You are here

Bourdieu for Educators

Bourdieu for Educators
Policy and Practice

February 2015 | 144 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Educational change and reform on a larger scale  

Bourdieu for Educators: Policy and Practice brings the revolutionary research and thinking of Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) of France to public educational leaders in North America, Canada, Australia, and the U.K. This text brings Bourdieu’s work into the arena of elementary and secondary educational reform and change, and offers policy, research, and practice discussions. Authors Fenwick W. English and Cheryl L. Bolton use Bourdieu to challenge the standards movement in different countries, the current vision of effective management, and the open-market notion connecting pay to performance. The text shows that connecting pay to performance won’t improve education for the poorest group of school students in the U.S., Canada, or the U.K., regardless of how much money is spent trying to erase the achievement gap. The authors lay out the bold educational agenda of Pierre Bourdieu by demonstrating that educational preparation must take into account larger socioeconomic-political realities in order for educational change and reform to make an impact.
Chapter 1: Introducing Pierre Bourdieu to Educational Practitioners
Bourdieu’s Biography

Vielseitigkeit: What is Distinctive About Bourdieu

Understanding the Nature of Pedagogic Work as Political Struggle

The “Culture Wars” in the U.S. and the U.K.: Similarities and Differences

The Battle Over the Correct Academic Subjects and Proper Pedagogic Work

The Concept of Misrecognition and How It Works

Some History with Misrecognition in the Past

Building Awareness of the Forces at Play

Without New Eyes: The Blinders of Doxa as Orthodoxy

Bourdieu as the Public Intellectual, Activist and Provocateur

Chapter 2: Unmasking the School Asymmetry and the Social System
Bourdieusian Cornerstones

Bourdieu’s Concept of Habitus

An Example of Neighborhood Habitus

A Case Study of How Family Habitus Works to Shape Career Aspirations

The Intersection of Class, Social Space and the Field

An Example of a Field with Its Own Logic

The Cultural Arbitrary

The Plight of Minority Children Facing the Dominant Cultural Arbitrary in Schools

How the System Works as a Game

Who Benefits from Schools as They Are?

Illuiso and Unquestioned Loyalty to Continuing Orthodoxies

The Bounded Nature of Choice Within a Designated Social Space

Educational Inequalities Must Remain Unnamed

Connecting the Dots: The Importance of Family in School Success

The Challenge of Reducing Social Inequality as an Educational Goal

Chapter 3: The Curriculum, Qualifications and Life Chances
The Three Forms of Capital

Empirical Validation of the Impact of Social Capital on School Success

The Power of Cultural Capital and Bourdieu’s Own Experience as a Student

Schools as Institutionalized Embodiments of Forms of Cultural Capital

Capital, Power, Symbolic Violence, and Scholastic Habitus

Two Recent Examples of Symbolic Power (Violence) with School Curricula

Social Origin and School Success: Historical and Continuing Evidence of the Linkage Between Them

Academic Failure as the “Fault” of the Student?

Academic Credentials—Essential Capital?

The Hidden Curriculum, Cultural Values and Schooling Success

Calculating Life Chances: The Academic vs. Vocational Education Debate

The Issue of the Mal-Distribution of Opportunity

Chapter 4: The Shifting Control of Leadership Preparation
The Construction of National Leadership Standards in the U.K. and the U.S.

The Major Epistemological Steps Behind National Standards

Core Technologies and the Reification of the Status Quo

The Shifting Nature of the Contestation and Changer in Power in the Education Field

The De-Contextualization of School Leaders via Job Standardization

The Reformers Blinkered Vision for Change: They Just Don’t See It

Chapter 5: A Retrospective Look at Bourdieu’s Impact
The Social Field of Education is Not Static

Education Is Simultaneously a Means and an End

Schooling as the Cultural Arbitrary Demonizes Those who are “Otherized”

The Dominant Consumer Culture in Education Undermines Its Moral and Humanistic Value

Educational Reform Will Always Benefit and Advantage the Reformers

The Dilemma of School Leadership, Agent of the State or of Humanity?


The book is excellent. Dr. English and Cheryl L. Bolton do a masterful job in explaining how educational leadership is actually under attack by outside forces. The landscape has changed significantly due to political forces disguised by accreditation initiatives. [...] Bourdieu for Educators with the application of Dr. English's ideas and insights is absolutely essential reading and adoption for those wanting to rescue the field of educational leadership and administration from the "Billionnaires Boys Club" and many other destructive factions.

Dr. William Kritsonis
University of Texas of the Permian Basin

While this is an excellent exploration and evaluation of Bourdieu's impact on educational theory, it is somewhat dense for undergraduate students of education. It may be better suited to postgraduate students, especially those working around educational policy development and analysis.

Dr Louise Campbell
Moray House School of Education, Edinburgh University
September 26, 2016

This is a key reading for those interested in Bourdieu work. Helpful for students and academics

Miss Joana Ferreira Fonseca
School of Edu. Theology and Leadership, St Mary's University, Twickenham
April 5, 2016

Excellent resource for enhancing students' thinking of the educational philosophy on a higher level.

Mrs Liana Beattie
Faculty of Education (Ormskirk), Edge Hill University
December 11, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 3

For instructors

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781412996594

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.

SAGE Knowledge brings together high-quality content from across our imprints, including CQ Press and Corwin titles.