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Symbolic Power, Politics, and Intellectuals: The Political Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu by David L. Swartz (University of Chicago Press, 2013).

The multi-faceted work of Pierre Bourdieu, clearly one of the greatest post-World War II sociologists, has inspired much research in a wide variety of areas, such as culture, taste, education, theory, and stratification. ¬†Largely neglected, however, is the underlying political analysis in Bourdieu’s sociology, his political project for sociology, and his own political activism. Yet the analysis of power, particularly in its cultural forms, stands at the heart of Bourdieu’s sociology. Bourdieu challenges the commonly held view that symbolic power is simply “symbolic.” His sociology sensitizes us to the more subtle and influential ways that cultural resources and symbolic categories and classifications interweave prevailing power arrangements into everyday life practices. ¬†Indeed cultural resources and processes help constitute and maintain social hierarchies. And these form the bedrock of political life.

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