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Bourdieu, Pierre

Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002), an internationally renowned French social scientist, is important in the history of social theory in general and the sociology of education in particular. First, he spelled out the principles of generative structuralism, a perspective that primarily aims at overcoming the dichotomy between social physics and social phenomenology. These paradigms one-sidedly focus either on extra-individual structural properties, or representations embedded in the symbolic world. Second, by integrating research and theory, Bourdieu was able to avoid “concept fetishism.” In fact, his main concepts—such as habitus, capital, and field—had intellectual precursors, but were sharpened through researches that he conducted. Bourdieu never shied away from using multiple methodologies, ranging from correspondence analysis to ethnography. Third, Bourdieu broke the traditional barrier between multiple disciplines. Fourth, Bourdieu did ...

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