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Educational leadership and Pierre Bourdieu

Thomson, Patricia



Ruth McGinity

Helen Gunter


Pierre Bourdieu was one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. He argued for, and practiced, rigorous and reflexive scholarship, interrogating the inequities and injustices of modern societies. Through a lifetime’s explication of the ways in which schooling both produces and reproduces the status quo, Bourdieu offered a powerful critique and method of analysis of the history of schooling, and of contemporary educational polices and trends.

Though frequently used in educational research, Bourdieu’s work has had much less take up in Educational Leadership, Management and Administration. Educational Leadership and Pierre Bourdieu argues that ELMA scholars have much to gain by engaging more thoroughly with his work. The book explains each of the key terms in Bourdieu’s thinking tool kit, showing how the tripartite concepts of field, habitus and capitals offer a way through which to understand the interaction of structure and agency, and the limits on the freedom of an individual – in this case an educational leader – to act.

Educational Leadership and Pierre Bourdieu offers an analysis of dominant trends in ELMA research, examining the kinds of questions asked, projects undertaken and methods used. It provides alternative questions and methods based on a Bourdieusian approach, further readings and a range of exemplars of the application of these tools. The book will be of interest to those whose primary focus is the utility of Bourdieu’s social theory.


Thomson, P. (2016). Educational leadership and Pierre Bourdieu. Taylor & Francis (Routledge)

Book Type Authored Book
Online Publication Date Nov 3, 2016
Publication Date Nov 24, 2016
Deposit Date Dec 11, 2016
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Series Title Critical studies in educational leadership, management and administration series
ISBN 9780415603553
Public URL
Publisher URL