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Pierre Bourdieu was a brilliant sociologist and social thinker; he was also an intensely political man whose work is of profound significance for rethinking democracy. This original volume presents and develops Bourdieu's distinctive contribution to the theory and practice of democratic politics. It explicates and illustrates his core concepts of political field and field of power, his historical model of the bureaucratic state, and his influential analyses of the practices and institutions involved in the paradoxical phemen of political representation - starting with the enigma of delegation, or what he called the 'mystery of ministry'. The fruitfulness of Bourdieu's approach is demonstrated in a series of integrated studies of voting, public opinion polls, party dynamics, class rule, and state-building, as well as by careful analyses of Bourdieu's own civic engagements and his theoretical treatment of the politics of reason and recognition in contemporary society. Charting the connections between Bourdieu's political views, the main des of his sociology of democratic representation, and the implications of this sociology for progressive civic thought and action, this book will be of interest to students and scholars across the gamut of disciplines as well as to citizens concerned with renewing struggles for social justice.
Loic Wacquant is Professor of Sociology at the University of California-Berkeley and Researcher at the Centre de sociologie europeenne-Paris.