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PART I - BIOGRAPHY, THEORY AND PRACTICE

Michael Grenfell
Affiliation:
Trinity College Dublin
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Summary

Introduction

Part I of this book is entitled “Biography, theory and practice”. It comprises two chapters, which span these three principal strands in Bourdieu's work.

Chapter 1 begins with a brief outline of Bourdieu's life and works. This sets a framework for what follows. It is emphasized how important it is to read Bourdieu's ideas primarily in terms of the current practical problems and issues of the day before any contemporary use is made of them. A sketch is subsequently offered of the events which surrounded Bourdieu's life and impacted on his thinking. This account includes the social, cultural, historical, political and economic. Bourdieu was active professionally for almost exactly the fifty years of the second half of the twentieth century. This section details some of the salient trends in this time period; in particular, with respect to France. In the final section of Chapter 1, Bourdieu is located within the intellectual tradition of which he formed a part. This tradition is linked to the eighteenth-century Age of Enlightenment and the French philosophes who were its key thinkers. As noted earlier, Bourdieu originally trained in philosophy before embracing sociology as the focus for his writing. This section begins to unpick the various strands in his theory of practice, with reference to the founding fathers of sociology – Marx, Durkheim and Weber, French Catholic intellectuals of the 1930s and 1940s, the European tradition of phenomenology, and the leading intellectual figures of his formative years, namely Sartre and Lévi-Strauss. The ideas within this background are also contrasted with those of other writers on the history of the philosophy of science, such as Gaston Bachelard and Georges Canguilhem.

Type
Chapter
Information
Pierre Bourdieu
Key Concepts
, pp. 7 - 10
Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2012

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