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Bourdieu's Concepts Habitus and Capital

Buy custom Bourdieu's Concepts Habitus and Capital essay

Buy custom Bourdieu's Concepts Habitus and Capital essay

In the real world, several issues depict Bourdieu's view of the society. As Bourdieu held, society is organized and reproduced in a systematic manner. In reference to this establishment, the focus is on how social class manifests itself in the contemporary society. For example, looking at the American society, academic performance is an area of concern. For educational sociologists, performance in academics is socially organized and structured. Thus, this essay endeavours to demonstrate that social class is a societal creation.

Social classification takes the form of a hierarchical ranking of individuals in society. The arrangement takes into consideration, the economic and social aspects of an individual or a family. Individuals from wealthy backgrounds seem to lead comfortable lives throughout while those from poor backgrounds face various hardships. Cultural considerations like the race, skin colour, creed, among other things, affect the social standing of a person in the society.

Boudieu believed that, as a concept, habitus was an enigmatic concept. The centrality of the concept in Boudieu’s sociological approach affirms this view. However, the term remains highly controversial. Habitus transcends deep-rooted divisions on thinking about the social world. Thus, the term touches on several facets of social life. Nevertheless, the term is very significant in conducting empirical investigations about the social world.

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There are two main variants of the term habitus, the sociological and experiential. In the experiential sense, the feeling of being free agents yet we base decisions on assumptions is discerned. In the sociological sense, it is notable that social conduct is characterized by regularity. For instance, children from working class often secure working class occupations upon graduation. However, there are no rules which demand that the social class one occupies should dictate outcomes on life matters.

Boudieu claimed that habitus belongs to social agents. The agents could be individuals, institutions or any groups. The agents influence the structuring of the society. Both the present and past influence the current state of individuals. For instance, family upbringing or educational experience reflects prevailing circumstances. These aspects influence the success paths travelled by people. Such structures are systematic rather than random. Further, the structures create perceptions that are embedded in the minds of people.

Hence, in the views of Boudieu, the sciety is organized the way it is. The idea that the structure is systematic implies that the state is reproduced repeatedly over time. Thus, the issue of social class in the US is organized and reproduced socially. In this regard, a person who is born in a poor background has access to limited resources among other things. Such a person has to contend with poor education, health services, etc. These issues affect the person’s development greatly. In the end, such a person ends up occupying odd jobs since he/she often has limited knowledge or education owing to the poor background.

In the views of Boudieu, the issue of capital is also influential in shaping class development. Capital reflects the position that a person occupies within a society. The focus is on the current position. A person who occupies a disadvantaged position faces several hurdles in attempting to climb up the social ladder. For instance, the person often has limited connections. The implication is that such an individual is unable to link himself or his family to powerful people. Hence, he and the family cannot access high-ranking opportunities such as educational or healthcare services. This situation affects the type of family the person brings up leading to a reproduction of the family. This view is held in regards to the view that in the end, the children from such a poor family are limited and are likely to end up being disadvantaged, just like the parent.

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As Boudieu explained in Language and Symbolic Power, linguistic exchanges are critical in expressing power relations among individuals regarding power. This is because intonations, accents and vocabulary usage reflect the differences in power relations among people. This is especially clear since people who hold different social status in societies often depict their power when speaking. Those who occupy bigger ranks or higher social status are able to exude more authority than are those who occupy lesser social statuses. By exuding confidence, such people are able to access better opportunities.

On the same issue, it is discernable that although same words are spoken, variations in the way they are received are visible. Similarly, circumstances under which words are uttered affect the extent to which they hold influence. For instance, some words are applicable when issuing threats while others are useful in appealing to people. Overall, it is held that language is an integral element of social life, which plays an instrumental role regarding the social ranking of individuals. In this regard, the choice of words could influencee the kind of people a person associates.

Bauer and Trudgill focused on issues bordering on grammar. The main idea is to underscore how the rules of English language are broken. In the current times, the spread of ‘Estuary English’ is testament to the state of affairs. The implication is that various social and geographic groups have adopted different versions of the English language. Thus, depending on the social or geographical position, some grammatical errors, which are tolerable, emerge. The levels of tolerance have continued to vary as times change. It is also necessary to point out that the writing of English texts requires that the author understands the audience for which he or she is writing. Thus, authors are allowed to alter the structure of the sentences they use in order to make a statement. The variation in language also underlies the structuring and reproduction of class among societies.

The Bourdieuian analysis helps shed light on the internal components of the situation by bringing out clearly the issue of classism in the society include race, skin colour, creed and discrimination. On the other hand, the dynamics centre on how the society is organized. For instance, the society is organized in a way that only those from the upper social class of the society are able to benefit from access to various resources. Further, the society facilitates the perpetuation of inequality by placing qualifications, which ensure that only the well-off people continue to dominate. A Bourdieuian analysis could prove helpful in explaining why this particular set of conditions came into existence. Bordieu commences by observing that the society is socially organized and structured. Further, he claims that groups, individuals and institutions act as social agents.

 In conclusion, social class is a societal creation. The critical point is that the creations are perpetuated and reproduced within societies by the social agents such as individuals and institutions. Another key point that comes out is that social classes influence the growth and development of persons within societies. This occurs as class affects access to opportunities. In arriving at the conclusion, focus is on how the social organization and structuring limits the resources each group, person or institution access. Such an arrangement also affects the success opportunities that are available to each individual or group. The structuring promotes the systematic reproduction of the social classes. Thus, understanding the phenomenon is possible using the Bourdieuian concepts of habitus and capital.

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