Acting Politics: A Critical Sociology of the Political Field, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Acting Politics

A Critical Sociology of the Political Field, 1st Edition

By Alfredo Joignant


202 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415793339
pub: 2018-11-06
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Following Bourdieu, this book seeks ‘to think about politics without thinking politically’, advancing the view that politics as conventionally understood does not take place in a social vacuum, but in the context of a certain topography of society that cannot be reduced to formal spaces (such as a parliament). Engaging with Bourdieu’s theory of fields and focusing specifically on the notion of the ‘political field’, the author analyses from a sociological perspective the functioning of the political field, seeing it not simply as a formal space, but as encompassing a sphere that is increasingly autonomous from others and driven by reasons and motives beyond those conventionally recognised as political. Illustrated with cases from the real political life of different countries, Acting Politics examines the nature of the practices of the agents who inhabit the political field, building a picture of a type of competitive political activity that is fundamentally social and symbolic. A sociological reading of the agents, struggles and forms of the contemporary political field, this book thinks with and against Bourdieu in a broad dialogue with different sociological currents and debates in other disciplines. As such, it will appeal to scholars of politics and sociology with interests in social and political theory and political sociology.

Table of Contents



1. The Political Field: Formation, Objectivation and Autonomy

2. Value and Capital

3. The Politics of the Habitus

4. The Institutional Organisation of the Field

5. Political Inequality and Domination of the Field

6. The Power of Ideas




About the Author

Alfredo Joignant is Professor of Political Science at the Universidad Diego Portales, Chile, and former president of the Chilean Political Science Association. Principal Researcher at the Center for Social Conflict and Cohesion Studies, he is the co-editor of The Politics of Memory in Chile: From Pinochet to Bachelet.

About the Series

Media, Culture and Critique: Future Imperfect

A platform for new works devoted to exploring contemporary crises and drawing on and developing different critical traditions – such as neo-Marxism, feminism, postcolonialism, queer theory, poststructuralism, critical discourse analysis, and ecological and environmental approaches – Media, Culture and Critique: Future Imperfect presents theoretically-informed and politically-engaged studies that share a fundamental concern with interrogating the discrepancies between the potentialities and rhetorics of new technologies and their actual utilization in the service of hegemonic interests. Whether with respect to 21st century capitalism and new political economies of culture, global mediascapes and digital economies, urban transformation and militarization, the proliferation of consumption and media sites and spaces, biotechnologies and the body, or the exploitation and destruction of Nature, the series welcomes theoretically-driven explorations of the technological and mediatized future, and the cultural manifestations of neoliberalism.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General