Bourdieu began in the 1970s to articulate an epistemological position which would protect the ‘practical sense’ of ordinary experience from the intrusions of the academic gaze. This chapter follows this development. Bourdieu developed a theory of social scientific understanding which would allow him to reconcile his inclination to respect the self-understandings of social agents with his equally strong inclination to subject social behaviour to systematic explanation. This chapter first examines Bourdieu’s articulation of his critique of structuralism. It then considers some of the texts in which he attempted to reconcile a constructivist orientation with its origins in structuralism.
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