Pierre Bourdieu

Pierre-Félix Bourdieu (August 1, 1930 - January 23, 2002) was one of the best known French sociologists. He was born in Denguin (Pyrénées-Atlantiques). From 1962 to 1983 he was married to Marie-Claire Brizard.

Bourdieu studied philosophy in Paris at the École Normale Supérieure. He worked as a teacher. Afterwards (1958-1960) he did research in Algeria, laying the groundwork for his sociological reputation. Since 1981, Bourdieu held a chair at the Collège de France. In 1993 he was honored with the "Médaille d'or du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique" (CNRS).

His work was empirical, grounded in the everyday life and can be seen as cultural sociology. He coined the terms habitus, field, and compared everyday human interaction to economics, by using categories such as social capital, symbolic capital and cultural capital.

Insert descriptions/links to field theory and Reflexive Sociology

He was also known as a politically interested and active leftist intellectual, supporting work against the influences of political elites and neoliberal capitalism.

Some examples of his empirical results include:

  • showing that despite the apparent freedom of choice in the arts in France, people's artistic preferences (e.g. classical music, rock, traditional music) strongly correlate with social class
  • showing that subtleties of language such as accent, grammar, spelling and style are a major factor in social mobility (e.g. getting a higher paid, higher status job)

Bourdieu's work

  • La distinction (1979)
  • Homo Academicus (1984)
  • La Noblesse d'État (1989)
  • La Misère du monde (1993)

External links

EN

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