The Legacy of Pierre Bourdieu

The Legacy of Pierre Bourdieu

Critical Essays

Edited by Simon Susen & Bryan S. Turner

Key Issues in Modern Sociology

This volume explores the sociological legacy of the late Pierre Bourdieu through an examination of the intellectual division between his reception in the world of French social sciences and his reception in the Anglophone world.

Hardback, 470 Pages


April 2011

£80.00, $130.00

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About This Book

Pierre Bourdieu is widely regarded as one of the most influential sociologists of his generation, and yet the reception of his work in different cultural contexts and academic disciplines has been varied and uneven. This volume maps out the legacy of Pierre Bourdieu in contemporary social and political thought from the standpoint of classical European sociology and from the broader perspective of transatlantic social science. It brings together contributions from prominent scholars in the field, providing a range of perspectives on the continuing relevance of Bourdieu’s oeuvre to substantive problems in social and political analysis.

The first set of essays traces the roots of Bourdieu’s thought in classical sociology by closely examining his intellectual connections with the writings of Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Émile Durkheim. The second set of essays is concerned with Bourdieu’s relation to modern social philosophy, in particular with regard to the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Norbert Elias, Theodor W. Adorno, and Axel Honneth. The third set of essays explores the relevance of Bourdieu’s writings to key issues in the contemporary social sciences, such as the continuous presence of religion, the transformative power of social movements, the emancipatory potential of language, the political legacy of 1968, the socio-historical significance of the rise of the public sphere, and the social consequences of the recent and ongoing global economic crisis. The volume also contains a major interview with Bourdieu that has not been previously translated into, let alone published in, English.

By bringing together contributions from international scholars, the volume aims to initiate a fruitful dialogue across different sociological traditions and thereby stimulate further debate on the legacy of Pierre Bourdieu in social and political thought.


‘This is a very impressive and rich collection […] a major contribution to the rich field of Bourdieusian analysis’ —Elizabeth B. Silva, ‘Journal of Classic Sociology’

‘[Offers] ample evidence […] of the continuing influence of Pierre Bourdieu a decade after his death in 2002. […] The distinctive contribution of Susen and Turner’s collection is that half of its chapters discuss Bourdieu in relation to another theorist […].’ —Arthur W. Frank, ‘Canadian Journal of Sociology – Cahiers canadiens de sociologie’

‘This collection of critical essays attempts to map out the influential “legacy” of the work of Pierre Bourdieu.’ —Omar Lizardo, ‘Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews’

‘The individual contributions to this volume, it should be clear, have much to offer. On balance, this is a valuable contribution towards the critical appreciation of perhaps the most important sociologist of the past half century.’ —Mathieu Desan, ‘Thesis Eleven’ 

Author Information

Simon Susen is Lecturer in Social and Political Theory at Birkbeck College, University of London.

Bryan S. Turner is the Presidential Professor of Sociology and Director of the Committee on Religion at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and Director of the Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies, University of Western Sydney.


Key Issues in Modern Sociology

Table of Contents

‘Introduction: Preliminary Reflections on the Legacy of Pierre Bourdieu’, Simon Susen and Bryan S. Turner; ‘Between Structuralism and Theory of Practice: The Cultural Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu’, Hans Joas and Wolfgang Knöbl (Translated by Alex Skinner); ‘Pierre Bourdieu: Unorthodox Marxist?’, Bridget Fowler; ‘From Marx to Bourdieu: The Limits of the Structuralism of Practice’, Bruno Karsenti (Translated by Simon Susen); ‘Durkheim and Bourdieu: The Common Plinth and its Cracks’, Loïc Wacquant (Translated by Tarik Wareh); ‘With Weber Against Weber: In Conversation With Pierre Bourdieu’, Pierre Bourdieu, Franz Schultheis, and Andreas Pfeuffer (Translated by Simon Susen); ‘Bourdieu and Nietzsche: Taste as a Struggle’, Keijo Rahkonen; ‘Elias and Bourdieu’, Bowen Paulle, Bart van Heerikhuizen, and Mustafa Emirbayer; ‘Bourdieu and Adorno on the Transformation of Culture in Modern Society: Towards a Critical Theory of Cultural Production’, Simon Susen; ‘The Grammar of an Ambivalence: On the Legacy of Pierre Bourdieu in the Critical Theory of Axel Honneth’, Mauro Basaure; ‘Pierre Bourdieu and the Sociology of Religion’, Bryan S. Turner; ‘Bourdieu’s Sociological Fiction: A Phenomenological Reading of Habitus’, Bruno Frère; ‘Overcoming Semiotic Structuralism: Language and Habitus in Bourdieu’, Hans-Herbert Kögler; ‘Social Theory and Politics: Aron, Bourdieu and Passeron, and the Events of May 1968’, Derek Robbins; ‘Intellectual Critique and the Public Sphere: Between the Corporatism of the Universal and the “Realpolitik” of Reason’, Yves Sintomer; ‘Practice as Temporalisation: Bourdieu and Economic Crisis’, Lisa Adkins; ‘Afterword: Concluding Reflections on the Legacy of Pierre Bourdieu’, Simon Susen; Index of Names; Index of Subjects


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