Capital and Capital - History of Sociology

Capital and capitals

With the concept of capital as the sum of money or assets embodied in the means of production, buildings, houses and shares, each of us is familiar. However, sociologists, first of all P. Bourdieu, discovered other forms of capital that do not influence the behavior of the broad masses of people much more than nowadays and much more than the financial capital.

P. Bourdieu distinguishes the following types of capital: economic (material wealth), cultural (cultural level, education), social (family, friends, church, clubs, etc.) and symbolic capital as a kind of social (authority, reputation).

P. Bourdieu's four types of capital (economic, cultural, social, symbolic) can be likened to four types of stratification scale - income, education, power, prestige.

Capital is the sum of the accumulated benefits in one of the four main fields of social space. If an individual has a large amount of knowledge and high qualification, then it means that he has a solid cultural capital created in the field of culture. It is created in the process of socialization, upbringing and education. Socialization means the successful development of social roles, upbringing and inculturation - the assimilation of moral values ​​and cultural norms, education - the assimilation of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

If you have a lot of money and real estate, a high salary, there are stocks and many other things that a successful person needs today, then he has accumulated financial capital.

When you have many acquaintances, friends, relatives and simple friends ready to help you, to help you advance, to help out in a difficult situation and to do many other things, then you are the owner of a solid social capital. Social capital is a resource based on family relations and the relations of membership in a group. It is formed due to the presence of a stable network of formal or informal relations, mutual recognition and recognition.

Finally, if you have many honorary titles, diplomas, posts and other symbolic goods, manipulating and using them, you succeed, then you are the bearer of symbolic capital. Capital, denoting P. Bourdieu's position as an agent in the field, represents the degree of power over the field. These are resources that promote the vertical mobility of the individual and create conditions for his dominance in the social hierarchy.

So, four types of capital are accumulated benefits in four main social fields.

Sociological Workshop

Often advertising uses popular actors, which are trusted by a broad mass of buyers. This is an example of the exploitation and self-exploitation of symbolic capital. And what else does the actor have on the viewers? Only his charm and authority? What is the symbolic and social capital of the actor?

Four kinds of capital can perform the following actions :

1) to be converted, i.e. exchange for each other or for something else and, therefore, be liquid;

2) connect, reinforcing each other and the position of the holder of capital in a social field;

3) to discourage the receipt or increase of each other, when the acquisition of greater or deeper knowledge occurs at the cost of impairing the material condition of the person;

4) to accumulate, i.e. to be "self-increasing value", which brings profit, to increase in volume and price;

5) Restructuring, i.e. change the internal structure and layout of elements, replace less valuable components with more valuable ones, etc.

P. Bourdieu also proposes to distinguish the state of capital: incorporeal, i.e. in the form of long dispositions of the mind and body (for example, taste); objectified - in the form of material objects (book); institutionalized in the form of objectification of the agent's attitude to social networks and institutions (diploma).

The growth of any type of capital can lead to growth (increase):

1) Dignity and respect;

2) domination and "legitimate coercion";

3) status and material well-being.

To some extent, symbolic capital is used, which is based on reputation, opinions, respect for significant others. It is unstable and can be lost with suspicion, criticism, it is difficult for transmission and objectification, weakly liquidated. "Symbolic capital," writes Bourdieu, "is trust, it is the power represented to those who have received sufficient recognition."

What type of capital is stronger and more powerful? In different situations and epochs, as well as types of society - in different ways. Social capital is not only a circle of influential friends and blat, but also the ability to be the soul of the company, the leader of the group, to have an informal authority.

Sociological Workshop

In April 2012, in 11th York, the costumes of the outstanding singer Whitney Houston, who died in February of the same year, were sold for more than $ 80,000, or four times more than their preliminary estimate. What kind of capital is it?

Symbolic capital - scientific titles, high posts, orders and medals, awards, prizes, honorary citizenship, ie. influence of status. I bought a diploma or a candidate one and you made a career. This is a deception, because under them there is no real cultural capital (knowledge). Why do our deputies, already possessing high status but positions, in addition try to acquire scientific degrees? Does this give them a financial, symbolic, social gain?

The effect of one type of capital on another can be seen in the following example. Two or three years after the employment of a deputy of the State Duma, the material well-being of a person increases several times. In this case, symbolic capital contributes to the growth of financial and social capital.

The social field, according to Bourdieu, can be described as a multidimensional space of positions in which any position, in turn, again presents a multidimensional coordinate system whose values ​​correlate with the corresponding variables. Variables can be various types of capital - economic, social, symbolic or some other. Each type of capital is recognized by a set of socially significant (or legitimized) characteristics. For economic property - a document that confirms the right of possession, for cultural property - a diploma and academic title, for social capital - a noble title. Symbolic capital, he suggests calling prestige, reputation, name, authority, etc. These are the most common signs that can be fully established in the course of an empirical study. In other of his works Bourdieu will expand their list (Figure 14.2).

Four types of capital (according to P. Bourdieu)

Fig. 14.2. Four types of capital (according to P. Bourdieu)

The correlation of forces between social agents in each subfield, for example the economy, is determined by the composition of the types of capital (incorporated or materialized) at each moment of time. Such a composition depends on a mass of factors: the flow of investment in the economy of the country, the amount of taxation, the state of the labor market and goods, the size of bank assets, etc. In the United States, middle-class representatives act as holders of shares of various corporations and firms, they themselves or through their trusted managers monitor the state of the securities market, investing and shifting their capital from one segment to another. Their economic position should be considered fluid, very mobile and mobile. The trumps in the game here are determined by the confluence of various economic circumstances, sometimes unpredictable, such as the war in the Middle East and the fall in the price of oil. Social agents in this field not only compete and compete with each other, but profit and are ruined often together with the companies to which they invested their capital, or, in the words of Bourdieu, the objectified product of accumulated social labor. The relationship between social agents in such a subfield is institutionalized in stable, recognized social or guaranteed legal social statuses. And not individual, but often corporate (invested companies, banks that guarantee the reliability of their deposits, etc.).

If a unique combination that has been formed in a particular (economic) field by a particular agent (say, the manager of such a department of the corporation "General Motors"), is supplemented with a combination of influence forces that he has in another field (or subfield), for example (graduate of the prestigious Harvard, Ph.D., author of 30 scientific publications), then in the end we will get an amazing topology of personal social space (Figure 14.3).

The basis of social capital is the system of social relations of the individual

Fig. 14.3. The basis of social capital is the system of social relations of the individual

thematic pictures

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