Understanding the everyday

Continuing my investigation into the theme of the everyday, I became interested in the cultural theories of Pierre Bourdieu. He is a prolific writer across a whole range of disciplines in the social sciences and the humanities. I decided to focus on one major text, Distinction: A social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. 

This particular text is a major contribution to the field of sociology and debates on the theory of culture. Bourdieu’s theory is useful in my research enquiry as it gives a social and cultural dept to my research theme. This is important because it offers an understanding into the behaviour and practices that can inform my illustration work of the everyday.


Bourdieu gives a detailed account about how social factors influence the tastes and preferences of the French middle class. He argues that in everyday life people are constantly choosing between what they find aesthetically appealing and what they do not. He states that these different aesthetic choices are all indicators of class. The small distinctions of taste and preferences become indicators for social judgment. Class groups are determined by a combination of the different degrees of social, economic, and cultural capital. Essentially Bourdieu argues that the social world functions as a system of power relations and as a symbolic system. ‘Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier’ (p. 6).

I would imagine this information is helpful when deciding what images mean to different audiences. This is an idea that I’m curious to develop. It poses questions like, who are my audience? Where do I situate myself as an illustrator within this field? Does class influence how I see and what I draw?  I find the more research I continue to do the more questions I have regarding my illustration work.

List of Figures:

Fig.1  Book Cover, Bourdieu, Pierre, Distinction: A social Critique of the Judgment of Taste.

Reference list:

Bourdieu, Pierre (1984) Distinction: A social Critique of the Judgment of Tastetrans. Nice, Richard, Abingdon: Routledge.

Related articles:

Corchia, Luca (2006). La prospettiva relazionale di Pierre Bourdieu (2). I concetti fondamentali, in «Il Trimestrale del Laboratorio. The Lab’s Quarterly», Pisa, Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali, 4 ISSN 1724-451X

Cazier, ean-Philippe (2006). Abécédaire de Pierre Bourdieu (in French). Mons: Sils Maria Press. I

Fowler, Bridget (1997). Pierre Bourdieu and cultural theory: critical investigations. London Thousand Oaks, California: Sage

Grenfell, Michael; Lebaron, Frederic (2014). Bourdieu and Data Analysis: Methodological Principles and Practice. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang AG. 

Grenfell, Michael James (2007). Pierre Bourdieu: education and training. London New York: Continuum. 

Jenkins, Richard (1992). Pierre Bourdieu. London New York: Routledge. 

Lane, Jeremy F. (2000). Pierre Bourdieu: a critical introduction. London Sterling, Virginia: Pluto Press. 

Wacquant, Loïc (2005). Pierre Bourdieu and democratic politics : the mystery of ministry. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity. 

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