Charting Transnational Fields
Methodology for a Political Sociology of Knowledge
The volume provides a field-analytical methodology for researching knowledge-based sociopolitical processes of transnationalization. Drawing on seminal work by Pierre Bourdieu, we apply concepts of practice, habitus, and field to phenomena such as cross-national social trajectories, international procedures of evaluation, standardization, and certification, or supranational political structures. These transnational phenomena form part of general political struggles that legitimate social relationships in and beyond the nation-state.
Part 1 on methodological foundations discusses the consequences of Bourdieu’s epistemology and methodology for theorizing and investigating transnational phenomena. The contributions show the importance of field-theoretical concepts for post-national insights. Part 2 on investigating political fields presents exemplary case studies in diverse research areas such as colonial imperialism, international academic rankings, European policy fields, and local school policy. While focusing on their research objects, the contributions also give an insight into the mechanisms involved in processes of transnationalization.
The volume is an invitation for sociologists, political scientists, and scholars in adjacent research areas to engage with reflexive and relational research practice and to further develop field-theoretical thought.
Table of Contents
1. How to Chart Transnational Fields – Introduction to a Methodology for a Political Sociology of Knowledge; Part 1: Methodological Foundations; 2. How Many Fields can Stand on the Point of a Pin? Methodological Notes on Reflexivity, the Sociological Craft and Field Analysis; 3. Adjusting a Bourdieusian Approach to the Study of Transnational Fields. Transversal Practices and State (Trans)formations Related to Intelligence and Surveillance; 4. National, International, Transnational, and Global Fields. Theoretical Clarifications and Methodological Implications; 5. The Post-National Analysis of Fields; 6. European Elites as (a) Field(s). Reflections on the Uses of Prosopography and Geometric Data Analysis Based on Three Joint Surveys of Transnational Objects; Part 2: Investigating Political Fields; 7. Global Change. A Field Theory Perspective on The End of Empire; 8. The Double Function of Rankings. Consecration and Dispositif in Transnational Academic Fields; 9. A Weak Field of Social Policy? A Transnational Perspective on the EEC’s Social Policy-Making (from the 1940s to the 1970s); 10. The Rise of a European Field of Evidence-Based Education; 11. The Euro Crisis Dispositf. Heterogeneous Positioning Strategies in Polycentric Fields; 12. Tracing ‘The Transnational’ in the Nationalization of School Policy. The Transformation of Standards-Based Reform in the US.
Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg is Assistant Professor at Potsdam University, Germany.
Stefan Bernhard is Senior Researcher at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Germany.