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Capturing habitus: theory, method and reflexivity

Published in Habitus, Latest Posts, Method by Mark Murphy on March 6, 2018

By Cristina Costa, Ciaran Burke and Mark Murphy

Capturing habitus: theory, method and reflexivityThis is the title of a recent paper by some of the team behind Social theory applied, published in  International Journal of Research & Method in Education (click on link to access the paper).

Below is the abstract

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.

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About the author /


Mark Murphy is a Reader in Education and Public Policy at the University of Glasgow. He previously worked as an academic at King’s College, London, University of Chester, University of Stirling, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, University College Dublin and Northern Illinois University. Mark is an active researcher in the fields of education and public policy. His research interests include educational sociology, critical theory, accountability in higher education, and public sector reform.

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