Pierre Bourdieu: Habitus, Capital and Field

Better Essays
Pierre Bourdieu was an acclaimed French sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher, who is still noted today as being one of the most prominent and influential intellects in recent years. He is famous for his contributions to many subjects and areas, and much of his work is still considered today as being classics. His work is considered to be some of the most innovative and groundbreaking bodies of theory and research in contemporary social science. He is still prominent today for his many great contributions to the field of sociology, and though he has many revolutionary concepts, this essay will focus on three; Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, capital and field, and a key sociological factor these concepts help to explain. These three concepts have been continually developed throughout all of Bourdieu’s work.
Habitus
Habitus is one of Bourdieu’s landmark concepts, and is considered one of his greatest contributions to the field of sociology. Habitus is a sociological concept that has been in use for many years; even Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, was familiar with the concept and developed his own theory on the concept of habitus. The concept has been adapted and reiterated by many prominent sociologists over the years, including Max Weber, Norbert Elias and Marcel Mauss. Mauss’ theory of habitus inspired Bourdieu; but Bourdieu developed the theory further and thus differences in the two concepts by the two different sociologists can be found. Mauss described habitus as the aspects of culture that are anchored in the body, or daily practises by individuals, groups, societies and nations. It is, according to Mauss, the set of habits, tastes and customs that lie beneath the surface of rational ideology. These habits and customs include most aspects of a person’s daily life, including speech and movement. Bourdieu was influenced by the work of these great and influential sociologists, however he developed his own theory that was different and arguably



Bibliography: * Bourdieu, Pierre ‘In other words; Essays Towards a Reflexive Sociology’ (Stanford University Press, 1990). * Fowler, Bridget ‘Pierre Bourdieu and Cultural Theory: Critical Investigations’ (Sage, 1997). * Grenfell, Michael ‘Pierre Bourdieu, Agent Provocateur’ (Continuum International Publishing Group, 2004). * Reed-Danahay, Deborah ‘Locating Bourdieu: New Anthropologies of Europe’ (Indiana University Press, 2005). * Smart, John C ‘Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research’ (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2009) * Swartz, David ‘Culture & Power: The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu’ (University Of Chicago Press, 1997).

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    When it comes to sociology, one of the most important things to remember is the sociological imagination. In McIntyre’s article “Afterword”, she states that “I hope you’ve been persuaded, for example, that the culture and social structure shape human behavior; that the ways in which we carry out our life’s arrangements are shaped but social institutions” (McIntyre, 2014, pg. 266). She believes that remembering the sociological imagination can help you succeed and make your life just a little bit better. (McIntyre, 2014, pg.…

    • 689 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Comte, Auguste, A Dictionary of Sociology (3rd Ed), John Scott & Gordon Marshall (eds), 2005…

    • 1067 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Sociological Reflection

    • 191 Words
    • 1 Page

    As a fresh Sociology major, I personally am very pleased to be able to access five different credible resources for my course. These readings, I must say, would compose the perfect set that will assure a good start in building a knowledge in Sociology; hence, I will briefly discuss some major points I learned from these works. Furthermore, to show my own analysis of the points tackled, personal insights will be given.…

    • 191 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    SUPPLEMENTAL READER: Charon, Joel M. (2009). The Meaning of Sociology. Ninth Edition. Pearson Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.…

    • 2722 Words
    • 12 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Best Essays

    Martin, B. Class, in P. Beilharz and T. Hogan (eds.) “Sociology: Place, Time and Division”, South Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 2006. pp. 402-405. Print.…

    • 1781 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    [ 1 ]. Coser, Lewis A. (1991), Introduction to sociology, San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.…

    • 4747 Words
    • 19 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    We will draw upon a different sources such as lecture notes, workshops, journal articles, sociological textbooks and The Cocktail Waitress as this is the theory behind day to day actions and thoughts. In our next section of the essay we will focus on three concepts to expand our…

    • 7898 Words
    • 32 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Sociology and Suicide

    • 3277 Words
    • 14 Pages

    The development of ‘sociology’ as a discipline occurred during the 19th century, in an attempt to develop a science of society whose methodological principles shared similarities with that of the natural sciences. The term "sociology" was accredited to Auguste Comte (1838), one of the original initiators of the subject, which he believed could encompass all sciences into a cohesive whole. Sociology defines society as an object, which exists, can be studied and for which laws can be formulated. Therefore, sociology must be able to account for social phenomenon. This led to the development of a variety of ‘sociological theories’ or ‘macro perspectives’, a set of ideologies that attempt to explain the function and structure of society. Prior to the development of Sociology, earlier attempts at understanding human behaviour were humanistic in approach, unguided by the principles of scientific methodology.…

    • 3277 Words
    • 14 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Best Essays

    According to French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, a habitus is referring to a person’s way of thinking, acting, and behaving. A habitus is a structure that helps a person comprehend and deal with society. It can be simply seen as a merger of society and the individual. (Wysocka, Paulina, 2013). Habitus is both a “structured structure”—the effect of the actions of, and our interactions with, others—and a “structuring structure”—it suggests and constrains our future actions (Bourdieu, 1992). In other words, habitus is both the “embodiment of our social location” (i.e., class, ethnicity, race, sexuality, gender, generation, and nationality) (Noble & Watkins, 2003) and “the structure of social relations that generate and give significance to individual likes (or taste) and dislikes with regard to practice and action” (Laberge, 1995). Critically, the habitus is embodied, that is, “located within the body and affects every aspect of human embodiment” (Shilling, 1993). Theorists believe that stereotypes, narratives, ideologies and discourses all attribute to the shaping on the individual habitus. In this essay I will discuss and argue how each concept works according to various theorists and how they work in shaping the individual habitus.…

    • 2258 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Source: Distinctions. A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Conclusion. 1984, translated by Richard Nice, published by Harvard University Press, 1984, 604pp. – selected from pp. 466-484.…

    • 7620 Words
    • 31 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Pierre Bourdieu was a sociologist, philosopher and an anthropologist. According to the lecture videos, Bourdieu’s important element to his social construction concept is the dialectical relationship between social structure and agency. The relationship is not permanent and can be changed. It’s derived from social symbols and interactions, not through nature or biology. Bourdieu’s work attempts to bridge the gap between constructivism which is the view that our knowledge of the world is based on interactions between social groups, and structuralism which is any analysis that emphasizes structures and relations. In Unequal Childhoods, the author explains that peoples background experiences help shape the methods and total of capital. Bourdieu…

    • 862 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    the habitus is the active presence of the whole past of which it is a product…

    • 395 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Bourdieu’s writings are widely used by sociologists as they are more suited to determining causes for inequality due to their accuracy and credibility. Functionalist theories stress the importance of social structures and societal norms to promote stability. Theorists deny the existence of issues relating to class structure, and maintain that the stratification of the classes is a necessary function of an ordered society. By this account, functionalists believe that inequality serves a purpose and that it is an enduring societal trait. However, a more realistic approach by Bordieu declared that a lack of material/cultural/symbolic capital and social background would result in a poor class habitus, creating the illusion that the social order is naturally occurring phenomenon (Murariu, 2010).…

    • 215 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    The Origins of Sociology

    • 1771 Words
    • 8 Pages

    In the mid 1800’s, French author Auguste Comte came up with the term “sociology”. Although previous philosophers, historians and political thinkers had studied and tried to make sense of their societies, this was when it began to develop as a distinctive science. Comte grew up in a time of great social and political upheaval. As the world rapidly changed, he and others began to study the societies they lived in. He sought to create a science of society that could explain the laws of the social world just as science explained the functioning of the physical world. (Giddens 2006:11)…

    • 1771 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Sociological theories give us different ways to look at our societies. Sociological perspectives are used as a way of looking at human behaviour and how it has an effect on the society in which we live. They are used to interpret and provide sociological explanations for how individuals act and how it affects society as a whole. The “science of society” was developed by Auguste Compte in the 19th century. However, not all sociologists share the same ideas. This assignment will be considering two sociological perspectives in detail and comparing a third. The perspectives being considered are Marxism, functionalism, which took a macro view of society, and interactionism, which took a micro view on society. and the areas being considered are…

    • 1562 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays

Related Topics