Bourdieu and the ‘Mind-forg’d Manacles’ of Journalism

Bourdieu defined the media as comprised of “doxosophers” in that they disseminate doxa: a set of “presuppositions that are regarded as self-evident and so outside the field of discussion” (McCullagh, 2007: 140). Often lacking the necessary critical training, journalists operate as merely the public voice of doxa, parroting its presumptions. In this way, they create and distribute a particular worldview in the guise of analysis, description and discussion, which unwittingly and uncritically reinforces pre-existing categories of perception (Bourdieu, 1998: 7), along with cultural and social hierarchies. Thus they define for many what is salient, relevant, worthy of consideration. They also delineate between what is good/bad, polite/vulgar, male/female, worthy/unworthy, expert/non-expert – the list is endless.



Bourdieu P (1998) Acts of Resistance: Against the New Myths of Our Time. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press.

McCullagh C (2007) Modern Ireland, Modern Media, Same Old Story. In: O’sullivan S (ed.) Contemporary Ireland: A Sociological Map. Dublin: UCD Press.


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