What Pierre Bourdieu taught me

Image of Gillian Tett

The works of Pierre Bourdieu, the French intellectual, have defined how I view my job as a journalist today. These graphs illustrate this.

In the first chart, Bourdieu shows how subtle cultural signals reproduce the position of the elite, even for something mundane such as food. These cultural patterns are rarely discussed openly.

In the second chart, Bourdieu demonstrates that it is not just what we discuss – or debate – in public that matters but what we don’t discuss that is really important, in terms of reproducing the status quo.

If nothing else, the charts show why journalists should take nothing for granted but, instead, look at the silences in the world and ask: why?

This diagram should be mandatory reading for journalists, politicians, academics and everyone else. it argues that what really matters in society is not what people talk about, but what they ignore because it seems boring or irrelevant.
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