chapter  5
22 Pages

Reintroducing Power and Struggles within Organisational Fields: A Return to Bourdieu’s Framework


The infl uence of Bourdieu’s oeuvre on organisational analysis is mostly manifest in the widespread use-even unequally and often separately-of the three concepts that form the cornerstones of his sociology-namely, ‘fi eld’, ‘habitus’, and ‘capital’. Among these constructs, that of fi eld is probably the most mobilised since its introduction by DiMaggio and Powell in their highly infl uential 1983 article. The concept of ‘organisational fi eld’, inspired in large part by the Bourdieusian one of fi eld, represents one of the two signposts, along with that of ‘institutional isomorphism’, which paved the way of the new institutionalism in organisational analysis. However, if it is undeniable that this concept, as it was conceptually framed and empirically explored in new-institutional theory, had improved our comprehension of “how, why, and which organizations respond in particular ways to institutional expectations” (Greenwood and Meyer, 2008: 261), power relations and permanent struggles between agents within organisational fi elds, which were outlined by DiMaggio and Powell in their seminal article, were largely overlooked (Emirbayer and Johnson, 2008; Greenwood and Meyer, 2008).