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Postscript: methodological principles

Michael Grenfell
Affiliation:
Trinity College, Ireland.
Michael Grenfell
Affiliation:
Trinity College, Dublin
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Summary

As noted in the Introduction to this book, it is rather unusual to deal with Bourdieu's concepts as discrete entities. Nevertheless, in doing so, each chapter has enabled an in-depth consideration of each term from a theoretical and practice perspective. However, it has been stressed on various occasions how Bourdieu's theory of practice is essentially a “theory of research practice”. In other words, his key concepts only make sense when applied to practical research, and the whole raison d'être of the approach is that they should be used in new projects. The following sets out, in note form, the principal stages (or principles) for such a Bourdieusian approach to the analysis of social phenomena. It is offered almost as an aide-memoire for anyone setting out to use these concepts in practice. By stages, I wish to signify their chronological specificity in practice. However, that is not to imply any linearity and, in a sense, each is continually co-terminus in the course of conducting research. In this sense, principles may be a better word; although they are actualized in real time, and it is important not to lose the notion of their operationalization in practice. What is presented here is not meant as a prescription – these “thinking tools” need to be worked with creatively! At the same time, it is my conviction that any research project that does not include some element of each principle, or stage, will not be fully realizing the potential of Bourdieu's method.

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Chapter
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Pierre Bourdieu
Key Concepts
, pp. 219 - 228
Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2008

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