SOCI 3005 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Pierre Bourdieu, Symbolic Capital, Reward System

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13 Aug 2016
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Week 6 – 10th February 2016
Pierre Bourdieu, The Science of Science and Reflexivity, Part 2 (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 2004).
Bourdieu begins part 2 by examining the place of agents within the field. He believes that
the agents determine the structure of the field based on the volume of the structure and the
specific capital they possess, and in turn this structure determines them. In other words, what I
believe Bourdieu is trying to explain here is that the agents through their possession of specific
scientific knowledge, and the number of agents within that field, would determine the structure
of the field, and then that structure would determine how the agents should over all behave
within the field.
The opening of part 2 also examines briefly the power relations and the struggle of agents
within the field. He believes that power relations are mostly determined by how the symbolic
capital is distributed within the field. Whoever has control over more capital, will ultimately
govern how the capital will be distributed. He goes on to say that, the dominant agent will then
make sure to keep himself in power by changing the rules of the field constantly through
innovation and administrative policies. However, I am not really sure how would we distribute
the capital in the first place? How does one acquire this dominant position in the first place? Do
power relations change when the dominant agent passes away? I believe he differentiates the
scientific field, but places emphasis on the fact that instead of economic, there is scientific
knowledge involved, and whoever masters that will be able to dominate within the field.
Bourdieu then continues on to explain how scientific practice could be somewhat similar
to the one of artistic field. He states that most of the time scientific practice is based on
experience, and therefore there could be no theory formed around it. He believes, that it is
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