In the field of contemporary sociology, there are a small number of theorists who have been significant in shaping the field. They were all concerned with creating a multidimensional theory that allows us to understand all aspects of social life. They all attempted, through their theories, to overcome the disparity between the individualist and the collectivist, as well as rational and non-rational orientations within the field of social theory. (Appelrouth and Edles, 2008). Contemporary sociology is unique from its predecessors in that it draws on a diverse set of disciplines. This was good in a way, but it also made it more difficult for competing social theorists to relate to each other. The theorist that will be examined in the essay is Pierre Bourdieu.
[...] This represents the way that a particular person or social groups speaks and it can be understood as a type of embodied cultural capital. This is one of the types of data that would need to be uncovered. (Swartz, 2007). The second is the objectified state. This actually refers to the objects that people own, works of art being an example. These are goods of culture that can be bought and sold, and that are evidence of the fact that some people live with greater means than others. [...]
[...] This leads into Bourdieu's ‘theory of practise' which is related to his conception of culture and social stratification. It argues that what is important in culture and the study of culture is not what people say or the theoretical models that they are supposedly attached to, what is important is what people do, the actions that they take. Bourdieu argued that what people do is a product of their practical senses. It is lead by the key concept which he introduces, habitus. [...]
[...] The work of Bourdieu helps us to see understand how stocks of knowledge based on the sociology of power and class create different lifeworlds. Bourdieu argues, as we have seen, that one of the aspects of life that class position effects is our level of cultural capital. As we know, cultural capital is a reference to informal social skills, habits, linguistic styles, and tastes that an individual demonstrates.” (Allan, 2005: 327). Therefore, if one were to empirically examine the colonization of the lifeworld or the reproduction of class relations, it is the cultural capital that must be examined. [...]
[...] As such, Bourdieu argues for what he termed ‘reflexivity' which is a methodical and scrupulously self-critical monitoring of the cognitive and conditions of the social world that allow for social scientific work to be possible. (Appelrouth and Edles, 2008). Finally, Bourdieu regarded the practice of sociology as ‘social-analysis'. Sociology is the means by which people are able to see and understand the social relations and the social structure that is founded on power and inequality. As was already mentioned, power structures in society require legitimacy, as this is a required condition for the exercise of power. [...]
[...] In this way, this person is acting in a way that maintains and enhances social inequalities, and when he reproduces, so to will he be reproducing his own subordinate (and dominate) position. (Swartz, 2007). This very principle can be applied to relations of domination that are based on gender or race and that shape the categories of perception that induce the dominated to reproduce their own subordinate position. Those within society that are discriminated against because of their gender or race utilize their habitus to choose the way they will act, and the role they will play within the culture of domination. [...]
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