Methodological Principles and Practice
Edited By Michael Grenfell and Frédéric Lebaron
Reference was made at the outset of this book to the way that Bourdieu’s approach to studying the social world promises to ‘restore to men the meaning of their actions’ and, implicitly, a collection such as the present one suggests that this way of viewing things has a premium over others. In the first part of this book, we aimed to explain the general background to Bourdieu’s viewpoint: where it came from, what it gave rise to, and the principles on which it was based. Here, we saw that a Bourdieusian perspective has to be founded on two salient elements: firstly, a philosophical base with an epistemologically charged set of analytical concepts; secondly, a commitment to empirical investigation. The first of these is based around structure as an organizing concept to express the multilayered relations that are set up within and between individuals. The second requires an openness to intervene in site specific contexts of the social world with an open mind and to look for and see beyond the conventional ways of interpreting it. And, of course, the two are co-terminus with the theory of practice guiding both the object and the subject of research. Part II then offered a series of practical exemplifications of applications of this theory of practice based around a methodological approach, which can broadly be termed ‘qualitative’. Here, such key concepts as ‘field’, ‘habitus’ and ‘capital’ were brought to analyses of education and art to elucidate the underlying generating structures of a...
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