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Customer reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars

on 26 June 2013
This text is well laid out, breaking down Bourdieu's work into contributions to practice theory, epistemological considerations on ethnography, and social theory.

The author openly admits to not fully understanding some concepts, which is both highly annoying and humanising at the same time, but the text provides a good introduction to PB and which groups of texts to read next. I disagree with some of the challenges put forward to PB's theories, they seem to be arguments against a different interpretation to that that I take from the descriptions. These points are not a problem for a reader who is able to think critically.
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on 23 January 2011
This work is hugely overrated, though it offers some accessible interpretations of a few of the concepts it pretty much stops there as a useful guide due to the fact that Jenkins does not really comprehend Bourdieu. In fact this work often used as a main text on the reading list of lecturers introducing students to Bourdieu has the horrible effect of putting them off him for all the wrong reasons. Jenkins at one point shows his complete lack of comprehension of Bourdieu's field theory by accusing Bourdieu of being ahistorical. He fails to see how Bourdieu's methodology actually is about change rather than simple reproduction. He fails to have any grasp of Bourdieu's theories of agency and the room for freedom in Bourdieu's societal model. At one point he follows up a reference to a key concept by Bourdieu about 'socioanalysis' with an admittance that he doesn't understand it. He doesn't even venture to try to understand this term. Socioanalysis which is central to Bourdieu's methodology and particularly the notions of reflexivity that are integral to his work play a massive part in understanding Bourdieu. Indeed the two final books by Bourdieu are done so as examples of socioanalysis (Yes publication of these books is after Jenkins 2nd ed publication however it shows how off the mark he is about such an important concept in Bourdieusian methodology).
It is not surprising however that these massive flaws are present in this text. Jenkins appears to have only read a few of Bourdieu's earlier works and ignored the rest. He concentrates largely on the work of Distinction - a brilliant piece however not completely representative of Bourdieu's work and a reading of it should never loose sight of the fact that it is based on a 60s France. Surely if you write a book on the work of a prestigious sociologist you at least take the time to read all of his works. In his preface to the 2002 edition Jenkins dismisses all the work of bourdieu since the first publication of his book by saying it is just more of the same (really" the weight of the world" is more of the same). This pretty much highlights Jenkins approach to his analysis of Bourdieu. In truth Jenkins is a lazy scholar and this shambolic interpretation is responsible for much of the misrepresentation of Bourdieu's work that continues throughout academia. Avoid at all costs as gaining the wrong interpretation of Bourdieu could cause one to miss out on one of the best means of reinterpreting and unravelling what Marxist theory refers to as False Consciousness
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on 22 June 2010
A good, but standard, short introduction type text to Pierre Bourdieu. Very helpfully laid out and easy but interesting to read.
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