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Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002) was a French sociologist who dedicated his life’s work to understanding inequality and the cultural reproduction of society. His concepts habitus, cultural reproduction, field, and symbolic violence serve as tools and have been widely applied in sociological research. The purpose of this entry is to give a brief overview of Bourdieu’s motivation to develop his concepts as well as an overview of how his concepts help make sense of the role of education in social and cultural reproduction.

Pierre Bourdieu was born in 1930 in Béarn, France, to a working-class family and grew up in a small village. Despite his working-class roots, Bourdieu was a bright student and graduated at the top of his class from the prestigious institution École Normale Supérieure in ...

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