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Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction and Beyond

The Palgrave Handbook of Psychosocial Studies
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Abstract

Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste is Pierre Bourdieu’s best-known book, derived from an empirical exploration of the relationship between cultural taste and social position in France. Originally published in 1979, the study is based on two surveys conducted over the 1960s. The book was published in English in 1984. Distinction displays the interplay between theory and research as a hallmark of Bourdieu’s approach. French social debates verged at the time between Sartre’s existential phenomenology and Lévi-Strauss’s structuralism. The reconciliation of these appears in Bourdieu as a search for convergence between a phenomenological subjectivity and a structuralist objectivity, which has increasingly informed psychosocial projects and approaches. Addressing this endeavor, the exploration of the role of tastes in ordering social relations connects three related concepts – capital, habitus, and field – which constitute the pillars of an elaborate theory informing Bourdieu’s production, until his death in 2002, of the ways in which culture creates, reproduces, and naturalizes social inequality, generating social suffering. This chapter presents the original context of the elaboration of the ideas in Distinction and its sophisticated arguments, following their extended applications in further works. The presentation of ideas does not follow a chronological order of development but focuses on the refinement and interrelationships of the key concepts, and the ways in which these have been criticized, adapted, and adopted by researchers considering the social markers over our ways – purposeful or unconscious – of being and doing things in a changing world.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth B. Silva .

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Silva, E.B. (2022). Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction and Beyond. In: Frosh, S., Vyrgioti, M., Walsh, J. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Psychosocial Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-61510-9_44-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-61510-9_44-1

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  1. Latest

    Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction and Beyond
    Published:
    20 October 2022

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-61510-9_44-2

  2. Original

    Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction and Beyond
    Published:
    27 August 2022

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-61510-9_44-1