The introduction to Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies maps the emergence of Bourdieu-influenced approaches to the field since 2000. Postcolonial studies emerged as an academic discipline in the 1980s as figures like Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha adapted post-structural theory by Foucault, Derrida, and Lacan to examinations of the colonial and formerly colonial world. Since the early 1990s, there has been a move towards more materialist approaches in postcolonial studies, including Marxist critiques of the field as well as increased interest in archival research and book history. In the context of this interest in the material circumstances of literature’s production and circulation, the European theorist who has inspired the most innovative and important work in postcolonial studies in the twenty-first century has been Bourdieu. The introduction investigates the reasons for this turn towards Bourdieu as well as its implications for our understanding both of Bourdieu’s work and of postcolonial studies as a field. The introduction thus offers a sociological approach to the emergence of sociological approaches to postcolonial literature.
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