Fields and Individuals: From Bourdieu to Lahire and Back Again

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Abstract

Bernard Lahire’s critique of Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology aims to establish a ‘dispositionalist-contextualist’ vision of human agency capable of fully sociologising biography and individuality. While accepting the utility of the notion of field, Lahire emphasises the plurality of non-field entities – including games, worlds and figurations – shaping people’s dispositions and the contexts in which they come to act, leading him to downgrade the notion of habitus and cast fields as only a small part of the picture. While appreciating the motivation underpinning Lahire’s project and the usefulness of some of his research-led insights, this paper argues that his skewed and partial reading of Bourdieu blinds him to the fact that solutions to some of the problems he identifies are already there in Bourdieu’s framework and, indeed, that these are more coherent and comprehensive than some of the conceptual suggestions Lahire offers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Theory
Early online date20 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2020

Keywords

  • Bourdieu
  • Lahire
  • Habitus
  • Field
  • Sociological biography

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