Good editorial in the Guardian here praising the late lamented French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu and rubbishing Nick Clegg’s recent ramblings about social mobility. Proof if proof were needed that sociology is not just an ivory towers loada claptrap but that it can have application to the modern world. There’s been an age old debate about structure (the school you went to, housing you were raised in) vs agency (your actions as an indepedent erm “actor”). Bourdieu’s notion of social capital (as opposed to strictly economic capital) was about how social background/ circumstances shape lifechances. Recent debates about internships also reinforce all this old school tie old boy network stuff that Clegg and Cameron are a product of and which Bourdieu recognised as crucial.

As the Guardian puts it “If Mr Clegg really wants to “factor social mobility into the education system”, he must recognise that the difference between success and failure is not luck but the ways in which social inequalities repeat themselves. The role of government is to break this vicious circle not to reinforce it. The drastic shrinking of the state is hardly the way to remedy what Mr Clegg called an absolute scandal.”

Finally here’s a picture of Pierre B from the cover of French pop mag Les Inrockuptibles (equivalent of the NME) after his death 10 years ago underlining what an intellectual nation that there France is (can you imagine Anthony Giddens on the front of Kerrang?):

PS Bourdieu also graced the cover of Les Inrocks when alive not just in death, proof is here.