Department of Sociology

"On the Reception of Bourdieu's Sociology in the World's Most Equal Societies"

Johannes Hjelbrekke and Annick Prieur have written a Chapter in "Oxford Handbook of Pierre Bourdieu", edited by Tom Medvetz and Jeffrey Sallaz.

Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Main content

This chapter discusses the reception of Bourdieu in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, which are three of the richest, but also most egalitarian, societies in the world, with strong welfare state traditions. The sympathy toward Bourdieu’s thinking in Scandinavia may be linked to a resonance for his critique of domination and of neoliberalism; the strong resistance his thinking also has encountered stems from a denial of its relevance for Scandinavia. Finding identical oppositions in Scandinavia from those found in France would imply a pre-construction of the kind that Bourdieu relentlessly warned against; nevertheless, it may be argued that if his models are applicable in Scandinavia, which is so different from France, they should be applicable everywhere. The chapter presents works from the three fields where the use of Bourdieu’s models has been most important in Scandinavia: education, cultural consumption, and power and the elites.