Applying Theory to Practice: Putting Deleuze to Work

David Ernest Harris



The work of Deleuze and his associates has been widely discussed, and there is a burgeoning literature on the implications for the education system, specifically.

Deleuzian writing is deliberately unconventional, but the work of Bourdieu in particular can help to explain the difficulties of his writing in terms of possible residual effects of a particular social context - the elite French university system of the 1960s and 1970s. The allusive writing that results might need to be rationally reconstructed before it can be grasped and applied to new situations. The importance of the social and intellectual contexts of readers also arises when Deleuzian work is ‘put to work’ to understand areas such as current education systems in the UK and USA.

Problems of ‘application’ in specific examples relating to UK and US pedagogy are discussed. Deleuzian work is effective in dereifying existing systems, but it also offers a particularly congenial cultural politics.

Some general paradoxes in linking theory to practice emerge through the work of Rancière on cultural or philosophical autonomy and heteronomy.

Keywords: Bourdieu, educational politics, Deleuze, habitus, pedagogy.


Bourdieu, educational politics, Deleuze, habitus, pedagogy.

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RISE - International Journal of Sociology of Education | ISSN: 2014-3575

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