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Researching social inequalities in education : towards a Bourdieuian methodology
journal contributionposted on 2007-07-01, 00:00 authored by C Mills, Trevor Gale
The injustices of ‘allowing certain people to succeed, based not upon merit but upon the cultural experiences, the social ties and the economic resources they have access to, often remains unacknowledged in the broader society’ (Wacquant, 1998, p. 216). Cognizant of this, the authors argue that education requires researchers’ renewed examination and explanation of its involvement in the construction of social and economic differences. Specifically, they make the case for researchers to consider the theoretical work of Pierre Bourdieu, outlining what they understand by a Bourdieuian methodology, which is informed by socially critical and poststructural understandings of the world. Such methodology attempts to dig beneath surface appearances, asking how social systems work. By asking ‘whose interests are being served and how’ (Tripp, 1998, p. 37) in the social arrangements we find, Bourdieu can help us to ‘work towards a more just social order’ (Lenzo, 1995, p. 17).