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Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002), Professor of Sociology at the Collège de France, Paris, died on January 23, 2002, aged 71. His death made the headlines on the front page of Le Monde and inspired fulsome tributes from all walks of French public life—not least Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, who had himself suffered the sting of Bourdieu's pen and tongue—and from the academic community worldwide. Arguably the last of the great French intellectuals active during the second half of the twentieth century, he remained active and productive to the end of his life.

Whether one admires Bourdieu—and he was capable of inspiring extraordinary loyalty and admiration—or not, his standing as an intellectual of genuinely global significance is beyond question. Widely regarded during his lifetime as internationally among the ...

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