Beginning in 2016, this is the fifth incarnation of the reading group run by PhD students. The reading group was formed in light of an increasing interest in the works of Pierre Bourdieu, which has been widely applied to educational research. Bourdieu’s seminal texts include The Reproduction (1977), The Inheritors (1979), An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology (1992), and The State Nobility (1996), to name a few. With these works in mind, this reading group continues to appraise Bourdieu’s scholarship by providing a platform for doctoral students to apply Bourdieu’s concepts to perennial issues of education, such as social mobility, educational inequality, parental education, etc.

For the Autumn Term of this academic year, we will be focusing on Bourdieu’s [1979] (1986) Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste. This classical text, translated by Richard Nice into English, builds on Bourdieu’s previous work on the theory of practice – comprising field, capital, doxa, and habitus – to account for the persistence of social inequalities, including educational inequality. The book further elaborates on the concept of habitus and illustrates how it manifests itself through (cultural) taste, which legitimises the working- and ruling-class divide. Bourdieu’s conceptual armoury, to a large extent, has laid the foundation for educational research on schooling, curriculum, and social stratification.

Given the situation of the pandemic and the current teaching arrangements, this reading group will be conducted online through Zoom. This reading group is open to IOE students of various research stages; prior knowledge on Bourdieu’s work is not necessary. Instead, the only requirements are engagement and a shared interest in Bourdieu’s works – completing the designated readings and asking though-provoking questions during discussions.