BSA Bourdieu Study Group 2nd Biennial International Conference by Steph Lacey


Having space and time between an event and writing often helps me reflect on what I have actually taken away from that conference, in terms of the Bourdieu International Conference 2018, the positive experiences are still warming my cockles; new insights were both plentiful and meaningful.

Although proceedings were temporarily dampened by the events that unfolded in the World Cup and the ‘match that shall not be named’, the whole conference was alive with the spirit that had gained momentum since the doors opened and name tags were collected. With a vast array of sessions on offer, that each explored Bourdieu’s concepts from a different perspective, there truly was something for everyone. From the outset the tone was conversational, yet informative. Some of those conversations had just begun and some were a continuation of a 10 year discussion, though none felt exclusionary. I spoke with several people, for whom, this was their first academic conference and who had arrived with a sense of nervous anticipation. This is a feeling that I can connect with on a personal level, as I’m sure many of you reading this can. The monster under the bed that is ‘imposter syndrome’, making its inconvenient grand entrance just as you open your mouth to speak. But if there were a conference to ever alleviate this (if only temporarily), the Bourdieu International conference was definitely it! My nerves quickly dissipated and I was assured that the same was true for the others I spoke to. For those who missed the conference, I just wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on, in my opinion, a few factors that made this conference great.

It is no secret that the precarious landscape that is academia, has impacted upon the availability of opportunities for Early Career Researchers to engage in research and dissemination yet here, this was not the case. ECRs were respected, celebrated and included in every aspect of the conference, including paper sessions, leading workshops in their area of expertise and delivering keynotes. This was done without questions of status and all were as equally well received and valued as senior academics. Giving ECRs this platform not only allows us to build upon the ever daunting academic CV, but allows for a glimpse into the future. This conference felt different. It felt fresh and progressive. Bourdieu’s concepts were not taken at face value, they were critiqued and pushed to their boundaries to explore new and exciting ways to use his work – as a flexible methodological tool. #Bourdieu2018 resisted reproducing the typical arguments often made in Bourdieu’s name, we moved forwards with outstanding international research.

Critics of Bourdieu often refer to his lack of applicability or consideration of important social factors such as race and gender, though work presented by, Derron Wallace, Constantino Dumangane, Berenice Scandone, April-Louise Pennant and Marta Curran (among many other inspiring others), furthered the discussion in these fields, detailing the importance of questioning our predispositions for assuming whiteness when regarding Bourdieu’s theoretical approach to social understandings and how this can be problematised and challenged within our work and daily practices.

The space created by the organisers and attendees was one that allowed us to explore the application of Bourdieu’s concepts in different fields, with mutual respect and support. This allowed for the most honest and self-reflective work that I have had the privilege of engaging with. The focus for much of the work that I listened to, was derived from, informed by and focused on the affective dimensions of Bourdieu’s concepts. Emotions seemed to be at the forefront of thought here, both in academia and as a frequent research finding. This was particularly evident in the keynotes.


Lisa Mckenzie discussed the stickiness and slipperiness of class habitus and in an individualised society, it has been left to working class to prove negative stereotypes do not belong to them and navigate the 101 ways symbolic violence hurts working class people. The talk was thought provoking, personal and honest.

Diane Reay’s inspiring autoethnographic keynote focused on the habitus of resistance and the enduring power of reproduction, within her talk (which she referred to as an intellectual strip tease), she discussed her dispositions of shame and inferiority, but one which was vehemently opposed to misplaced judgement, scrutiny and injustice. Her discussion of an activist theatre group is one which has inspired me on a profound level, so watch out, you might be recruited into a new sociological, political theatre troupe in the near future! Reay’s honesty and openness about her own journey and experiences of theory in action moved the room, she was met with a standing ovation.

The announcement that the BSA Bourdieu study group would hold an event in Diane’s honour ‘Habitus of a Lifetime’ in 2019 was one that moved many to tears, the appreciation of her work in the field and the wonderful woman herself was palpable. An event which is surely not to be missed.

The message, articulated succinctly by Louise Archer, that the focus of our work should be to “change the field, not the individual”, was, for me, the enduring notion that should not be forgotten and an endeavour that I intend to undertake within my own work. On the whole, the event was inspiring and has given me plenty of food for thought as I embark on my own academic path and begin my PhD. Thank you for organising an event that was all at once: intellectually stimulating, accessible, fun and where, perhaps most importantly – the wine was chilled! I can’t wait to see you next time.


Call For Delegates: Reproduction and Resistance 2018


Bourdieu Study Group 2nd Biennial International Conference 2018:

Reproduction and Resistance

Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University

10-12 July, 2018

Keynote Speakers Include:

Dr. Constantino Dumangane (Cardiff University), Dr. Sol Gamsu (University of Bath), Dr. Tracey Jensen (Lancaster University), Dr. Lisa McKenzie (Middlesex University), Professor Diane Reay (Cambridge University), Professor Derek Robbins (University of East London), Professor Mike Savage (London School of Economics), Professor Andrew Sayer (Lancaster University), Berenice Scandone (University of Bath), Dr Aina Tarabini (Autonomous University of Barcelona), Dr Derron Wallace (Brandeis University)

Building on the success of the first international conference held in Bristol, 2016, the British Sociological Association’s Bourdieu Study Group invite delegates for their second biennial international conference. The 2016 meeting was a truly international affair which brought together scholars, practitioners, and policy makers from as far as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, India, Chile, U.S., France, Germany, Finland and many more places. Keynotes and workshops were held across a wide number of areas of Bourdieusian inquiry which included lively debates on issues such as: ‘race’ and ethnicity; public sociology and activism; conceptualisation and uses of theory in research; methods and methodology; culture and taste; and the continued and contemporary relevance of Bourdieu.

The second international conference will convene at Lancaster University, 10th-12th July 2018. This conference looks to take forward some of the debates emerging from the 2016 event, but is also looking to engage in new themes related to Bourdieusian research and scholarship. The main theme for the conference is ‘Reproduction’ and ‘Resistance’. Although in some ways an age old debate, informed by notions of structure and agency, it is nonetheless an unsettled discussion within Bourdieusian understandings. Bourdieu’s work is often viewed as incompatible with theories of change and resistance, relying too much on sustained structures recycling inequalities, yet newer Bourdieusian scholars contend that his work allows for consideration of structural and individual social change, especially within a late neoliberal context.

Alongside a fantastic lineup of keynotes speakers, we have a full programme of interesting and diverse papers across a range of themes including:

  • Territorialization: space, place and gentrification
  • The State: power, (ig)nobility and politics
  • Symbolic Structures: violence, stigma and domination
  • Decolonising Bourdieu: ‘race’, ethnicity and migration
  • The ‘New’ Cultural Arbitrary? changing formations of cultural sociology
  • Educational Battle ‘Fields’: policy and practice
  • Body Work and the Work of the Body: physical, social and symbolic
  • Reclassification: employment, un-employment and underemployment
  • A Martial Art? Resistance and struggle


The conference will also include workshops with keynote speakers as well as a dedicated poster presentation session with a wine reception. We will be awarding a £200 prize for the best poster.

Useful Information:

The organisers cannot pay for participants’ travel. The following will be provided for all participants: Refreshments and lunch during the conference; an evening meal on the first and second night of the conference (with an option to include on site accommodation).


You can register for the conference here. There are three registration options. All options include full conference registration, we regret that we are unable to provide day rates at this time:

Option 1: Registration with two nights’ accommodation in Lancaster House Hotel providing 4* accommodation adjacent to the university campus. Additional nights can be included on request, family rooms are also available.

Option 2: Registration with two nights’ accommodation in 3* on campus accommodation Additional nights can be included on request.

Option 3: Registration only

Registration Fees Table:

Conference Fees + Lancaster House Hotel Conference Fees + Campus Accommodation Conference Fees (No Accommodation)
Non BSA Member £480.00 £410.00 £310.00
BSA Member £430.00 £360.00 £260.00
BSA Member Concession £380.00 £310.00 £210.00

Cancellations received up to and including 31st March 2018 will incur an administration fee of £50.

The Bourdieu Study Group cannot be held responsible for last minute changes to the advertised programme due to unforeseen circumstances.

For further information about this conference please contact the Bourdieu Study Group at:

For any help in relation to registration please contact the BSA at:

Attending the Bourdieu Study Group Event: Bourdieu, Aesthetics and the Body.


Blog post by Heather Mew

In November 2016 I was lucky enough to be awarded a travel bursary and free place to attend a BSA Bourdieu Study Group event entitled Bourdieu, Aesthetics and the Body.  The event was a stimulating day of discussions about the myriad of ways that Bourdieu’s theories can be applied to research within the social sciences, from the study of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to understanding the classed nature of fake tans.  The presentations helped introduce me to concepts such as habitus and hexis, something which I was previously unfamiliar with, and gave me food for thought with regards to my own PhD applications.

Inclusiveness and discussion were key aspects of BSA Bourdieu, Aesthetics and the Body, and the event organisers provided a space which facilitated open and critical discussion around the presentations.  Ideas were shared on a variety of themes, from the classed nature of beautification and bridal shop industries, to the ableist design of architecture which does not account for disabled bodies.  One paper explored the potential for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to become a space for the creation of new habitus, whilst another focussed on working class masculinity and the ways in which our bodies can be read and misread.  The central theme throughout all of the papers was the body – how do bodies present themselves, how are bodies interpreted, and who has the power and privilege to make judgements about others bodies?

My own research interests are concerned with how working class communities in the North East of England experience austerity and inequality, and how these communities might be resisting against this.  In the wake of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, both of which have been heralded as (white) working class protest votes, it is vitally important to understand how working class communities are resisting, and against what.

No cuts

Whilst I am relatively new to Bourdieu, my PhD applications draw heavily upon the works of Bev Skeggs and Lisa McKenzie, both of which have utilised Bourdieu’s theories to understand the experiences of working class communities in Manchester and Nottingham, respectively.  I recently bought myself a copy of Distinction, a sociological Christmas treat from me to me, and I look forward to engaging with Bourdieu’s theories first hand.


Inclusiveness within academia is an issue close to my heart, and I believe that offering bursaries to unwaged or low waged people is a vital step in making academia more inclusive to working class academics, such as myself.

I would like to once again thank the event organisers for this opportunity to critically engage with discussions around Bourdieu, Aesthetics and the Body.

Heather Mew is currently applying to do a PhD looking at resistance to austerity and inequality amongst working class communities in the North East of England.  She completed her MA in Geography Research Methods at Durham University, and her undergraduate degree in Human Geography at Queen Mary University of London.

For more information on the Bourdieu Study Group Travel Bursary and Free Place Scheme, please see here.

Bourdieu Study Group Free Places and Travel Bursary Scheme


The Bourdieu Study Group is delighted to announce the launch of its free place and travel bursary scheme!

The study group will be allocating 5 free places per event to delegates on low income, in addition we are providing 1 to 2 travel bursaries per event of up to £150.00 each. Delegates will be able to apply for these via an online application process and awardees will be selected at random. Successful applicants will only receive 1 travel bursary within a two year period.

Since the foundation of the BSA Bourdieu Study Group, we have been committed to making our events accessible to those who would otherwise not be able to afford to attend. The launch of this official scheme will help to widen the reach of this aim.

For more information on upcoming events and this scheme, please email Bourdieu Events at:



It has been quite a year for The Bourdieu Study Group. We would like to express gratitude towards all the Bourdieu Study Group members and the BSA who have supported us over the years and helped us build and grow.

We wish you all a happy holiday season and productive new year. You can read all about what the Bourdieu Study Group has been doing this year in the bourdieu-study-group-2016-newsletter

Bourdieu, Aesthetics and the Body


BSA Bourdieu Study Group Event


Monday 28th November 2016


What can Bourdieusian theory add to exploration of the body and its aesthetic and performative capacities? Bourdieu (1984) argued that the body is a socially shaped generator of divisions. The body bears the imprint of divisions as a result of a person’s social location, habitus and taste. The body has long been a bearer of symbolic value and this symbolic value is bestowed to particular bodily forms. With the legitimisation of certain bodily types over others, and unequal opportunities for people to produce symbolically valued bodily forms, the internalisation of images that others form of one selves – even when these are stereotypes – raises questions of self-identity. Bourdieu (1990, p.69) also argued that: ‘Symbolic power works partly through the control of other people’s bodies’. The ‘normalising’ of bodily practices and its cultivating capacities, as well as the commodification of the body in modern society, increases the body’s attachment to pre-existing social inequalities.

This event will bring together a range of sociologists who will open up discussions of the relevance of Pierre Bourdieu’s conceptions of the body to: identity work and performances of self along social lines and gender, the management and appearance of bodies within sport and the health/’beauty’ industry, and the applicability of Bourdieusian theory to the development of disability theory.


10.00-10.45 Registration and Refreshments
10.45-11.00 Introduction
11.00-11.40 Louise Rondel

The social and spatial distinctions of the spray tan

11.40-12.20 Carl Mallett (University of Warwick)

‘Exploring Habitus Through Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ): Ethnographic Reflections.’

12.20-12.40 Refreshments
12.40-13.20 Nicola Ingram (Lancaster University)

‘Bodily Hexis, Class and Masculinity’

13.20-14.20 Lunch
14.20-15.10 Karen Wilkes (Birmingham City University)

Middle class white womanhood and privileged within contemporary images of destination weddings in the Caribbean (provisional title)

15.10-15.50 Natalia Slutskaya (University of Sussex)

The Body Dances: Carnival Dance and Organization

15.50-16.10 Refreshments
16.10-17.20 Closing Keynote: Rob Imrie (Goldsmiths, University of London)

The relevance of Pierre Bourdieu’s conceptions of the body to the development of disability theory

17.20-17.30 Closing Remarks and Goodbye

This event costs £25 for BSA student members, £35 for BSA-members and £45 for non BSA members. Refreshments and lunch are included. Early booking is recommended as we anticipate this to be a popular event.

There will be 35 places available. Please note this event is nearly fully booked. To Register please go to the BSA Event’s Page

If you have any questions related to this event please contact: Jenny Thatcher: For further info contact:  or (0191) 383 0839. For more info about the BSA Bourdieu Study Group:

BSA Sociologists outside Academia meeting on ‘Practical Sociology: Agenda for Action’.

This is the notification for the BSA Sociologists outside Academia meeting on ‘Practical Sociology: Agenda for Action’.

It takes place on Monday 17 October, at the British Psychological Society meeting room, Tabernacle St, London EC1 from 12.30 to 4.30.

For the past year, the British Sociological Association (BSA) group Sociologists outside Academia has been focusing on the potential and possibility for practical sociology here in the UK.  We are convinced that sociology is essential not only for understanding the big problems that face society, but also the daily issues that need addressing at work, at home or in the community.  We believe sociologists have the concepts (like ‘cultural capital’ or ‘moral panic’), the theories (social mobility, socialisation) and detailed knowledge of organisations and human interactions that can address such everyday problems.

This workshop will be of interest to sociologists and others who are keen to see the application of sociological concepts, models and theories in practical settings in the public, private and third sectors.  Please come along and help us set an agenda for developing practical sociology.

For more information and to book a place (very small registration fee) see: