Bourdieu in context: His work and theoretical development.

23/11/2017 (Thursday) 13:00-14:00 E21-G002

In An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology, Wacquant refers to Bourdieu “systemically developing … a sociological method consisting essentially in a manner of posing problems, in a … set of conceptual tools and procedures for constructing objects and for transferring knowledge gleaned in one area of inquiry into another” (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1992: 5). This talk will provide an account of Bourdieu’s theoretical and methodological orientations, and antecedents, his scholarly trajectory, and his main theoretical concepts. We discuss the ways in which Bourdieu incorporated the influence of figures such as Wittgenstein into his scholarly practices, and how those practices were to some extent informed by an attempt to move beyond established theoretical and methodological positions (structuralism, Marxism, sociological positivism).

We give an account of the major developments in Bourdieu’s scholarly trajectory, with reference to both the content at hand (e.g. statistics about educational opportunities) and wider strategic considerations (for instance, the claims Bourdieu was making about the range, responsibilities, and methodological imperatives of the discipline of sociology).