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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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Trawling for Students: How Do Educational Institutions Compete for Students?

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Background

Competition Between Educational Institutions

Educational institutions, in Denmark as elsewhere, are increasingly economically dependent upon sustaining certain levels of recruitment for their survival. As sustaining recruitment relates to the perceived status of the specific education, the occupations to which it leads, and the institution providing the education, educational institutions struggle for dominant positions within the field of education, as well as competing for student recruitment. For a number of reasons, educational policies being the most obvious one, a dominant position within the field of education does not in itself translate to a secure position in terms of recruitment. The relative positions of educational institutions within the field of education are thus competitively related to the structure of said field. Such relations are both competitive – which is to say, the institutions are attempting to recruit somewhat similar students – but also alliances, whereby the institutions tacitly agree to pursue different groups of students, in order not to escalate their competitive struggles. This article examines a case of such competition, in order to determine how such struggles reveal and affect both the overall structure of the field of education, and the hierarchies between particular agents within that field. In order to examine such struggle, I investigate the educational institutions in question, as properties of the students they succeed in recruiting; in other words the relations between the educational institutions are here understood to be homologous to the relations between the groups of students inhabiting them.

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