Deborah Reed-Danahay

Bourdieu, Social Space, and the Nation-State. Implications for Migration Studies



Pierre Bourdieu's main significance for spatial studies is that he understood social actors as embodied habituses and interrogated the articulation between habitus and social space - between the individual, the social, and the spatial. In order to better understand migrant belongings [Fortier 2000] and emplacements [Korac 2009], it is useful to take into consideration migrant "positionings" in social space, adapting Bourdieu's ideas to the study of contemporary migration. This article considers the significance of Bourdieu's concept of social space for studies of migration through a discussion of two moments in his work: his early research on proximity and distance in social space in rural France, and his work on the nation-state. Bourdieu's approach to social space is one that links spatiality and sociality in productive ways that shed light on the relationship between state space and state thought.


  • Bourdieu
  • Social Space
  • Migration
  • Nation-State
  • Habitus


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