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From the model of reality to the reality of the model
Richard Jenkins

The sociological and anthropological work of Pierre Bourdieu, from the 1960s through to his death in 2002, is among the most impressive examples of sustained, consistent social science that the field has produced during the century and a half or so that it has existed as an institutionalised academic endeavour. Despite the criticisms to which it is vulnerable, Bourdieu’s oeuvre is a distinguished and challenging combination of extreme theoretical ambition and systematic empirical investigation across a range of substantive topics, from the matrimonial

in Human agents and social structures
Edward Tomarken

Bourdieu as a sociologist views society as a whole and is interested in the outer limits of culture, the framework for what he calls ‘lifestyle’. Three factors are key in Bourdieu’s view of the cultural effects upon personality: (1) habitus, explained by way of The Invisible Woman and Magic in the Moonlight ; (2) field or human context, seen in Lincoln and Homeland ; (3) lifestyle, examined in Mr Turner and Peaky Blinders . Literary critics are drawn to the theories of Pierre Bourdieu, Professor at the École des Hautes

in Why theory?
Authority, authenticity and morality

This book challenges the assumptions that reporters and their audiences alike have about the way the trade operates and how it sees the world. It unpacks the taken-for-granted aspects of the lives of war correspondents, exposing the principles of interaction and valorisation that usually go unacknowledged. Is journalistic authority really only about doing the job well? Do the ethics of war reporting derive simply from the ‘stuff’ of journalism? The book asks why it is that the authoritative reporter increasingly needs to appear authentic, and that success depends not only on getting things right but being the right sort of journalist. It combines the critical sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and interviews with war correspondents and others with an active stake in the field to construct a political phenomenology of war reporting—the power relations and unspoken ‘rules of the game’ underpinning the representation of conflict and suffering by the media.

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Laurent Cantet is of one France’s leading contemporary directors. He probes the evolution and fault-lines of contemporary society from the home to the workplace and from the Republican school to globalized consumption more acutely than perhaps any other French film-maker. His films always challenge his characters’ assumptions about their world. But they also make their spectators rethink their position in relation to what they see. This is what makes Cantet such an important film-maker, the book argues. It explores Cantet’s unique working ‘method,’ his use of amateur actors and attempt to develop an egalitarian authorship that allows other voices to be heard rather than subsumed. It discusses his way of constructing films at the uneasy interface of the individual, the group and the broader social context and his recourse to melodramatic strategies and moments of shame to force social tensions into view. It shows how the roots of the well-known later films can be found in his early works. It explores the major fictions from Ressources humaines to the recent Foxfire, Confessions of a Girl Gang. It combines careful close analysis with attention to broader cinematic, social and political contexts while drawing on a range of important theorists from Pierre Bourdieu to Jacques Rancière, Michael Bakhtin and Mary Ann Doane. It concludes by examining how, resolutely contemporary of the current moment, Cantet helps us rethink the possibilities and limits of political cinema in a context in which old resistances have fallen silent and new forms of protest are only emergent.

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A blended ethnography of a migrant city

Based on several years of ethnographic fieldwork, French London provides rare insights into the everyday lived experience of a diverse group of French citizens who have chosen to make London home. From sixth-form students to an octogenarian divorcee, hospitality to hospital staff, and second-generation onward migrants to returnees, the individual trajectories described are disparate but connected by a ‘common-unity’ of practice. Despite most not self-identifying with a ‘community’ identity, this heterogenous migrant group are shown to share many homemaking characteristics and to enact their belonging in common ways. Whether through the contents of their kitchens, their reasons for migrating to London or their evolving attitudes to education and healthcare, participants are seen to embody a distinct form of London-Frenchness. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s theories of ‘symbolic violence’ and ‘habitus’, inventively deconstructed into its component parts of habitat, habituation and habits, the book reveals how structural forces in France and early encounters with ‘otherness’ underpin mobility, and how long-term settlement is performed as a pre-reflexive process. It deploys an original blended ethnographic lens to understand the intersection between the on-land and online in contemporary mobility, providing a rich description of migrants’ material and digital habitats. With ‘Brexit’ on the horizon and participants subsequently revisited in a post-referendum Epilogue, the monograph demonstrates the appeal of London prior to 2016 and the disruption to the migrants’ identity and belonging since. It offers an unprecedented window onto the intimate lifeworlds of an under-researched diaspora at a crucial point in Britain’s history.


This book is concerned with the scope of cultural theory in its modern, it might even be said in its modernist, form. The three thinkers under most consideration in the book are Theodor Adorno, Michel Foucault and Pierre Bourdieu, who might hardly be seen as representatives of cultural theory per se if that enterprise is taken to be what it should often taken to be. The book starts with Adorno (1903-1969) not just because his work is an apt way to introduce further some very basic themes of the book: in particular those of critical autonomy and educationality. Adorno's reflections on art and culture are contributions to the ethical understanding of autonomy, emphasising the importance of the cultivation of critical reflection. The argument here is that he is, rather, an ethico-critical theorist of democracy and a philosopher of hope. The book then situates the work of Michel Foucault (1926-1984), in other ways so different from Adorno, in terms of a broadly, if minimally, parallel agenda in modern cultural theory. It outlines some of the importance of Foucault's notion of an 'aesthetics of existence' in relation to his work as a whole. It further invokes related themes in the work of Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002). Finally, it moves things in a different direction, towards postmodernism, invoking the increasing role of the cultural and aesthetic dimension in contemporary experience that is often taken as a central aspect of the postmodern turn.

The structure/agency debate has been among the central issues in discussions of social theory. It has been widely assumed that the key theoretical task is to find a link between social structures and acting human beings to reconcile the macro with the micro, society and the individual. This book considers a general movement in which the collective concepts established by the early pioneers of modern sociological thought have been reconsidered in the light of both theoretical critique and empirical results. It argues that the contemporary sociological preoccupation with structure and agency has had disastrous effects on the understanding of Karl Marx's ideas. Through a critical evaluation of 'structuration theory' as a purported synthesis of 'structure and agency', the book also argues that the whole idea of a structure-and-agency 'problem' mythologises the fracture lines that do run through relatively recent sociological thought. Michel Foucault's ideas were used to both shore up existing positions in sociology and to instantiate (or solve) the 'new' structure-agency 'problem'. Foucault allowed sociologists to conduct 'business as usual' between the demise of structuralism and the contemporary consensus around Pierre Bourdieu-Anthony Giddens-Jurgen Habermas and the structure-agency dualisms. Habermas is one of the most prominent figures in contemporary social theory.

Michael O’Sullivan

MUP FINAL PROOF – <STAGE>, 09/13/2013, SPi 5 International comparisons Jacques Derrida, Pierre Bourdieu and the French University The work of leading French academics such as Pierre Bourdieu and Jacques Derrida on education points to key differences in emphasis in the Irish and French university systems. However, the French university system did share, only much earlier, many of the key changes that have come to Irish universities since the 1980s. It experienced a surge in university numbers slightly earlier than its Irish counterpart. Alain Bienayme notes

in The humanities and the Irish university
Michael O’Sullivan

HUMANITIES 9 education and universality that the humanities privileges must ultimately work to counter readings that promote a particularist approach to knowledge and human potential. In chapters 3 and 4, I return to this argument in discussing the work of Newman and Leavis. The final account of the humanities that is also important for this study is the somewhat ‘suspicious’ examination of the traditional humanities subjects in the French university system by Pierre Bourdieu. Bourdieu’s work is perhaps of singular importance in documenting issues related to cultural

in The humanities and the Irish university
Niilo Kauppi

7 Intellectual politics and Europe More than other societies, French society needs revolutionary totems. Next to the eponymous statuette of Pierre Bourdieu, great sociologist and firstclass ultrabasist mandarin, will henceforth stand that of Arlette Laguiller, as a caryatid supporting Lutte ouvrière [a Trotskyist party]. Formerly the Communist party, symbol of an unattainable 'Great Evening', the torch of a frank and massive strategy of rupture with capitalist society, held this role. (Duhamel 1998, 4) The often contradictory process of symbolic integration

in Democracy, social resources and political power in the European Union