Prosopography, Networks, Life Course Sequences, and So On: Quantifying with or Beyond Bourdieu?

Thierry Rossier

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This article focuses on the importance of quantifying Bourdieu’s “research programme”, linked with the concepts of field, habitus, and capital. It presents possible ways of doing statistics within this framework and argues that continuous methodological development should be pursued. To support this argument, the article highlights the methodology and empirical results of a doctoral dissertation on the Swiss field of economic sciences. It stresses the relevance of using a prosopographical strategy and advocates further development of multiple correspondence analysis, and the use of sequence analysis and social network analysis. The main contributions of these methods concern the investigation of subgroup profiles in fields, the trajectories of accumulation and conversion of capitals and the structure of social capital. When asking whether or not we should think with or beyond Bourdieu when suggesting new methodological developments to his programme, this article argues that we ought to think beyond his strict written work, but still within his theoretical framework, which proves particularly relevant to the study of power relations among individuals.
Translated title of the contributionProsopographie, réseaux, séquences de parcours de vie, etc.: Quantifier avec ou par-delà Bourdieu?
Original languageEnglish
JournalBulletin of Sociological Methodology / Bulletin de Methodologie Sociologique
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)6-39
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Bourdieu
  • Prosopography
  • Multiple correspondence analysis
  • Social network analysis
  • Sequence analysis

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