Essay on The Capital Theory by Pierre Bourdieu

888 Words 4 Pages
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, …show more content…
in friendships or neighbourhood – always disguise economic behaviour, i.e. actions that follow socio-economic calculation of benefit/profit even though the actions don´t present themselves as such. Thus for Bourdieu, capital acts as a social relation within a system of exchange, and the term is extended to all the goods material and symbolic, without distinction, that present themselves as rare and worthy of being sought after in a particular social formation. With his approach Bourdieu tries to present in detail that the world does not comply with games of chance with equal opportunities and without competition (Bourdieu, 1983). Rather, through the accumulation and inheritance of capital the opportunities of actors in a social space are characterized by a high grade of inequality.
In his 1983 published essay "economic capital, cultural capital, social capital" Bourdieu distinguishes three basic types of capital. Economic capital is immediately and directly convertible into financial assets and is particularly suitable for institutionalization in the form of property rights; Social capital is the capital to social obligations or relationships. It is subject to certain conditions and is also convertible into economic capital (Bourdieu, 1983). Social capital may to some extent function as a multiplier with respect to the realization of the other forms of

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