The visual sociology of Pierre Bourdieu: parallels and sympathetic method in the work of Bourgois and Schonberg

Adam Rajcan, Edgar A. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article considers photographic practice as a method of inquiry in Pierre Bourdieu’s early trans-Mediterranean studies and in the ethnographic work of Philippe Bourgoisand Je" Schonberg in the United States. This juxtaposition reveals striking similarities in how these authors employ photo-ethnographic inquiry in their empirical research projects and points to the fact that both the French theorist and Bourgois and Schonberg utilise a large photographic archive for theoretical parsing and further conceptual development at various stages of their intellectual journeys. The article further illuminates what visual methods may add to textual explanations of habitus beyond simple illustration and considers some problems that might arise theorising from photo-ethnographic work generally, and more particularly among marginalised members of society. The article highlights Bourdieu, Bourgois and Schonberg’s strong commitment to using habitus, attentive to seeing beyond conventional and official explanations, in parallel, long-term, sympathetic integration of their photographic and conceptual evidence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-65
Number of pages14
JournalCzech and Slovak Journal of Humanities
Volume2020
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

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