Wednesday, March 05, 2008

[(Habitus)] (Capital) + Field = Practice

Last night in class we were talking about cultural and social reproduction. Peirre Bourdieu - a French guy who wrote about this - came up with an equation to talk about this phenomena. I'm pretty fascinated by the formula and thought it worthwhile to put it up here.

Bio: Peirre Bourdieu (1930-2002)
A prolific writer and extradorindary productive researcher, Bourdieu has published more than 30 books and 340 articles over the period of 1958-1995. (Swartz, 1997)

Postulate: Power is the heart of social life
I can say that all of my thinking started from this point: how can behavior be regulated without being the product of obedience to rules (Bourdieu 1990)

The Equation:

[(Habitus)] (Capital) + Field = Practice

breaking it down...
A system of durable, transposable dispotions, structures, instictual practices and behaviors unconsciously exhibited.

Examples of Habitus:
- Rich yacht guy - raised in a millionaire family
- Professorial figure
- Mini-driving soccer mom
- Farmer down south

A social relation of power - not just material but cultural, social, and symbolic as well.

A network or configuration of objective relations between different positions. Agents of institutions of the structures. Fields are arena of struggle for legitimation.

Example of field:
- For the rich yacht guy it maybe the country club
- Professorial figure - academic
- Soccer mom - her kid's school / PTA meetings
- Farmer - Agricultural fairs

--- Symbolic violence: Bourdieu looked at the interactions between these different habitus and came up with the term "symbolic violence" to describe how these different habitus may express struggle for legitimation of power. Ex: Maybe the daughter of a yacht guy brings home the son of the soccer mom (let's say they are dating) The yacht father may raise his eyebrow and give the soccer boy a one over. This is an expression of symbolic violence that Bourdieu refers to.

Using habitus and capital on the field. Bourdieu looked at how these different habitus and capital interacted when one habitus/capital may play on another's turf. He examined how these habitus / capital are reproduced or reinforced. In class we discussed how school and education plays into this.

Very interesting.
Next step: Take a moment and plug yourself into the equation, thinking about your field. What kinds of dispositions have you inherited from your family, community, education, etc.? What kinds of dispositions are best suited (or prized) in your field? How much symbolic violence can you wield in this field, how much do you confront?


Angela said...

Thank you!!

this was helpful!

lost sociology student said...