Bourdieu's Theory To Student Life At Swinburne Habitus

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Pierre Bourdieu was a prominent French sociologist primarily interested in the dynamics of power in society and the way in which it is reproduced. His theory was derived from Webers theoretical framework and claimed that his theories were always empirically driven (Seidman, 2008, p.145). Bourdieu’s theory contended that the relationship between agency and structure is the result of the interplay between capital, habitus and relative location in the social field. This theory implies that human’s are born as blank slates and learn through developing habitus. Bourdieu’s theory can be applied to explain the problem of health inequalities in the contemporary world. The key ideas of Bourdieu’s theory are largely relevant to student life at Swinburne…show more content…
That is, habitus is the embodiment of social structures, which is subsequently expressed through action combining the object and subjective social worlds. It is a set of guidelines that people are often unaware of, it can constrain but not determine action of individuals (Seidman, 2008, p.146). This suggests that according to Bourdieu, humans are neither completely free agents nor passive products of a coercive social structure. In everyday life individuals although unaware act according to their habitus making decisions as they engage in various fields gathering and implementing different forms of capital (Collyer et al., 2015, p.689). People who live in a similar position in social space will tend to have a similar habitus (Pinxten & Lievens, 2014, p.1097). This suggests, habitus can be used as an indicator of social class, as people from the same class would most likely have a similar tastes and preferences. For example, working class may tend to see things in a more functional way such as prefer to eat filling meals whereas middle class may prefer more sophisticated food. This suggests that lower class individuals are more practically orientated and focus more on facts, whereas upper class tend to be more orientated to abstract…show more content…
Cultural capital can help to explain the difference in academic achievements among students at university. It is suggested that academic achievement is not the result of merit or natural ability but rather a result of other forms of capital. The educational system serves to reproduce the social structures by allowing the hereditary transmission of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1986, p.244). That is, contrary to popular belief, Bourdieu suggests that education is not a driving force behind social mobility but rather acts as a reinforcement of the current social structures (Loveday, 2014, p.573). Academic success is largely the result of cultural capital, privileged children have a habitus that allows them to perform well in educational institutions, whereas working class children have not learned the correct behaviour (Bourdieu, 1986, p.245). Cultural capital will lead to high educational attainment, which in turn will be reproduced in the next generation, creating an endless cycle. The reproduction of cultural capital is rarely challenged due to the fact it is largely unconscious and individuals are often unaware of it, it is also reinforced through language (Bourdieu, 1986,

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