The Capital Theory by Pierre Bourdieu

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The extended concept of capital, which was largely developed by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu dates back to an entanglement of the perspectives of Marx and Weber. In particular, he draws on the concept of capital by Marx, whilst picking up the theory of Weber where capital is a product of the accumulation of collective labour. But Bourdieu further generalizes the theory in order to develop a concept of capital in all its forms. Thereby, he dissociates his perspective sharply from a merely economist perspective and criticizes such concepts as only related to the exchange of goods, in a market driven and profit oriented processes. With this view, according to Bourdieu, all other process of exchange and calculation (social, cultural, symbolic, religious) implicitly (or explicit) are perceived as relations without interest and thus are left out of accounts as study objects. (Bourdieu, 1983; Fuchs-Heinritz & König, 2005) Bourdieu therewith opposes a concept of capital that is limited to the logic of market and property, since it is insufficient to understand the practice of social actors. In his economy of social practice, cultural and social processes of exchange and accumulation are just as important. The foil for the extended capital theory is largely based on findings attained during Bourdieu’s studies of the Kabyle society in Algeria. Based on the fact that the gift exchange among the Kabyles serves as economic purposes but is socially staged as a non-calculative moment of a noble relationship, he concludes that even those actions are economically driven, that are posing/attest itself as disinterested and merely symbolically driven (Fuchs-Heinritz & König 2005). For Bourdieu, this means that the theory of real economic-a... ... middle of paper ... ...ili et al., 2012). Works Cited Bourdieu, P. (1987) Sozialer Sinn. Frankfurt a. M.: Suhrkamp. Bourdieu, P. (1986) The forms of capital, in Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education (Ed. J. Richardson). New York, Greenwood, 241-258. The article appears here for the first time in English. Translated by Richard Nice. Originally in: Bourdieu P., (1983) Ökonomisches Kapital, kulturelles Kapital, soziales Kapital, in Kreckel, R. (ed.), Soziale Ungleichheiten. (Soziale Welt, Sonderband 2.) Göttingen: Schwartz, 183–198. Bourdieu, P. (1979) The Disenchantment of the World; The Sense of Honour; The Kabyl House or the World Reversed. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1976) Entwurf einer Theorie der Praxis auf der ethnologischen Grundlage der kabylischen Gesellschaft (French orig.: Genf 1972). Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp.
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