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:


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