Bourdieu, International Relations and European Security

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Despite promising attempts to apply the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu to International Relations (IR), the field could still profit from unexplored potential in his thinking for understanding pivotal theoretical and empirical puzzles. This article takes the failure to fully grasp the paradigmatic case of European security after the Cold War as an example of how IR would benefit from reformulating not only its empirical research questions but also several of its central conceptual building blocks with the aid of Bourdieusian sociology. The separation between theory and practice and the overemphasis on military power and state actors blind IR from seeing the power struggles that reshaped European security. Instead, a Bourdieusian reformulation adds new types of agency, focuses on the social production of forms of power, and stresses the processual rather than the substantive character of social reality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory and Society
Volume41
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)451-478
ISSN0304-2421
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 33742467