News Sense, Sources, Sociology and Journalism

  • Chris Nash


This chapter explores the value of Bourdieu’s field theory with respect to two key challenges for the disciplinary status of journalism: news sense and journalist-source relationships. The indefinability of news sense has been widely used as an argument for dismissing journalism’s status as a reflexive research practice. The chapter explains the relevance of Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capital and habitus to journalism, and argues that habitus is an appropriate way of theorizing news sense as a valid research practice. Regarding sources, it argues that the concepts of capital and orthodoxy/heterodoxy are pertinent to the recognition of authority in sources. The chapter considers the merits of a Bourdieusian approach to journalist-source relations compared to the other two major approaches in sociology, those of Stuart Hall (1978) and Richard Ericson (1989), and argues that they all offer some benefits, but that a Bourdieusian approach offers a more comprehensive perspective. A great advantage of Bourdieu’s framework is its dynamic relational ontology. The chapter argues that Bourdieu benefits from the materialist theorization of spatiotemporality by Harvey and Lefebvre to enable empirical interrogation of case studies using his field theory, and in turn Bourdieu offers their framework a conceptualisation of subjectivity for protagonists in the field, particularly with respect to habitus for journalists. Overall, the chapter argues that journalism operates at the intersection of geography, history, and sociology and therefore offers a valid and distinctive perspective on reality at a disciplinary level.


Power Relation Symbolic Power Symbolic Violence News Organisation House Style 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Nash
    • 1
  1. 1.Monash UniversityCaulfield EastAustralia

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