Professional Habitus and Fields

Erna Nairz, Klaus Feldmann

Publication: Chapter in book/Conference proceedingChapter in edited volume


In this chapter, we take an in-depth look at the concept of teacher professionalism and its interconnectedness with school organisations and reforms using Bourdieu’s relational theory, which focuses on the power struggles in fields, for example, organisations. Using the example of Austrian secondary schools, we show that dynamic professional fields emerge, and that these are created by committed teachers with a new professional habitus and appropriate capital resources. Our analysis of interviews with teachers demonstrates that a double field structure has been established in some schools. Traditional fields are maintained by teachers with a traditional professional habitus. New professional fields are established by primarily younger teachers. Even in schools with a relatively well-established new professional field, a traditional doxa still exists. The dependence of the various fields of the school on the fields of power, in particular the field of education policy, leads to unstable field conditions and sometimes to a cleft or hybrid professional habitus.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPierre Bourdieu in Studies of Organization and Management
Editors Sarah Robinson, Jette Ernst, Kristian Larsen, Ole Jacob Thomassen
Place of PublicationNew York
Pages157 - 176
ISBN (Print)9781003022510
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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