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PART III - FIELD MECHANISMS

Michael Grenfell
Affiliation:
Trinity College Dublin
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Summary

Introduction

Part III contains four chapters, all looking at features of the way fields operate. Here, we subordinate particular considerations of habitus and field to aspects of their interrelationships and workings. Field operations are often played out in terms of social class, and Chapter 5 considers what we mean by this term and how Bourdieu employed it. For example, fields such as education, culture and politics are often transversed with strata characterized by their participants social origins. Here, issues of status and power are at stake, as well as cultural and economic standing. Groups often form in ways representative of their social derivation, and Bourdieu's field theory suggests how this comes about. However, fields also need a medium for operating, and Chapter 6, on capital, discusses their “currency”; in other words, the means by which field participants position themselves and affect change. This chapter considers capital in its various forms: symbolic, economic, cultural and social. However, fields are never “value-free” and homogeneous. Chapter 7, on doxa, discusses how orthodox values, practices and beliefs typify both fields and habitus, and how the configuration of such aspects makes up the unique typography of particular fields. Here, a number of fields are considered as exemplars, including the scientific or academic fields themselves. The implications of doxa for them are drawn out. Finally, we address the issue of change within fields and its impact on those operating in them. Bourdieu's field theory is a dynamic one, partly constructed to show how social phenomena evolve. The “complicity” between habitus and field, written about above, is never complete, and there is always a tension between individuals and the social environments in which they find themselves.

Type
Chapter
Information
Pierre Bourdieu
Key Concepts
, pp. 81 - 84
Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2012

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