Berkeley prof to reflect on influential sociologist Pierre Bourdieu

Sociology Professor Michael Burawoy of the University of California, Berkeley, who has called for a sociology about the public, for the public, will speak at York about the late French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and what his theories mean today.

His talk, “Who’s Afraid of Pierre Bourdieu?: Reflections on the Most Influential Sociologist of Our Time”, will be delivered on Monday, April 20 from 3 to 5:30pm in the Founders Senior Common Room, 305 Founders College, Keele campus. It is part of the Faculty of Environmental Studies Annual Lecture Series: Social Sustainability and Social/Spacial Justice and co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology’s Colloquium Committee.

Left: Michael Burawoy

As president of the American Sociological Association from 2003 to 2004, Burawoy brought issues from the shop floor to academia under the mantle of public sociology. In calling for a sociology about the public, for the public, he galvanizes scholars around the world to develop alternatives for the future through debate about globalization, war and inequality, including inequality among sociologists.

Burawoy’s work on labour, monopoly capitalism, socialist countries’ transitions and global inequality extends far beyond sociology. His ethnographic work in mines and factories around the world, including in Zambia, Hungary, the US, Russia, South Africa and more recently China, provides the foundation for his comparative paradigm of despotic and hegemonic labour regimes across capitalist and socialist societies.

He is the co-author of Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections and Imaginations in a Postmodern World (University of California Press, 2000), The Radiant Past: Ideology and Reality in Hungary’s Road to Capitalism (University of Chicago Press, 1992) and Ethnography Unbound: Power and Resistance in the Modern Metropolis (University of California Press, 1991), and author of The Politics of Production: Factory Regimes Under Capitalism and Socialism (Verso, 1985) and Manufacturing Consent: Changes in the Labour Process Under Monopoly Capitalism (University of Chicago Press, 1982).

In recent years, Burawoy has given a series of lectures on the relationship of Bourdieu to Marxism, continuing his project of rethinking Marxism and its emancipatory potential.

A reception will follow the lecture.