Bourdieu examines in detail the work of consecration which is carried out by the educational system – and especially in France by the grandes écoles. The work of consecration can be seen in operation in different historical periods, whenever a nobility is produced. Today the socially recognized groups function according to a logic similar to that which characterized the divisions between high and low in the ancien régime. Today this state nobility is the heir – structural and sometimes even genealogical – of the noblesse de robe which, in order to consolidate its position in relation to other forms of power, had to construct the modern state and the republican myths, meritocracy and civil service which went along with it.
Bourdieu examines the mechanisms which produce the kind of nobility displayed by those who govern, and the recognition granted to them by those who are governed by them.
Prologue: Social Structures and Mental Structures.
Part I: Academic Forms of Classification:.
1. Dualistic Thinking and the Conciliation of Opposites.
2. Misrecognition and Symbolic Violence.
Part II: The Ordination:.
1. The Production of a Nobility.
2. A Rite of Institution.
3. The Ambiguities of Competence.
Part III: The Field of the Grandes Écoles and its Transformations:.
1. A State of the Structure.
2. A Structural History.
Part IV: The Field of Power and its Transformations:.
1. Forms of Power and their Reproduction.
2. Establishment Schools and Power over the Economy.
3 Transformations in the Structure of the Field of Power.
Part V: State Power and Power over the State:.
"This is a book ... which presents a stimulating argument." Sociology
"If you wish to understand how France′s grandes écoles have achieved such influence you need look no further than The State Nobility ... characteristic combination of original concepts, innovative analysis and a huge array of empirical evidence ... strongly recommended." British Journal of Sociology
"Both The Rules of Art and State Nobility are dazzling examples of the way in which Bourdieu imposes order on an overwhelming wealth of empirical material ... these books represent important developments in Bourdieu′s thought and confirm his status as one of today′s most stimulating and bold sociological thinkers." European Journal of Social Theory