SubmissionId 28765

PCW - 11


  • Mathieu Albert
  • Sarah Wright


Reg Fee?


Length of Presentation
Half Day (4 hours)


Abstract (Rationale / Background / Purpose)

Aim: To introduce medical educators and researchers to key concepts of Pierre Bourdieu

Medical education is increasingly embracing social theory to address both research and practice. The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu is considered one of the most influential social scientists of the 20th century. His theories provide a strong analytical framework to consider how social structures and individual actions can come together to influence diverse fields, including education and healthcare. These theories are particularly useful in understanding how social hierarchies and educational inequalities tend to be reproduced rather than transformed, despite our best efforts.

A growing number of researchers in medical education are using Bourdieu’s concepts to frame their research projects. As such, researchers and educators may need a base level of understanding of his theories and concepts in order to engage with emerging literature. The goal of this workshop is to offer an overview of Bourdieu’s key concepts: 1) field, 2) habitus, and 3) forms of capital. We will provide examples reflecting how these theories can be used to better understand current challenges in medical education in addition to demonstrating the utility of theory-based research in advancing HPE.

The workshop will be structured in three sections. Each will focus on one concept and will comprise a short didactic lecture, hands-on exercises conducted in break-out groups, and a plenary discussion. This three-segment structure is intended to ensure consolidation of the acquired knowledge.

At the end of the workshop participants should be able to identify how Bourdieu’s concepts can apply to their own education and research areas and engage in well-informed reflection about the utility of theory-based research.

Optional Literature References

Albert, M., Hodges, B.D., & Regehr, G. (2007) Research in medical education: Balancing service and science. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 12: 103-115.

Albert, M. & Kleinman DL. (2011) Bringing Pierre Bourdieu to Science and Technology Studies. Minerva. A Review of Science, Learning and Policy. 49(3): 263-273.

Wright, S. (2015) Medical school personal statements: a measure of motivation or proxy for cultural privilege? Advances in Health Sciences Education, 20: 627-643.

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