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Bourdieu and Data Analysis

Methodological Principles and Practice

Edited By Michael Grenfell and Frédéric Lebaron

Uniquely amongst the numerous publications to appear on the work of the French social theorist Pierre Bourdieu, this book deals with data analysis, examining a range of techniques and instruments. After an introductory chapter outlining the key principles of Bourdieu’s theory, the book presents detailed examples of data being collected and analysed in a Bourdieusian way across various social science contexts. Both qualitative and quantitative methods are addressed, including analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each method, as are common data collection procedures such as interview, observation and questionnaire. Examples of Multiple Correspondence Analysis are an important feature of the book, since this was an approach particularly favoured by Bourdieu. In each case study, the pros and cons of different approaches are highlighted and the qualitative/quantitative debate is thoroughly explored. Overall, the book offers readers a blueprint to develop their own methodological plans for using Bourdieu in research practice.
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Introduction to Part II


Part II deals with research carried out from a Bourdieusian perspective where an essentially qualitative approach has been adopted. We take a broad definition of the term ‘qualitative’ to include any project where data are collected but explicit statistical and geometric systems are not used to analyse them. Such an approach can itself be re-expressed more specifically, and various other research traditions may be grouped under this rubric: natural, symbolic interactionalist, ethnographic, interpretative, etc. It is not our intention to tease out the differences between these, nor to compare and contrast them in terms of Bourdieu’s own approach. Still, it is worth noting that all of these perspectives, including Bourdieu’s, are conducted from the basis of a fairly limited range of data sources: either the researcher interviews subjects, or constructs questionnaires, or observes them, or undertakes documentary analyses, or gives the subjects tasks and records their response to them. Of course, the devil is in the detail here and, in each case, it is worth considering how a Bourdieusian approach to each of these forms of data collection may differ from more traditional ways. We will take another look at such considerations later in the book. These issues, along with those outlined in Part I of the book, should be kept in mind whilst reading the contributions to Part II. It is made up of four separate chapters.

The first deals with the topic of inclusion in a Minority Language School. Data from interviews, observation and...

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