Category Archives: General Sociology

Bourdieu, Legitimacy and Photography

I can’t resist another brief word on Bourdieu and photography. His Photography: A Middle-brow Art concentrates mainly on those who take photographs, according to what social and psychological patterns, with what predictability, and why. But he pauses to consider how photography – that is, French photography in the early 1960s – fares in the extant… Read More »

Disraeli’s ‘Two Nations’

I hadn’t realized that Disraeli was an accomplished novelist prior to entering parliament. Born in 1804, he didn’t go to university, instead benefiting from his father’s extensive library. He spent some time in a lawyer’s office but found neither career nor refuge there, turning instead to writing. Vivian Grey was written when he was 22 and won him a… Read More »

Sociology and Photography

I have long had an interest in photography and in its potential as a tool of sociological research. I have in mind in particular ‘deploying’ photos on cafe and bar society. Having found my copy of Bourdieu’s Photography: A Middle-brow Art amidst piles of tomes in my home study, my enthusiasm has again come to… Read More »

Assessing the ‘Social Value’ of Occupations

When reading Owen Jones’ Chavs a while back I made a mental note of a reference he made to an attempt to assess the ‘value to society’ of a range of different occupations. Belatedly I’ve followed up. The reference was to a document produced in 2009 by the New Economics Foundation (NEF). In this blog… Read More »

Bourdieu and the Structuring of Agency

I have long been of the view that theorists and theories overlap and that being overly faithful to any particular ones can constrain and even lead one astray (this notwithstanding the regular use I have made of the likes of Habermas, Bhaskar and Archer). What each theorist must do is: (a) come to terms with,… Read More »

Bourdieu in Paris: Universities and a ‘Habitus of Compliance’

There are few more amenable groups to belong to than those run by my Norwegian friends and colleagues, and few more attractive places to meet than the student quarter in Paris. My brief was open but I chose to talk about the potential for a macro- through meso- to micro-sociological analysis of the deleterious changes… Read More »

Badiou on the World’s Destitute

In his latest offering, Our Wound is not so Recent, Badiou rightly insists that there is a salient, explanatory history to ‘terrorist attacks’ such as that in Paris on 13 November 2015. He writes: ‘… there are some fundamental figures that everyone should know, that everyone should have at hand, figures that underlie what we… Read More »

Facing up to Obstacles to Social Mobility

This is (most of) the concluding paragraph of Geoff Payne’s The New Social Mobility, and it warrants drawing to people’s attention: The problem is that policies that would work quickly and powerfully are politically unpalatable. Resistance to reforms aiming to improve gender equality in pay and employment, especially in the higher reaches of companies, provides… Read More »

Twitter, Blogs: 200th Blog. What!

As I approached retirement, my daughter Rebecca suggested I give thought to tweeting and blogging. I did, and they seemed infinitely better options than growing and entering shapely vegetables in the village show. My first blog, actually a year in advance of my leaving UCL, was on 30th October 2012. It was on what was… Read More »

Sociology and Stigma: An Overview

This is a revised version of an item written for Bill Cockerham’s Encyclopaedia of Medical Sociology a while back. Stigma, I noted somewhat uncontroversially, denotes the presence of an attribute that discredits its possessor. Since it is evident such attributes have varied by time and place, it is apparent that stigma and stigmatization necessarily involve… Read More »