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date: 29 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Bourdieu’s contribution to the study of the academic field and intellectuals rests on a series of novel concepts and methodological rules. This chapter focuses on three. The first is Bourdieu’s use of history and the historical method, which he combined with sociology to produce a method for establishing critical distance between researcher and empirical object. The second is Bourdieu’s penchant for international comparisons. Contrary to the objections of critics, his studies drew frequent parallels between the intellectuals at the heart of his studies and their foreign counterparts—including Prussian intellectuals of the eighteenth century; German academics during the Weimar period; and contemporary Belgian, American, and German intellectuals. The third feature is Bourdieu’s insistence on an organic link between the study of the intellectual field and the study of the field of power. This link held the key, in his view, to the political and social commitments accompanying the intellectual role.

Keywords: Bourdieu, sociology, intellectual, academic, Weimar

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