The sociology of Pierre Bourdieu and researching education policy

Shaun Rawolle, Bob Lingard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    108 Citations (Scopus)


    Bourdieu did not write anything explicitly about education policy. Despite this neglect,we agree with van Zanten that his theoretical concepts and methodological approaches can contribute to researching and understanding education policy in the context of globalisation and the economising of it. In applying Bourdieu's theory and methodology to research in education policy, we focus on developing his work to understand what we call 'cross-field effects' and for exploring the emergence of a 'global education policy field'. These concepts are derived from some of our recent research concerning globalisation and mediatisation of education policy. The paper considers three separate issues. The first deals with Bourdieu's primary 'thinking tools', namely practice, habitus,capitals and fields and their application to policy studies. The second and third sections consider two additions to Bourdieu's thinking tools, as a way to reconceptualise the functioning of policy if considered as a social field. More specifically, the second section develops an argument around cross-field effects, as a way to group together, research and describe policy effects. The third section develops an argument about an emergent global education policy field, and considers ways that such a field affects national education policy fields.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)729-741
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Education Policy
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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