There are a number of routes into Bourdieu’s published work. Perhaps the best place to start is his interview with Loic Wacquant: ‘Towards a Reflexive Sociology: A Workshop with Pierre Bourdieu’, Sociological Theory, vol. 7 (1989), pp. 26-63. Following this, you should look at Bourdieu’s In Other Words, Cambridge, Polity (1990), particularly Chapters 1, 2, 3, 8 and 13. Taken together, these provide, in his own words, accessible general introductions to Bourdieu’s work. Another important piece which does a similar job and has not yet been anthologised is, ‘Vive la crise! For Heterodoxy in Social Science’, Theory and Society, vol. 17 (1988), pp. 773-87.
Following this, there are some more specialised books and articles which are written in his most accessible style. My personal favourite is Algeria 1960, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press (1979); this includes the piece on the Kabyle house, which is also available in The Logic of Practice, Cambridge, Polity (1990), pp. 271-83. This is a classic example of structuralist analysis and not to be missed. Another paper which is deserving of classic status also provides the best short introduction to Bourdieu’s sociology of education and his theory of social and cultural reproduction: ‘Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction’, originally published in R. Brown (ed.), Knowledge, Education and Cultural Change, London, Tavistock (1973), can also be found in J. Karabel and A.H. Halsey (eds), Power and Ideology in Education, New York, Oxford University Press (1977). A good, brief introduction to some of Bourdieu’s epistemological arguments can be found in the ‘Introduction’ to Bourdieu, L. Boltanski, R. Castel and J.C. Chamboredon, Photography, Cambridge, Polity (1991). Lastly, there is Language and Symbolic Power, Cambridge, Polity (1991): the ‘Introduction’ and Chapters 1, 3 and 11 are particularly useful and unusually straightforward for Bourdieu.
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Publication information: Book title: Pierre Bourdieu. Contributors: Richard Jenkins - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1992. Page number: 182.
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