Pain, Pleasure and Perfection in Embodied Identity
Chapter 2: Ballet, Body and Bourdieu
Ballet, Body and Bourdieu
In this chapter I examine Pierre Bourdieu’s conceptual framework. I begin with a brief discussion of the background to Bourdieu’s work. I then discuss Bourdieu’s key concepts of field, habitus and capital and his acknowledgement of gender hierarchy. I summarise Bourdieu’s two significant works in relation to this book: Distinction (1984) and The Logic of Practice (1990a). Next, I examine the main strengths and challenges of Bourdieu’s conceptual framework. Finally, I argue that the work of Bourdieu provides a useful approach to examining and understanding the ballet body and embodied identity.
Bourdieu’s Conceptual Schema
There is a great deal of critical appraisal of the work of Pierre Bourdieu. Important commentaries by David Swartz (1997), Bridget Fowler (1997) and Derek Robbins (1999; 2000a; 2000b) have drawn out his many strengths and contributions to sociological theory. Robbins (2000a) stated that Bourdieu has had a ‘paradigmatic life of creative conceptualisation’ (p. xxiv). Indeed Bourdieu has made significant contributions to sociology (1988, 1990b, 1993a, 1997b, 2001; Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992; Bourdieu et al., 1999) but also to anthropology (Bourdieu, 1962, 1977, 1990a), cultural studies (1984, 1993b, 1996, 1997a, 1998) and philosophy (1992, 1996, 2000). Key works on Bourdieu have also recognised the major contributions he has made to anthropology and sociology (Jenkins, 1992; Calhoun et al., 1993), education (Grenfell and James, 1998), cultural studies (Fowler, 1997; Lane, 2000; Robbins, 2000a, 2000b) and philosophy (Shusterman, 1999). ← 21 | 22 → Bourdieu has made...
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