What tools can we use in attempting to understand the recurring patterns of some girls’ early school leaving and consequent exclusion from well-paid employment? From which disciplinary fields can we take them? Using Bourdieu’s concept of the ‘scholastic point of view’ - the inherent intellectual bias of a discipline, in his case sociology - as a springboard, we suggest that if one turns to different ‘fields’, approaches might be found which point towards differing perspectives. This article brings Bourdieu into dialogue with the work of feminist historians and their conceptual tools. Carolyn Steedman’s notion of the politics of envy and Sally Alexander’s appropriation from psychoanalysis of the idea of repetition offer generative ways of exploring the ‘unthought categories of thought which delimit the thinkable and predetermine the thought’ (Bourdieu and Wacquant, 1992: 40). In their focus on gender, they have much in common with feminist sociologists’ responses to Bourdieu’s work, suggesting that a gendered ‘perspective’ offers a way of avoiding the ‘singular viewpoint’ inherent in any one discipline.
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