Bourdieu Comes to Town: Part II


This essay introduces the second selection of essays associated with the Interventions forum ‘Bourdieu Comes to Town’, the first of which appeared in 2018. There seems to be a tendency to conflate the relevance of Bourdieu for urban studies by focusing specifically on particular contentious concepts that have been fashioned from Bourdieu’s own tools. I briefly discuss this point with respect to the concepts of ‘elective belonging’, which I helped introduce, and ‘territorial stigmatization’, which Loïc Wacquant himself has popularized. I argue that whatever the virtues or otherwise of these concepts, Bourdieu offers substantially more to urban studies, namely the capacity to synthesize across sites, to link micro and macro, to engage pragmatist concerns with daily life to a wider political economy, and to foreground the role of accumulation. I briefly show how the four essays in this selection exemplify these qualities.