Understanding Bourdieu aims to explain Bourdieu's work in a lively and accessible style with extensive reference to popular culture. Bourdieu's work is central to contemporary social and cultural theory as well as research and teaching, however, understanding Bourdieu can be a challenge. This book uses a range of examples from popular culture to flesh out the material in accessible terms. As such it is an ideal primer for all beginning sociology and cultural studies students.
Chapter 1: Contexts and Approaches
Contexts and Approaches
As well as being, in the words of Richard Shusterman, ‘France's leading living social theorist’ (Shusterman 1999: 1), Pierre Bourdieu is, along with Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, one of the most influential of those French thinkers ‘whose work succeeded structuralism’ (Calhoun et al. 1993: 7). There are few aspects of contemporary cultural theory (which crosses fields such as cultural studies, literary studies, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, gender studies, psychoanalysis and film and media studies) to which Bourdieu has not made a significant contribution. His concepts of habitus, field and capital, for instance, constitute what is arguably the most significant and successful attempt to make sense of the relationship between objective social structures (institutions, discourses, fields, ideologies) and everyday practices (what ...