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Symbolic Interactionism and Bourdieu's theory

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Bourdieu’s theory seems to emphasize the centrality of logic of practice and this is done in such a manner that it concentrates on the body and practices that take place in a social world. He stresses the importance of the mechanisms of social dominion and duplication and these are based on practices that ensure the competence of individuals in the social world. He further argues that the actions of individuals are not necessarily based on rational thought where they carefully calculate the consequences of every action that they take. Instead, he states that individuals make choices based on practical logic as well as the dispositions of their bodies.

Bourdieu’s theory is essentially based on an analysis of the means through which social hierarchies are reproduced and it is highly critical of Marxist theories for only concentrating on economic factors of society. Bourdieu argues that individuals themselves act in a manner that has direct influence over their societies rather than economic factors. Furthermore, his theory dwells on the belief that social actors play an active part in the imposition and engagement of in the development of their cultures.

These are normally accompanied by symbolic systems in the society, which help in ensuring that there is a reproduction of the social structures that bring about domination within the society. When Bordieu’s speaks of symbolic violence, he believes that it is the means through which societies have developed mechanisms that can be used to make the arbitrariness of social order to look more natural so that it cannot be challenged by members of the society. This is especially the case with the overweight Mexican women who despite their having a risk of developing health problems have instead chosen to accept themselves as they are.

They feel that since they are mothers, they are required to ensure that they put their families first and this is done in a manner that makes them more or less socially acceptable. For Bourdieu, the social world has come to be divided into fields and these are formed in such a way that they enable the differentiation of social activities. These fields lead to the creation diverse and autonomous social rooms in which there are contesting centres around certain types of capital (Steinmetz, 2011).

They are centred on a belief in a hierarchical structure whereby the diminuendos of fields arises out of the fight of social players trying to conquer the prevailing positions within it. Despite the fact that like Marx, Bourdieu is also a proponent of some elements of the conflict theory, he goes beyond the economic struggles that take place in society and goes directly for the social struggle between the different classes in society.

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preview essay on Symbolic Interactionism and Bourdieu's theory
  • Pages: 5 (1250 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Sociology
  • Level: Masters
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