The French social theorist Pierre Bourdieu is now recognized as leading intellectual of the late twentieth century. This comprehensive account of Bourdieu's life and work traces the origins of his ideas and theories, explaining and exploring just what Bourdieu argued for and why. Illuminating the social, political, and philosophical strands that run through his work, Michael Grenfell's broad study takes in Bourdieu's response to The Algerian Crisis, his ideas for the reform of state education, and his views on aesthetics and the mass media. Detailed attention is also paid to Bourdieu's overtly political stance, including his critique of capitalism and his opposition to recent Western military action in Iraq, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan.
Laying out the implications of Bourdieu's work and assessing the consequences, Grenfell explains why his ideas are still relevant and suggests where his ideas might be taken from here. This clear, thorough account of Bourdieu is invaluable to students, researchers and teachers of contemporary society theory.