Bourdieu's Belief that Education within the Capitalist Society Promotes Social Stratification

Essay by mikepntUniversity, Bachelor'sC, November 2009

download word file, 9 pages 3.0

Bourdieu's work is considered as some of the deepest and most revealing in modern times. His ability to perceive the world in which he lives is extraordinary, displaying knowledge of many fields ranging from politics, anthropology, history and of course sociology. He focused, among other sociological aspects, on the sociology of education; central in his analysis of the topic is the perpetuation of class power through education. How this power is passed on and the ways to counteract the trend are the main issues of his argument. The analysis will focus on these themes; precisely on the hypocrisies of education within the capitalist society and how this efficiently and willingly leads to social stratification. Along with Bourdieu's angle of thought the views of other socially interested individuals will be examined; this is to better explain the Frenchman's concepts or to offer a different view.

It is essential when understanding such a capable mind and such concepts to contextualize these Bourdieuian ideas into the current situation of the time.

The political and social transition his country was going through played an important role in shaping the views of the French thinker.

In France in the 60's there was an undisputed need for social reconstruction and when de Gaulle rose to power he set off in doing just that. Soon it emerged, though, that the kind of reconstruction would be very different from that envisaged by the Left, which drew much inspiration from the revolutionary programme that was emerging in Algeria (Robbins, 1991). During the years in which Bourdieu was undertaking his educational research de Gaulle's political authority was consolidated. Bourdieu always showed a great interest in Algerian politics and social life. He drew many conclusions on how higher education and political change might be carried out by analyzing...