Bourdieu’s theory of practice in the study of cultural encounters and transnational transfers in migration

by Magdalena Nowicka

Working Papers WP 15-01
March 2015
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

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This working paper provides the theoretical reflections and research objectives of the ongoing project Transforming Migration: Transnational Transfer of Multicultural Habitus. It develops the proposal of applying Bourdieu’s theory of practice in studying intercultural skills of migrants and the mechanisms of their transfer to the space of origin of migrants. Conceptual merits and challenges of working with Bourdieu’s intellectual heritage are discussed and illustrated with preliminary results from the project’s first phase. The paper argues that Bourdieu’s theory allows us to see the dispositions, attitudes, worldviews and practices that people display as processes rather than individual qualities, which need to be considered within a complex system of power relations between migrants, their host societies, and their transnationally spanning social networks.

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