Bourdieu's method maps social space in terms of the relative positions occupied by individuals and groupings within it. Field was one particular way of expressing such positions and relations. However, Bourdieu also used a broader concept of “social space” and employed a range of representational methods to offer mappings of such space. This chapter considers a range of visual forms used by Bourdieu and others, including diagrams – some based on geometric correspondences analysis – and photographs. It also offers the reader a practical example of Bourdieusian analysis to show “how to do it” from an initial research construct, through data collection and analysis, to presentation and discussion of outcomes. The aim is to offer further methodological guidance on undertaking a study from a Bourdieusian perspective.
The phrase “social space” is often used in sociological writing as a generic metaphor to indicate the broad background to the social phenomenon being studied (see Crossley 2005: 306). Bourdieu uses the term “social space” more specifically, when he intends to indicate the set of all possible positions that are available for occupation at any given time or place. Since Bourdieu's theory of practice is a relational one, these possible positions are defined in relation to each other. As he writes, “one ought to be able to recall at every point the whole network of relationships found there” (Bourdieu 1984: 120).