Monthly Archives: November 2012

Study Group Event: Gender and Bourdieu, “Is doing gender unavoidable?”

Forthcoming BSA Bourdieu Study Group event: Gender and Bourdieu, “Is doing gender unavoidable?”

Thursday 13th December 2012, School of Law and Social Science, University of East London

Bourdieu first entered the sociological discussion of gender relationships in the 1990s. In 1998 he published  La Domination masculine . Bourdieu argues that the relations between men and women are tied to masculine domination and that this masculine domination or habitus gives men and women a specific role in society.

Bourdieu’s work often causes divisions between feminists. Many argue that although he explored gender relations in his work he paid very little attention to feminist theory, focusing instead on gendering of taste or how structured sexual division of labour generates a sexually differentiated perspective on the world. However, others dispute this insisting that  his contribution has scarcely been recognized by feminists. They claim that one of Bourdieu’s most important insights is that gender is present in all social relationships.  Furthermore, Bourdieu’s work is valuable to feminist approaches because theoretical frameworks and political programmes are always embedded in social relations.

There has been a range of responses to Bourdieu from feminists and this event will aim to bring together different perspectives for discussion with key note speakers: Dr Catherine Hakim,  Dr Lisa Mckenzie and Professor Derek Robbins.

Dr Catherine Hakim is renowned for coining the term ‘erotic capital‘, referring to a person’s  combination of physical and social attractiveness and its power in all social interactions; in the workplace, politics and in public life generally, as well as in the invisible negotiations of private relationships. Her publication Honey-Money: The Power of Erotic Capital  has received large scale mainstream media attention. She has published extensively on changing patterns of employment, women’s employment and women’s position in society, occupational segregation and the pay gap. She sits on the Editorial Boards of several academic journals, including  the European Sociological Review and International Sociology

Dr Lisa Mckenzie’s research has focused upon class inequalities of men and women living on council estates within the UK, using a collaborative ethnographic approach whilst applying the work of Pierre Bourdieu, with particular influence relating to symbolic violence, capital exchange, and power relationships with neo-liberal structures. She currently holds an Early Years Leverhulme Research Fellowship at the University of Nottingham within the school of sociology and social policy. Her current research is a re-study of the 1970 Coates and Silburn St Anns ‘Poverty’ study, focusing upon the changing shapes of community, family, and belonging in contemporary Britain.

Prof Derek Robbins has long been one of the leading exponents of Pierre Bourdieu’s theories in the fields of sociology and is a favourite with the Bourdieu study group. He is Professor of International Social Theory at the University of East London, where he also is Director of the Group for the Study of International Social Science in the School of Law and Social Science. He is the editor of the four-volume collection of articles on Bourdieu in the Sage Masters of Contemporary Social Thought series (2000). His most recent publication: French Post-War Social Theory sets up a Bourdieusian investigation of the habitus of the five French social thinkers; Aron, Althusser, Foucault, Lyotard, Bourdieu.

As a study group, we’re always very interested in the new ways Bourdieu’s concepts can be applied and hope you will join us for what is likely to be a lively discussion.

The event will take place at the University of East London, Docklands Campus on Thursday 13th December 2012.

More details including how to book for the event will be placed here shortly.


10-30-11.00: Registration and tea and coffee
11.00-12.15: Dr Catherine Hakim key note speech
12.15-13.15: Lunch
13.15-14.30: Dr Lisa Mckenzie key note speech
14.30-14.45: Refreshments
14.45-16.00: Prof. Derek Robbins Key note speech: “La domination masculine and social constructionism”.
16.00-17.00: Discussions with key note speakers
17.00-17.30: Wine reception.

Please note that our last study group event sold out with a few days. To avoid disappointment please book early. Click here to book your place.

BSA members £20.00

Non BSA members £30.00


‘Bourdieusian’ or ‘Bourdieuian’

William Shakespeare once wrote ‘What’s in a name?’ Well quite a lot according to ‘Bourdieusian’ scholars – or is that ‘Bourdieuian’?

Over the last few months there has been some debate over whether the study group should set a precedent by using and recommending one version over another. This is what Professor Derek Robbins from the University of East London has to say on the issue:

‘I have never seen any French equivalent which would probably be ‘Bourdieusien’ or ‘Bourdieuien’.  However, in some circumstances it is clearly convenient to use a word which means something like ‘pertaining to Bourdieu’, although I don’t think there is any tendency to suggest a school in a way which would be analogous with ‘Durkheimian’.  It is my impression that, in English, a consensus is developing or has developed in favour of ‘Bourdieusian’ even though, in extremis, I originally preferred ‘Bourdieuian’… In so far as we are able to recommend common practice, therefore, I think we should go with the flow.’

For Dr Will Atkinson from the University of Bristol it’s all ‘French and ‘Googlegook’’:

‘The French tend to say ‘Bourdieusien(ne)’ (Google it on and it comes up, whereas Bourdieuien only comes up with junk), and of course the English equivalent of ‘ien(ne)’ is ‘ian’. I imagine the French insert the ‘s’ because of their concern for linguistic flow (hence the ‘liaison’ as they call it, or carrying of consonant sounds onto the beginning of words beginning with vowels, as they really don’t like consecutive vowel sounds). It certainly does sound nicer and clearer when spoken (and reads better too), and I’d say it’s become the most common usage in English – indeed, even Bourdieu himself (and his translators) used the ‘s’ version (p. 117 in The Legacy of Pierre Bourdieu), as has Loic Wacquant. To break with it and try to establish something else (without any particular conceptual change) therefore seems to make little sense other than as a strategy of distinction!’

However, co-convenor of the Bourdieu study group Dr Nicola Ingram from the University of Bath argues that if we were going to commit to the French way of doing things then why should we bother modifying  it to ‘ian’. On that logic we would use Bourdieusien. Furthermore,  English linguistic convention would mean we use Bourdieuian as she understands it. ‘Why use a word that conforms to neither French nor English convention? I do agree it is easier to say Bourdieusian.’ A point that Dr Sally Baker agrees with. ‘I originally used ‘Bourdieuian’ and then started using ‘Bourdieusian’ because people suggested that it was easier to pronounce (for English speakers at least!).’

Jon Dean from the University of Kent summed up the online debate stating: ‘Bourdieu said: ‘academic language is a dead language for the great majority of people’ (Academic Discourse, page 8). I hope he’d tell us not to worry!

However, the issue seems to return every so often and so contentious is it that the Bourdieu study group have started a online poll on the Bourdieu Study Group’s Facebook page.

But as Dr Ciaran Burke from the University Of Ulster and study group co-convenor points out: ‘Bourdieu said the most important answer in public opinion polls is ‘I don’t know’’.

New Publications

Class Inequality in Austerity Britain Power, Difference and Suffering 

Edited by Will Atkinson, Steven Roberts and Mike Savage

‘A timely and welcome attempt to make a public debate about enforced austerity and amplified
entitlements. Drawing on substantive research findings from experts across a wide range of fields,
the book is essential reading for those who want to understand what is really happening at the
moment. It reveals how it is not just the economy and politics that are being radically reshaped
but people’s hopes, desires and futures.’ – Beverley Skeggs, Professor of Sociology, Goldsmiths,
University of London, UK

About the Book

When the Coalition Government came to power in 2010 in claimed it would deliver not just
austerity, as necessary as that apparently was, but also fairness. This volume subjects this pledge
to critical interrogation by exposing the interests behind the policy programme pursued and their
damaging effects on class inequalities. Situated within a recognition of the longer-term rise of
neoliberal politics, reflections on the status of sociology as a source of critique and current debates
over the relationship between the cultural and economic dimensions of social class, the
contributors cover an impressively wide range of relevant topics, from education, family policy and
community to crime and consumption, shedding new light on the experience of domination in the
early 21st Century.

About the Editors

WILL ATKINSON is British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Sociology,
Politics and International Studies at the University of Bristol, UK.
STEVE ROBERTS is Lecturer in Social Policy and Sociology at the University of Kent, UK.
MIKE SAVAGE is Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science,
UK Visiting Professor at the Universities of Bergen, Norway and York, UK and Visiting Research
Fellow at the University of Manchester, UK.

50% Discourse with the below code and this 50% discount with this flyer
October 2012 Hardback £55.00  £27.50 978-1-137-01637-9

Available as ebook


Dear All,

Welcome to our new BSA Bourdieu Study Group website.

We aim to bring together researchers with varying interests this new group hopes to advance scholarly thought and debate in issues pertaining to Bourdieu’s theoretical approach.

The aims of the Bourdieu Study Group are:

– To encourage and support the discussion and application of Bourdieuian social theory within sociological research.
– To bring together researchers interested in a range of substantive areas to generate and consolidate theoretical knowledge.
– To facilitate networking and discussion through organized activities.
– To support postgraduate students who are engaging with Bourdieu.

You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us @bsabourdieusg