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Cultural capital theory vs. cultural policy beliefs: How Pierre Bourdieu could have become a cultural policy advisor and why he did not

Abstract : This paper explores the possible uses of Bourdieu's cultural capital theory in the making of French state cultural policy. It focuses on the following paradox: this theory had an important if not predominant impact on the intellectual background and expertise of cultural policy, but only limited effects on its actual orientations. To understand this paradox, I go back to the 1960s when both cultural policy and the sociology of cultural practices were developed. First, I show that this policy and research field share a common history. Second, I investigate the particular role played by Pierre Bourdieu in this history. He provided advice for an effective policy dealing with social inequalities towards culture, but the conditions were not met for this advice to be heard by cultural policy makers, and in the meantime, Bourdieu's conception of the intellectual became more critical and less compatible with the role of expert for state policy.
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Contributor : Vincent Dubois <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - 1:09:09 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 23, 2020 - 4:58:05 PM
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Vincent Dubois. Cultural capital theory vs. cultural policy beliefs: How Pierre Bourdieu could have become a cultural policy advisor and why he did not. Poetics, Elsevier, 2011, 39 (6), p. 491-506. ⟨10.1016/j.poetic.2011.09.003⟩. ⟨halshs-00660678⟩

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