made accessible to an audience who might otherwise skip over such an important thinker; a good introduction.

John Hoffman
Medical and Social Care Education, University of Leicester
March 8, 2011

A very readable introduction for undergraduate students unfamiliar with the subject.

Mr Felix Seyfarth
KWA - Leitung Handlungskompetenz, University of St. Gallen
February 4, 2011

explains the positionality of Bourdieu's his theoritical ideas, objectivism/subjectivism, and his structural relationships in education.

Mr Noel Ronan
Humanities, Waterford Institute of Technology
October 11, 2010

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