Theoretical Aspects of Pierre Bourdieu and Rogers Brubaker and its Use for the Study of Nations and Nationalism

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Ph.D. Student of Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


The following paper is dealing with the topic of nations and nationalism. After giving a general overview of the mainstream work conducted regarding the national subject, the paper will in the first place focus on Bourdieu’s so called scholastic view which can be summarized as the bias between a scientific, theoretical reason and the practical reason that is applied by the social actors in the daily life. Taking this major assumption into account, the paper will introduce a new approach, against the strict macro- or micro pattern of understanding, to analyze and describe the phenomenon nation or nationalism. This will be carried out by referring to the work of Brubaker who defines ethnicity, nation or race not as things or entities in the world but rather views on the world standing for dynamic and flexible categories. It will be then the main task to integrate the habitus concept of Bourdieu into the theoretical structure of Brubaker in order to provide the link that combines the claimed overcome of the stiff division between macro- and micro analysis of nations. The outcome shall be a so called and to be defined national habitus that on the one hand brings up national features of the habitus of social actors and on the other hand provides us with explanatory models of how the habitus influences, explains and clarifies the national category.