Week 2 01/16/2014
Reflexive Sociology – Wallace & Wolf 111120
Pierre Bourdieu (19302002)
Fields – system of social positions, structured internally in terms of power relations.
Different fields can autonomous. Today there are many fields. Academic field, religious field, etc. they all
have their own rules, policies, etc.
many fields. Social arena. Locus of power relations. Each game has its own rules. You have a side, etc.
even though you have to have certain skills, you still have to adapt to games, rules, etc.
Power depends on capital.
Three types of capital.
1. Economic – economic resources
2. Social – command over relationships
3. Cultural – parents provide children with cultural capital.
Symbolic violence – it will not benefit you in the same manner as it will benefit the elites. Complicity of
subject. System is designed as such.
People come to experience systems of meaning (culture) as legit – process of
misunderstanding/misrecognition of what is really going on.
Success at this label is based on cultural/social capital.
Habitus – how you perceive things in the world. System of durably acquired scheme of perception.
Concept we use to navigate & take positions on which direction we want to go in. do I hang out with this
group, go to this university, etc.
Not something that is predetermined & shapes you.
Rather, it is something you constantly try on and adapt. Opportunity to take it, reject, etc.
Reflexivity Gets you to take another position. See how the world is different than how you have been convinced
through durably tried out perceptions. Take a new position.
Habitus is trying out different views/things and see which one fits with you.
Empirical – studies. What are the patterns.
Critical – being critical of those patterns.
System of durably acquired scheme
You have tried it out.
Tendency to persist even after alterations of conditions.
Conditions have changed but disposition does NOT change. Habitus does not change.
How people bring together social, cultural, economic capital into the field so
when they succeed it’s b/c they have talent & they deserve it.
Elite continuing their cultural reproduction.
Before: high school was enough to get a job, now many consider masters.
Elite socialization/class reproduction
How comfortable one would feel in a formal/elite environment.
Class system reproduces itself through cultural capital and NOT only through wealth.
Dominant class sustains because they reproduce through education. Led to increase in qualification for
This way dominant class keeps moving higher. Can reproduce as an elite class.
When you come to an environment, i.e. university, you learn their language & their method of functioning.
Afterword, when someone else who is not part of the elite system enters it, it is the way of dropping out
because they don’t understand/know the system.
When someone who doesn’t study but understands the system fails, they see the system as fair. They see
their failures – I didn’t study enough – and should not be allowed to move up.
System of reproduction through cultural capital.
Objectivism/subjectivism Flawed b/c they are both just getting at one side of the system. Being objective or subjective.
Attention to effect of their own internalized system.
To know where you stand on cases/issues. Where you can say ‘no, that is not who I am; I would never do
that’. What you believe in, where you stand.
Injustice in the education
What would it mean to stand on that principle.
Principle/value apart from reproduction
Does education have its own principle.
If edu is about growth, widening horizon, etc. where does that fit into this theory.
Love of learning
Sociology should make room for the ‘love of learning’.
Field like a game
If field is like a game, where is the enjoyment?
Losing is considered part of the game but in this sense, losing is akin to lack of accessibility. You cannot
enter the class system for instance. Week 2 01/16/2014
Knowledge by interpretation – to get any knowledge as to who & what we are, we need to be aware of
how our language shapes us.
• Epistemology – how we know what we know.
Aim of knowledge is to insure if it is objective and accurate. Need to have proper methods to make sure
it is accurate & not bias. Someone else should be able to go out & discover the same thing.
Our senses deceive us – when we put a stick in water, our eyes deceive us by communicating that the
stick is bent. But it really is not.
• we arrive at judgments about the world that would be untrue but appear to be true. i.e. sun is
setting, sun is rising when Earth is revolving around the sun in reality.
Assumption of knowledge by interpretation
1. humans are not external observers of the world. We are intertwined. People are involved,
engaged in the world.
2. All knowledge of the world is a result of. Reality is multidimensional and plural. There is not
just 1 reality. For different observers, they see different things. Because meaning is assigned
3. Scientificobjectivity is a specific type of knowledge. But it is NOT the only type of knowledge.
There are various ways of knowing the world.
Images used – we are only able to recognize the two things – i.e. duck or a rabbit – because we
already know what these two look like.
Raffel theory – what the theory helps us see what it is blind to in light o a particular question.
Raffel – Revisiting Role Theory: Roles & the problem of self
Sociology – self does NOT exist outside of society. It is socially constructed.
Marx – we realize our self through creative work.
Human beings are creative workers. We recognize ourselves in that creative work. We have the
capacity for creative work. We have a fulfilling dynamic relationship.
• Alienation – object appears different, independent of the people. We don’t recognize the
creativity, we recognize the productivity. In a car, we don’t recognize the workers, but th