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How do we come to know our place?

This is the question Douglas Robertson asks in his recently published article Knowing Your Place: The Formation and Sustenance of Class-Based Place Identity. Robertson utilises Bourdieu’s theory of practice in an attempt to understand the role of place in the formation of class identities, using empirical data generated from studies in the Scottish city of Stirling. Here’s […]

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Where do you go beyond structure and agency?

In his book The structure of social theory, Anthony King argues that understandings  of society need to go beyond the restrictive dualism of structure and agency – a dualism that according to him takes us too far away from human relations and leaves sociology marooned in the mythical state of the lone individual. Contemporary social […]

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Knowing Your Place Uncategorized

The Silent Markers of Desire and Disgust

In so much of the research on class influenced by Bourdieu, there is clear evidence of a more complex relational cartography, a world of ‘horizontal’ relations that, while mostly unacknowledged, act as a counterpoint to the standard ‘verticalising’ of relational activity so beloved of Bourdieu and his devotees. This is especially the case in accounts […]

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In the Eye of the Beholder

The most serious criticism faced by Axel Honneth and his attempt to develop a critical theory of recognition, relates to the place of power relations vis-à-vis the relational world. In her book Against Recognition, Lois McNay argues that Honneth’s relational view of self-formation and social conflict negates more structural understandings of power. While not against […]

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Knowing Your Place Uncategorized

The Politics of the Playground

Like the workplace, schools provide fertile ground for Dirty Looks and its desire to explore the relational world, a world in which caring what other people think may be frustrating and often self-defeating, but ultimately unavoidable. Arguably more than teachers, the collective judgements of peers exert an intense hold over young people, to the extent […]