Programme: The contemporary relevance of the work of Pierre Bourdieu



The contemporary relevance of the work of Pierre Bourdieu

BSA Bourdieu Study Group’s Inaugural Biennial Conference 2016

Organised in association with the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

University of Bristol

4-6 July 2016

The Programme for this event is now available

Delegates’ book of abstracts is also available

Pierre Bourdieu has been one of the most influential sociologist of the second half of the 20th Century. His work, which has been translated into more than 24 languages, has had a significant impact on contemporary sociology internationally. Bourdieu’s importance shows no signs of decreasing as newer generations of sociologists unpack and expand his theoretical framework to a wide range of present-day sociological issues and case studies. Nonetheless, previous arguments repeatedly seem to resurface on whether Bourdieu’s ideas – developed over 50 years in a different era and the specific context of France – are empirically persuasive today.

From its establishment in 2012, the British Sociological Association’s (BSA) Bourdieu Study Group has sought to critically examine and extend the application of Bourdieusian social theory in contemporary research. This conference aims to further this endeavour by bringing together international researchers from different areas of inquiry and stages of career who are using Bourdieu. Through doing so, this two day event will highlight and pull together the various complementary ways in which Bourdieu’s intellectual heritage is being developed internationally.


Keynote Speakers: 


Professor Derek Robbins

Opening keynote: ‘Bourdieu and Heidegger: epistemology, ontology and social science’


Derek Robbins is Emeritus Professor of International Social Theory in the School of Social Sciences at the University of East London. He is the author  of The Work of Pierre Bourdieu (Open University Press, 1991), Bourdieu and Culture (Sage, 2000), On Bourdieu, Education and Society (Bardwell Press, 2006) and French Post-War Social Theory:  International Knowledge Transfer (Sage, 2011); the editor of two 4-volume collections of articles on Bourdieu in the Sage Masters of Contemporary Social Thought series (2000, 2005)) and of a 3-volume collection of articles on Lyotard in the same series (2004). He has also published many articles and book chapters on the work of Bourdieu. He edited and introduced Jean-Claude Passeron’s Sociological Reasoning, published by Bardwell Press in March, 2013. His most recent book is Cultural Relativism and International Politics, published by Sage in 2015. He is editing and contributing to the volume on Bourdieu in the Anthem Companions to Sociology series, scheduled for publication in 2016, and he is currently writing Bourdieu and Social constructionism (provisional title) for publication by Manchester University Press.


Professor Elizabeth Silva

Closing keynote



Elizabeth Silva is a Professor of Sociology in the Faculty of Social Sciences, The Open University. She is also the Director of the Centre for Citizenship, Identity and Governance (CCIG). Elizabeth current research interests are in Sociology and Culture. These encompass (1) Social Connections and Social Divisions particularly those of gender and class and (2) the connections between the Material (objects / technologies) and Social Relations, particularly in the contemporary context of the home and family life, art objects and museums. Feminist theories have informed these interests. Research methodologies have been central to my concerns (qualitative approaches of focus groups, interviews, ethnographies and visual explorations, as well as quantitative survey methods. She also engages with exploration of how different approaches and cross cultural and cross national comparisons complement the creation and understanding of social ‘realities’.

Elizabeth is currently developing a project on ‘Exhibiting Social Change’ based on visual art engagements with the narratives of the Brazilian dictatorship violence and imagination for the future.


Discussant for the closing keynote

Dr Michaela Benson


Michaela Benson is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths. An ethnographer by training, she has a longstanding interest in the intersections of space, society and the individual and have contributed significantly to two fields of research (1) the sociology of migration and (2) class, identity, and belonging, with her unique expertise lying at the intersections of these fields. Michaela Benson is known for her research on privileged migration—in particular lifestyle migration—and processes and practices of middle-class formation; she maintains a longstanding commitment to theoretically-informed ethnography. She is the author of The British in Rural France (MUP, 2011), co-author of The Middle Classes and the City (Palgrave, 2015), and articles in journals including The Sociological Review, Sociology, Mobilities, Migration Studies and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Michaela Benson is currently deputy editor of The Sociological Review and associate editor of Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.


Keynote Panel: Bourdieu in Educational Research:

Social Class, ‘Race’ and Ethnicity


Professor Gill Crozier


Gill Crozier is Professor of Education in the Department of Education, Roehampton University. She took up her post in December 2008 as Assistant Dean Research, having come from the University of Sunderland where she was also Professor of Education and Head of Research, in the School of Education and Lifelong Learning.

Gill Crozier is a Sociologist of Education and her work has focused on ‘race’ and its intersection with social class and gender. She has researched extensively issues relating to parents and schools, and young people, and is also concerned with education policy, and the socio-cultural influences upon identity formation and learner experiences. She is an active member of the international organisations the European Network About Parents and Education and USA John Hopkins University based School, Family and Community Partnerships: International Network of Scholars.

Gill Crozier is an experienced teacher both in school and Higher Education. She began her career as a secondary school English teacher, teacher of English as an Additional Language and advisory teacher on multicultural education. She worked in schools for twelve years prior to taking up her first academic post in Higher Education at Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England).

As a teacher in schools and then as an academic through her research, she has been active in social justice and equalities issues. She has developed a critique of discriminatory structures and organisation in the education system and discriminatory practices at classroom as well as policy level. She is committed to opening up access to Higher Education and other educational opportunities and supporting students to access opportunities within the organisation, as well as to the organisation.

Professor David James


David James is Professor in the School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, and Director of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-commissioned Wales Doctoral Training Centre. He is Chair of the Executive Editors of the British Journal of Sociology of Education, and an elected member of the Council of the British Educational Research Association.  His view is that failing a key examination at the age of 11 was the most significant educational event in his life, setting him firmly on a non-academic educational trajectory.  At the same time he thinks that the conventional ‘late developer’ explanation for his later academic success is nothing more than a convenient fiction and a refusal to see the world sociologically. In the late 1970s he left his day job (clerical work in local government) and his night job (musician) to become a mature student, gaining a first class degree in social sciences at Bristol University. He went on to teach sociology and psychology in Further Education colleges until the late 1980s, when he moved into higher education in the (then) Bristol Polytechnic.  He completed a part-time PhD in 1996. His research covers curriculum, learning and assessment in schools, further and higher education and the relationship between educational policy/practice and social inequality.  He has been responsible for many research projects and evaluations, including co-directing two ESRC-funded projects.  Books include Bourdieu and Education (1998, with Grenfell), The Creative Professional (1999, with Ashcroft), Improving Learning Cultures in FE (2007, with Biesta) and White Middle Class Identities and Urban Schooling (2011 & 2013, with Reay & Crozier). More of his work can be seen at or at


Professor Tariq Modood


Tariq Modood is Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy and the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol and the co-founder of the international journal, Ethnicities. He was awarded a MBE for services to social sciences and ethnic relations in 2001 and was elected a member of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK) in 2004. He served on the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain, the National Equality Panel, and the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life. His latest books include Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea (2nd ed; 2013); and as co-editor Multiculturalism Rethought (2015) and and Multiculturalism and Interculturalism: Debating the Dividing Lines (2016).

His website is

Tariq Modood is the founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship at the University of Bristol and the co-founder of the international journal, Ethnicities. He was awarded a MBE for services to social sciences and ethnic relations in 2001 and was elected a member of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK) in 2004. His latest books include Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea (2nd ed; 2013); and as co-editor Multiculturalism Rethought (2015) and and Multiculturalism and Interculturalism: Debating the Dividing Lines (2016). His website is

Dr Nicola Rollock


Dr Nicola Rollock is Deputy Director of the Centre for Research in Race & Education at the University of Birmingham. She is interested in understanding race in British society and how racially minoritised groups navigate and survive racism. She is author of The Colour of Class: the educational strategies of the Black middle classes which documents how Black middle class families work to navigate their children successfully through the education system and Editor of a new journal – Whiteness & Education – which launched in April 2016. Dr Rollock is a passionate champion of race equality in higher education. She is a Patron of the Equality Challenge Unit’s Race Equality Charter and a member of the British Educational Research Association (BERA) Council.  She was recognized, in 2015, as a Woman of Achievement by the Women of the Year Council for her work on race equality.

Dr Derron Wallace



Derron Wallace is a sociologist of education, ‘race’ and ethnicity whose research focuses on inequalities and identities in urban schools and neighbourhoods. His current work examines the educational outcomes of working class and middle class Black immigrants in global cities like London and New York City. He is author of forthcoming pieces in Sociology, Critical Justice Review, and Culture, Society and Masculinities. His co-edited volume Masculinity and Aspiration in the Era of Neoliberal Education (Routledge) is slated to published later this year. A recent graduate of the University of Cambridge, Derron Wallace is an assistant professor of sociology, education and African diaspora studies at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, USA.


Keynote panel: Using Bourdieu to Understand Contemporary Social Class


Dr Will Atkinson


Will Atkinson has a broad interests in class inequalities and differences, whether in education, work, culture, politics or self-perception, as part of a larger general concern with systems of power and domination. He works closely with the social theory of Pierre Bourdieu in this regard, though with a phenomenological twist.

Will Atkinson is the author/editor of Class, Individualization and Late Modernity: In Search of the Reflexive Worker (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), Class Inequality in Austerity Britain (with Steven Roberts and Mike Savage, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and Class (Polity, 2015). He is currently working on two book projects, one reporting on research into the social class structure of 21st century Britain and how it’s experienced and reproduced (or not) in everyday family life, and another, fed by the research underpinning my first book, exploring the possibility of pushing Bourdieu’s ideas toward becoming a ‘relational phenomenology’.

Professor Diane Reay


Diane Reay is Professor of Education at Cambridge University. She is a sociologist working in the area of education but is also interested in broader issues of the relationship between the self and society, the affective and the material. Her priority has been to engage in research with a strong social justice agenda that addresses social inequalities of all kinds.

Her research has a strong theoretical focus and she is particularly interested in developing theorisations of social class and the ways in which it is mediated by gender and ethnicity. This has resulted in researching areas as diverse as boys’ underachievement, Black supplementary schooling, higher education access, female management in schools, and pupil peer group cultures.

Research projects include a study of children’s relationships to space and place in the city, a project on parental involvement in education and research which develops Pierre Bourdieu’s conceptual framework in order to understand gendered and racialised class processes. Recently completed ESRC-funded projects include ones on children’s transitions to secondary schooling , choice of higher education, and students’ identities and participation as learners. She is currently directing an ESRC project which examines white, middle class identities through an exploration of educational choice. Professor Reay has supervised PhD students across a wide range of areas including Jewish women teachers, psycho-analytic approaches to social class, pupil peer group cultures in primary schools and parental involvement in nurseries.

As well as being an executive editor of British Journal of Sociology of Education, she is on the editorial boards of  the Journal of Education Policy and Cultural Sociology.


Discussant: Professor Harriet Bradley


Harriet Bradley is a Professor of Women’s Employment in Faculty of Business and Law (FBL) University West of England (UWE). Before joining UWE she was Professor of Sociology at the University of Bristol where she remains a Professor Emerita.  She also holds an Honary Professorship at Bath University and is an Honary Doctor at Karlstad University in Sweden.

Harriet’s research interests are broad and varied. She has a general interest in work and change and structures of inequality. She has written and researched on a variety of topics: women’s work in the labour market and the household; women and reproduction; gender and ethnicity in Trade Unions; young people’s life histories and employment; intersections of class, ethnicity and gender. She has held a number of grants from a variety of funders: ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, Joseph Rowntree Fund, ESF and the EOC.  Her current 2 projects are qualitiative studies of class inequalities, one focusing on families, the other on higher education.  She has a current strong interest in the impact of the recession on women and young people.


Keynote Panel: Bourdieu, Activism and Public Sociology

Dr Joseph Ibrahim


Joseph is a political sociologist who has research interests in social and political theory, political mobilisations, collective action and community values. His research to date has been focused on the political culture and dynamics of consensus and conflict within groups, and his areas of expertise straddle sociology and politics. He has recently completed projects on the application of social theory for understanding social movement dynamics, the politics of the alternative globalization movement, student politics and protests, and social movement emergence after the global financial crash.

Joseph has published widely in the areas of his expertise including a sole authored monograph, numerous peer reviewed (high impact and high quality) journal articles, and he has been the guest editor of two special issues of the journal Contention: The multidisciplinary journal of social protest. He currently sits on the editorial review board of the book series Transforming Capitalism: Rowman and Littlefield publishers. He has reviewed book proposals for Routledge publishers as well as numerous papers for a range of journals including Antipode, Contemporary Social Science, Contention, Social Movement Studies, and Policing and Society.


Dr Lisa Mckenzie   


Lisa Mckenzie is a research fellow in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics. Lisa is a researcher and an educator who is keen to develop research proposals, community collaborations and student projects focusing upon class inequality using a collaborative ethnographic approach. She is particularly interested in how research, teaching and community engagement can collaborate in paradigms of social justice through the use of higher education, and innovative research methodology.

Lisa Mckenzie’s most recent research has focused upon ‘masculinity and belonging within poor neighbourhoods’. An extension of the research from my PhD, an ethnographic study of the St Ann’s council housing estate in Nottingham focusing upon white mothers to mixed race children. Consequently my scholarly interests range widely, the theoretical influence within the PhD and the later research on masculinity was the work of Pierre Bourdieu, with particular influence relating to symbolic violence, capital exchange, and power relationships within neo-liberal structures.

Lisa Mckenzie’s research interests are the continuation and development of research proposals focusing upon class inequality and council estates within the UK. This especially relates to those communities who are presently living through a period of adversity, as the consequences of the UK’s austerity measures have major impacts upon public services, housing and welfare entitlements.


Workshop Leaders

Dr Ciaran Burke


Workshop leader for The social space: fields (co-led with Dr Will Atkinson)

Dr. Ciaran Burke is a co-founder and co-convenor of BSA Bourdieu Study Group.  He is a lecturer in Sociology at Plymouth University and author of Culture, Capitals and Graduate Futures: degrees of class.  His research interests apply Bourdieusian social theory to a number of aspects within labour studies including: graduate employment transitions, critical organization studies, labour market inequalities and employability provision within higher education.

Dr Sam Friedman

Sam F

Workshop leader for Taste, culture, and distinction (co-led with Dr Daniel Laurison)

Sam Friedman is Assistant Professor in Sociology at the London School of Economics. He has written widely on class and culture and is the author of Comedy and Distinction: The Cultural Currency of a ‘Good’ Sense of Humour (Routledge, 2014). His current research, funded by an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant, examines social mobility into Britain’s elite occupations. The most recent article to emerge from this work, forthcoming in the American Sociological Review (with Daniel Laurison), demonstrates that those from working-class backgrounds face a powerful and previously unrecognised ‘class pay gap’  within higher professional and managerial occupations.

Dr Nicola Ingram


Workshop leader for Bourdieu’s philosophy of action: habitus (co-led with Prof Diane Reay) and Bourdieu and Feminism (co-led with  Prof Elizabeth Silva and Dr Michaela Benson)

Nicola Ingram is a lecturer in Social Justice and Education at Lancaster University, before which she was a lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bath. She is co-investigator of the Paired Pairs project. Nicola’s interests are in classed and gendered inequalities in education and she has published widely in this area. In particular her work utilizes and develops Bourdieusian theory in order to analyse and understand processes of inequality. She is co-convenor of the British Sociological Association’s (BSA) Bourdieu Study Group and BSA Education Study Group. Her recent co-edited book brings together her interest in social inequalities and Bourdieusian theory:

Thatcher, J., Ingram, N., Burke, C., and Abraham, J. (2016) Bourdieu: the next generation. The development of Bourdieu’s intellectual heritage in contemporary UK sociology (in BSA Sociological Futures series, published by Routledge).

Dr Daniel Laurison


Workshop leader for How to interpret a multiple correspondence analysis (co-led with Dr Will Atkinson) and Taste, culture, and distinction workshop (co-led with Dr Sam Friedman) 

Daniel Laurison is a post-doctoral research fellow in Sociology at the London School of Economics. He studies class, culture, and politics in various combinations, and is especially interested in the relationship between social position and how people see and understand the world around them and how that facilitates the reproduction of social inequality. He is a co-author of the recent book Class in the 21st Century and has published or forthcoming articles in Sociological Forum, Sociological Review, and American Sociological Review. Starting in Autumn 2016, he will be an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College, in the United States.

Professor Gregor McLennan


Workshop leader for Bourdieu’s epistemology and the principle of reflexivity (co-led with Prof Derek Robbins)

Gregor McLennan is Professor of Sociology and Head of the school of Sociology, Politics and International Studies at the University of Bristol. He is the author of Marxism and the Methodologies of History; Marxism Pluralism and Beyond; Pluralism; Sociological Cultural Studies: Reflexivity and Positivity in the Human Sciences; and Story of Sociology. Gregor’s recent articles have been on the challenges posed to critical sociology by postcolonialism and postsecularism, and he is currently writing on the late Stuart Hall as an intellectual mediator. Gregor teaches courses on social theory and philosophies of the social sciences.



Delegates have a choice of two workshops. Workshops include:

Workshop 1:

Bourdieu’s epistemology and the principle of reflexivity

(Prof D Robbins and Prof G McLennan)

Workshop 2

Bourdieu’s philosophy of action:


(Professor Diane Reay and Dr Nicola Ingram)

Workshop 3

The social space: fields

(Dr Will Atkinson, and Dr Ciaran Burke)

Workshop 4

How to interpret a multiple correspondence analysis

(Dr W Atkinson and Dr D Laurison)

Workshop 5

Bourdieu and public sociology

(Dr L McKenzie and Dr J Ibrahim)

Workshop 6

Taste, culture, and distinction

(Dr S Friedman and Dr D Laurison)

Workshop 7

Bourdieu and Feminism

(Prof Elizabeth Silva, Dr Michael Benson and Dr Nicola Ingram)

Workshop 8

Using Bourdieu in Educational Research

(Prof H Bradley and Prof G Crozier)



The following will be provided for all participants: Refreshments and lunch during the conference; an evening meal on Monday 4th July and the second night of Tuesday 5th July.

BSA Concessionary Member Registration £220.00
BSA Member Full Conference Registration £260.00
Non-Member Full Conference Registration £290.00


To register please click here


Useful Information

The organisers cannot pay for participants’ travel and accommodation.

The Bourdieu Study Group cannot be held responsible for unforeseen circumstances that change the advertised programme.


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