This Critical Reader provides a new perspective on the work of France's foremost social theorist Pierre Bourdieu, by examining its philosophical import and promoting a fruitful dialogue between Bourdieu and philosophers in the English-speaking world.
The contributors include leading philosophers who critically assess Bourdieu's philosophical theories and their significance from diverse philosophical perspectives to reveal which dimensions of his thought are the most useful for philosophy today. These discussions also raise important questions about the current institutional limits of philosophy and how those limits may be overcome through a more robust alliance with the social sciences and the practical social world.
The contributions cover Bourdieu's use of central figures in the Anglo-American philosophical tradition; his relationship to analytical philosophy and pragmatism through his concept of habitus; his position in twentieth-century continental philosophy; the political dimension of his work; the function and limits of his notion of "the field"; and the relation of his explanatory models to new directions in the philosophy of science. The book also discusses some of his most recent writing not yet translated into English, and it concludes with a chapter by Bourdieu in which he analyses the diverse structural problems and the transformations involved in importing intellectual ideas from one national field to another. The volume also offers a specially prepared comprehensive bibliography of Bourdieu's publications in French and English from 1958 to 1998.