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Research Expertise and Interest
Loïc Wacquant is Professor of Sociology and Research Associate at the Institute for Legal Research, Boalt Law School, University of California at Berkeley, where he is affiliated with the Program in Medical Anthropology, the Global Metropolitan Studies Program, and the Center for Urban Ethnography. He is also Researcher at the Centre de sociologie européenne in Paris.
Born and raised in Southern France, Wacquant was educated in Montpellier, Paris, and Chicago, where he received his Ph.D in Sociology in 1993 after earlier graduate studies in industrial economics and a research stint in the South Pacific island of New Caledonia. His interests include comparative urban inequality and marginality, ethnoracial domination, carceral institutions and penal policy as instruments for managing dispossessed and dishonored groups, violence and the body, intellectuals and the politics of reason in the neoliberal age, and classical and contemporary social theory. A past member of the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (1990-1993) and a MacArthur Foundation Fellow (1997-2002), he has been a visiting professor in Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, and New York City, and invited as a Fellow to the Russell Sage Foundation, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.
Wacquant is the author of over one hundred scholarly articles published in journals of sociology, anthropology, criminology, social theory, social policy, philosophy, and urban and cultural studies, and translated in a dozen languages. Among his books are An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology (1992, with Pierre Bourdieu, translated in 19 languages), Prisons of Poverty (1999, translated in 14 languages), Body and Soul: Ethnographic Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (2000, translated in 6 languages), Los Parias Urbanos (2001, translated in three languages), The Mystery of Ministry: Pierre Bourdieu and Democratic Politics (published in five languages in 2005), Das Janusgesicht des Ghettos und andere Essays (2006), and Deadly Symbiosis: Race and the Rise of Neoliberal Penality (forthcoming with Polity Press in 2006).
Wacquant has conducted fieldwork in the colonial island of New Caledonia, on the South Side of Chicago, and in the jails of big cities in the United States, France, and Brazil. He has acted as consultant on issues of urban poverty, violence, ethnicity, and crime to central and local governments, unions, and the courts in France, Argentina, Brazil, Norway, Sweden, and to the OECD. He is co-founder and co-editor of the interdisciplinary journal Ethnography, and was a regular contributor to Le Monde diplomatique from 1996 to 2004.
Wacquant recently completed a special thematic issue of Ethnography on "Taking Bourdieu into the Field" (vol. 5, no 4, December 2004); an anthology of the works of social science’s most famous nephew, Marcel Mauss on Belief, Exchange, and Social Transformation (forthcoming with the University of Chicago Press); a study of the mutation of the penal state in advanced society entitled Punishing the Poor: The New Government of Social Insecurity (to appear in multiple languages in 2006); and the English translation of his first book on prizefighting, Body and Soul (Oxford University Press, 2004). He is currently working on the sequel, The Passion of the Pugilist, an analysis of the dialectic of desire and domination in which he articulates an argument for "carnal sociology," and a monograph on the construction of the object in urban ethnography. He is also preparing an anti-reader on the works of Pierre Bourdieu entitled Practice and Symbolic Power: The Essential Bourdieu. His next project is a comparative historical sociology of forms and mechanisms of racial domination over four centuries and three continents provisionally entitled Peculiar Institutions.