Capturing habitus: theory, method and reflexivity

Cristina Costa, Ciaran Burke, Mark Murphy

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Bourdieu’s career long endeavour was to devise both theoretical and methodological tools that could apprehend and explain the social world and its mechanisms of cultural (re)production and related forms of domination. Amongst the several key concepts developed by Bourdieu, habitus has gained prominence as both a research lens and a research instrument useful to enter individuals’ trajectories and ‘histories’ of practices. While much attention has been paid to the theoretical significance of habitus, less emphasis has been placed on its methodological implications. This paper explores the application of the concept of habitus as both theory and method across two sub-fields of educational research: graduate employment and digital scholarship practices. The findings of this reflexive testing of habitus suggest that bridging the theory-method comes with its own set of challenges for the researcher; challenges which reveal the importance of taking the work of application seriously in research settings.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Research and Methods in Education
Early online date11 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Jan 2018


  • application
  • Bourdieu
  • habitus
  • reflexivity
  • theory-method


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