Bourdieu, Pierre (Pierre-Félix) (1930-2002)
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French sociologist and anthropologist, famous for his work on practice theory. After studying philosophy at the École Normale Supérieur in Paris, along with such luminaries as Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault, Bourdieu did fieldwork among the Kabyle of Algeria (1958-60). Starting in 1981, he held a chair at the Collège de France. He is known as one of the most influential social theoreticians of the late 20th century. For a comprehensive vitae and multilingual bibliography, see:

Bourdieu had already published substantially on Kabyle social life, and on art, class, and general sociology, when his Esquisse d'une théorie de la pratique, précédé de trois études d'ethnologie kabyle appeared in 1972. Five years later, the book was published in a full English translation as Outline of a Theory of Practice (1977). This was Bourdieu's breakthrough in English. It is here he introduces such terms as habitus, structuration, doxa and opinion, social, cultural and economic capital.

In 1979, Bourdieu published La distinction: Critique sociale du jugement (English edition 1984: Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste). This voluminous monograph discusses the relationship between (esthetic) taste and class position in France. He who has "good taste" has also acquired the distinction that separates him from other class positions in society.

Among the concepts introduced in Bourdieu's later work, social fields are of particular importance. Social fields are arenas for the accumulation of the three forms of capital, and arenas for competition between accumulating actors.

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To see texts on AnthroBase dealing with Pierre Bourdieu, see:

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Partial bibliography

1961 (orig. 1958) The Algerians. Boston: Boston Press

1977 (orig. 1972) Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

1979 (orig. 1963 and 1972) Algeria 1960: The disenchantment of the world; The sense of honour; The Kabyle house, or, the world reversed. Essays by Pierre Bourdieu. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

1984 (orig. 1979) Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul

1988 (orig. 1984) Homo academicus. Cambridge: Polity Press

1990 (orig. 1980) The logic of practice. Stanford: Stanford University Press

1991 (orig. 1982) Language and symbolic power: The economy of linguistic exchanges. Cambridge: Polity

1998 (orig. 1996) On television and journalism. London: Pluto

1999 (orig. 1993) The weight of the world: social suffering in contemporary society. Cambridge: Polity Press

1999 (orig. 1997) Pascalian meditations. Stanford: Stanford University Press