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Nov.5 Lecture

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Phillipa Chong

SOC302 Intro to Pierre Bourdieu – important concepts Discussion of Assignment #2 and issues surrounding copyright Discussion of midterm 757-769 is the focus of the Brubaker reading Larger debate that influenced Bourdieu… Structure vs. agency  A structuralist position would argue that these collective concepts like capitalism refer to independent emergent realities and they take the form of structure that exert influence on our everyday lives  Agency or agentic perspective would hold that only flesh and blood individuals are real and have the capacity to act o I.e. Mafia or media – these are only words or figures of speech that don’t have the power to act, it’s the journalists that hold the power, they are nothing more than the sum of their parts o Agency insists that macro-level phenomena and other large scale products can only be explained in micro terms – as the coordinated actions of individuals  Marx Objectivism vs. subjectivism Social realism vs. nominalism Pierre Bourdieu was concerned about inequality, in particular he was interested in understanding how and why inequality gets reproduced over time (from generation to generation) and how privilege and status tends to get reproduced among the same people generation over generation  Wanted to move past the structure/agency debate  His solution was that both structure and agency matter  Key concepts: inequality can get reproduced through cultural capital, habitus is the mechanisms through which capital operates Habitus: the system of internalized dispositions that mediates between social structures and practical activity  Disposition refers to a tendency to act in a certain way  Habitus is the sum of all these dispositions or tendencies to act in a certain way that we all possess; influenced by our social standings/structures  Lifestyle/tastes of things we possess Bourdieu said that habitus is reflected through our social standing and capital  If you’re born into a working class family, you are probably going to stay in the working class Nouveau Riche – wealth you acquire throughout your lifetime, derogatory term to signify that these individuals decide to show for this wealth in really ostentatious ways Habitus acts as a filter to restrain the choices you think you have for yourself Capital – the economic and social resources that dominant groups use to maintain their control
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