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ThereThere’’s no such things no such thing
asas ‘‘Bourdieu LiteBourdieu Lite’’
Sheffield Hallam University 14th
October 20...
 Bourdieu’s concepts are now very widely
used
 But great variability in ‘depth in use’
 Why?
 Apparent similarity of c...
A little learning is a dang’rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the...
 Justice is mostly about parity of participation;
 Injustice commonly produced by barriers to
participation – economic (...
No!
Yes!
Field for
Bourdieu?
 A particular meaning of knowledge, as practical
sense and as habitus:
 Knowledge = connaissance
 Recognition = reconna...
How do people know their
place, and what
stories and explanations do
they have by
which to explain it?
Who does he
think he is?

A lovely image!
Everyday misrecognition exploited forEveryday misrecognition exploited for
profit - something for nothing?profit - somethi...
 Individuals are all different
 Those with talent, who work hard, can do well in
education
 They get the best jobs
 Th...
‘Misrecognition of the social determinants
of the educational career – and therefore of
the social trajectory it helps to ...
 Investigated a cross-section of against-the-
grain examples of school choice, where
families deliberately chose ordinary...
 Example A: The identification and avoidance
of a common misrecognition. Parents
deciding not to be ‘mainstream choosers’...
 Soft reflexivity is easy (Cf. Woolgar)
 Serious reflexivity is likely to be uncomfortable –
even painful
 Beyond this,...
There's no such thing as 'Bourdieu Lite'
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There's no such thing as 'Bourdieu Lite'

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Professor David James' presentation to the Sheffield Institute of Education Seminar, Sheffield Hallam University
14 October 2015

Published in: Education
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There's no such thing as 'Bourdieu Lite'

  1. 1. ThereThere’’s no such things no such thing asas ‘‘Bourdieu LiteBourdieu Lite’’ Sheffield Hallam University 14th October 2015 David James Cardiff University
  2. 2.  Bourdieu’s concepts are now very widely used  But great variability in ‘depth in use’  Why?  Apparent similarity of concepts with other perspectives  Misrecognition of ‘misrecognition’?  Tensions between a Bourdieusian perspective and educational values Some key pointsSome key points
  3. 3. A little learning is a dang’rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring; There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. (Pope An Essay on Criticism 1711) Some verseSome verse
  4. 4.  Justice is mostly about parity of participation;  Injustice commonly produced by barriers to participation – economic (distributive) or status (recognition).  Fraser’s misrecognition refers to a lack recognition and to status inequality, preventing people from full participation ‘as peers in social life’.  Struggles over distribution and recognition are played out within a political dimension which tells us ‘who is included, who is excluded’, especially on a global scale Misrecogntion: Nancy FraserMisrecogntion: Nancy Fraser
  5. 5. No! Yes! Field for Bourdieu?
  6. 6.  A particular meaning of knowledge, as practical sense and as habitus:  Knowledge = connaissance  Recognition = reconnaissance  Misrecognition = meconnaissance Misrecognition: how practices are made ‘…invisible through a displacement of understanding and a reconstrual as part of other aspects of the habitus that “go without saying”’ (Mahar et al, 1990, p. 19) So misrecognition is habitual ‘mis-attribution’.  This is an everyday process. Misrecognition: PierreMisrecognition: Pierre BourdieuBourdieu
  7. 7. How do people know their place, and what stories and explanations do they have by which to explain it?
  8. 8. Who does he think he is? 
  9. 9. A lovely image!
  10. 10. Everyday misrecognition exploited forEveryday misrecognition exploited for profit - something for nothing?profit - something for nothing?
  11. 11.  Individuals are all different  Those with talent, who work hard, can do well in education  They get the best jobs  The educational generation of social inequality is a ‘malfunction’ or an aberrant feature of an otherwise benign process Common-sense thinking (andCommon-sense thinking (and some socio-economicsome socio-economic perspectives)perspectives)
  12. 12. ‘Misrecognition of the social determinants of the educational career – and therefore of the social trajectory it helps to determine – gives the educational certificate the value of a natural right and makes the educational system one of the fundamental agencies of the maintenance of the social order’ (Bourdieu, 1984, p. 387) The classic case ofThe classic case of misrecognition for Bourdieumisrecognition for Bourdieu
  13. 13.  Investigated a cross-section of against-the- grain examples of school choice, where families deliberately chose ordinary and low- performing secondary schools for their children  We interviewed parents and children in 125 households in London and two other cities in England  Examples of overall findings  See Reay, Crozier and James, 2011& 2013 The projectThe project Identity, EducationalIdentity, Educational Choice and the White UrbanChoice and the White Urban Middle ClassesMiddle Classes
  14. 14.  Example A: The identification and avoidance of a common misrecognition. Parents deciding not to be ‘mainstream choosers’. The educational project is conceived in ways that takes it well beyond the idea of choice prevalent in neoliberal, marketising policy;  Example B: The certainty of trajectory based on the imputation of brightness. A double hermeneutic and a mutual affinity between the needs of schools and those of middle class families. MisrecognitionMisrecognition in ourin our analysisanalysis
  15. 15.  Soft reflexivity is easy (Cf. Woolgar)  Serious reflexivity is likely to be uncomfortable – even painful  Beyond this, four areas of tension between the general values and goals of educational endeavour, and a Bourdieusian approach: ◦ Interest and proximity ◦ The unit of analysis ◦ Compass and scale ◦ Tenor – e.g optimism versus pessimism IsIs ‘‘Bourdieu LiteBourdieu Lite’’ produced byproduced by discomfort?discomfort?

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