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 4: Bourdieu's Sociology
Bourdieu's official title is Professor of Sociology, but the sociology he does is somewhat different from that practised in most English-speaking countries. In the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, for instance, sociology is typically defined most simply as ‘the study of people in groups'. Bourdieu argues that this is too limiting—that sociology emerged out of ‘an initial error of definition’ which split the social sciences up into those that look at individuals and those that look at collectives, without understanding that individuals exist only alongside and within collective structures, and so cannot be understood in isolation from one other (see Sociology in Question 1993b: 15).
Bourdieu also differs somewhat from British, Australian or American sociologists because many of them base their ...