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ERIC Number: EJ1106825
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jul
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0973-1849
Pierre Bourdieu: The Sociologist of Education
Dalal, Jyoti
Contemporary Education Dialogue, v13 n2 p231-250 Jul 2016
Pierre Bourdieu had modest, peasant roots. He was born in 1930, in a rural family in the Béarn province of south-western France. He was the first one in his family to finish high school. His father, the son of a sharecropper, was a postal worker. Bourdieu, being a "scholarship boy," made his way to the elite École Normale Supérieure. Here, alongside Louis Althusser, he studied philosophy, which was the most esteemed course in post-war French society. While starting his career as a philosopher, his fieldwork in Algeria, and later in his native region Béarn, became his "conversion points," as he moved away from philosophy to anthropology and sociology. Rising through the ranks of academia in France, he built his own strong research centre and occupied the prestigious Chair of Sociology at the Collège de France, Paris. His career trajectory was extraordinary considering the tight, hierarchical and centralised nature of French society where children from privileged backgrounds are trained from an early age for entry into the elite institutions of higher education. His own disadvantaged background led him naturally to champion the rights of the downtrodden. Bourdieu's intellectual rigour is displayed in more than 35 books and 350 articles that he published over the course of his career. Through his voluminous writings and lucid lectures, he made key contributions to the study of diverse fields like education, art, science, language, religion, law, media studies, history, philosophy, literary studies, kinship and marriage. His penetrating and critical analyses, cutting across artificial disciplinary boundaries, shaped the social sciences in the twentieth century. Although Bourdieu addressed a range of themes and topics, his writings were mostly concerned with the sociology of education. He was primarily a sociologist of education, which, according to him, was yet to receive its due respect and recognition in the social sciences. Bourdieu's writings, while treated as foundational in the sociology of education, are largely misunderstood, as his theoretical formulations are seen as heavily deterministic with no scope for change, agency and resistance on the part of the subject.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A