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Bourdieu as education policy analyst and expert: a rich but ambiguous legacy

Abstract : This article focuses on Bourdieu’s contribution to the analysis and transformation of the field of education. It shows that, when closely examined, Bourdieu’s writings on education reveal not only one but at least three competitive or complementary policy theories. There is a common principle to all of them, that is the invisibility of policy, which is embedded in the cognitive classifications and everyday activity of institutions. Nevertheless, while the first theory is strongly deterministic, the other two leave some room for political and pedagogical action. This article also shows that Bourdieu has exerted an important influence, both directly and indirectly, on collective representations and collective dynamics of educational politics and policy in France. This influence has lasted despite the extremely varied positions he took throughout his life and work on the relation between science and politics from strong reluctance to commit himself at the beginning of his career to academic radicalism at the end.
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Agnès van Zanten. Bourdieu as education policy analyst and expert: a rich but ambiguous legacy. Journal of Education Policy, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2005, 20 (6), pp.671 - 686. ⟨hal-01521689v2⟩

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