From Sociological Fictions to Social Fictions: Some Bourdieusian Reflections on the Concepts of 'Institutional Habitus' and 'Family Habitus'

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Abstract

This paper expresses serious reservations regarding the increasingly popular Bourdieu-inspired notions of ‘institutional habitus’ and ‘family habitus’ in education research. Though sympathetic to the overall theoretical approach and persuaded of the veracity and importance of the empirical findings they are used to illuminate, it argues that, from a Bourdieusian point of view, they actually present several difficulties which threaten to not only overstretch and reduce the explanatory power of the French thinker’s concepts but to stifle analysis of the kinds of struggles and complexities that both he and, somewhat contradictorily, the researchers in question spotlight. Bourdieu had his own ways of making sense of the themes raised, and though there is indeed a need to push him further than he went, to say what he did not and to emphasise what he would not, this has to be guided by consistent logic and not simply pragmatic empiricism.
Translated title of the contributionFrom Sociological Fictions to Social Fictions: Some Bourdieusian Reflections on the Concepts of 'Institutional Habitus' and 'Family Habitus'
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331 - 347
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Volume32
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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