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Pierre Bordieu’s Concepts of Reflexivity, Habitus, Field and Cultural Capital Essay Sample 

This essay sample will focus upon the social concepts of reflexivity, habitus, field, and cultural capital that is being stated by Pierre Bordieu. Pierre Bordieu was a French sociologist who was a philosopher, writer, and public intellectual who had a major contribution in the field of sociology education, theories, and aesthetics.

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His work in the field of sociology primarily focuses upon the society and social order that is being maintained within and across the generations.

We will discuss briefly all the concepts of reflexivity, field, capital, and habitus according to Bourdieu.

Cultural Capital concept of Pierre Bourdieu

In the 1970s era, Pierre Bourdieu developed the cultural capital concept which stated that how the power was transferred within the society and how social classes were maintained.

Few people believed Bourdieu to be Marxist while some believed him to be not Marxist in his thoughts.

Karl Marx believed that the social status or position of any person in the market is decided on the basis of his personal assets and capital. Both Karl Marx and Pierre Bordieu believed that cultural capital has a vital role to play.

Cultural capital is passed from the family members to the children to teach them new skills. These skills can be in the form of dancing, reading, singing, poetry skills, etc.

Such extra skills help the children in performing better in academics and even in the extracurricular activities. It helps them to value education, skills, knowledge, education system, and learning process.

Cultural capital also helps the adults to develop skills, gaining knowledge, and in the learning experience of lifetime which helps them to attain jobs and the top position in their profession.

Pierre Bordieu’s concept of cultural capital is the culmination of various social elements that includes mannerism, skills, tastes, postures, belongings, credentials, etc. It can be all acquired through belonging to a social group.

Even people sharing similar tastes have the same cultural capital as others. It creates a sense of belongingness and collective identity.

Habitus concept of Pierre Bordieu

Habitus is an influential concept given by Pierre Bourdieu which refers to the cultural capital that is deeply rooted in the skills, dispositions, and habits. These elements possessed by us is a result of our life experiences.

Habitus extends to the taste for cultural objects of food, art, and clothing. He uses the term ‘Habitus’ for referring to the collective entity through which dominant cultural and social conditions are met and established.

It is being conferred through the various institutions in the form of a specific family setting. It is also being consolidated through the various institutions of education and employment.

Habitus reproduces both itself and its subjects through the various social institutions by creating social-cultural conditions so that subjects can be related to each other.

It is a struggle to change the sociocultural conditions of habitus. It confers unfair levels of sociocultural privilege and even invisibilizes it.

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Field Concept of Pierre Bordieu 

Pierre Bourdieu developed the field concept in sociology which stated that the world is divided into different societies, distinct classes with different fields or areas of practice. For example, education, law, belief, religion, etc. Each field has it’s a unique set of rules, capital, knowledge.

The field is a system of social position which is being structured internally in terms of power and relationships.

Reflexivity Concept of Pierre Bordieu 

Pierre Bourdieu stated that reflexivity is capable of being incorporated in the different levels through teaching and learning. Bourdieu argued that reflexivity is part of the solution and no problem. Reflexivity helps in carrying out any form of social research.

His concept of reflexivity is epistemological, objective, and collective in nature. His reflexivity aims at objectification but needs development to help in achieving objective knowledge.

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The above essay sample gives a brief explanation of the concepts of reflexivity, field, cultural capital, and habitus according to Pierre Bourdieu.

Sociology,  Applied Social Studies QQI Level 5, Social Studies QQI Level 5, Health and Social Studies students can read this sample to understand these above-written concepts explained by the French sociologist Bourdieu and to understand the use of the social concepts.

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