Pierre Bourdieu (; 1 August 1930 – 23 January 2002) was a French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher.
Starting from the role of economic capital for social positioning, Bourdieu pioneered investigative frameworks and terminologies such as cultural, social, and symbolic capital, and the concepts of habitus, field or location, and symbolic violence to reveal the dynamics of power relations in social life. His work emphasized the role of practice and embodiment or forms in social dynamics and worldview construction, often in dialogue and opposition to universalized Western philosophical traditions. He built upon the theories of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Edmund Husserl, Georges Canguilhem, Karl Marx, Gaston Bachelard, Max Weber, Émile Durkheim, Erwin Panofsky, and Marcel Mauss. A notable influence on Bourdieu was Blaise Pascal, after whom Bourdieu titled his Pascalian Meditations.
Bourdieu rejected the idea of the intellectual "prophet," or the "total intellectual," as embodied by Sartre. His best known book is Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, in which he argues that judgments of taste are related to social position, or more precisely, are themselves acts of social positioning. His argument is put forward by an original combination of social theory and data from quantitative surveys, photographs and interviews, in an attempt to reconcile difficulties such as how to understand the subject within objective structures. In the process, he tried to reconcile the influences of both external social structures and subjective experience on the individual (see structure and agency).
Read more about Pierre Bourdieu: Life and Career, Influences, Bourdieu As Public Intellectual, Work, Bourdieu's Theory of Class Distinction, Bourdieu’s Theory of Power and Practice, Legacy, Selected Publications