Essay: Symbolic violence

Sample Essay

Bourdieu based his theory on various philosophers and entailed a major philosophical component in his theories that state that people’s social behaviour is largely based up on the social class they belong to. They associate within their own social bracket and act according to the education that is provided to these people according to their social class. The cultural education is largely based on two notions that is cultural arbitrariness and symbolic violence.

Cultural arbitrariness refers to those aspects of the society that are not the product of a human being’s nature nor they can be comprehended through logical analysis. These aspects are random established norms of the society and symbolic violence refers to the practices adopted by educators in order to impose or reinforce their ideologies on the budding members of the society. Symbolic violence can give rise to major logic of disinterest amongst the people; Bourdieu described symbolic violence as “legitimate by concealing the power relations which are the basis of its force”. (Bourdieu & Passeron 1977: 4)

Bourdieu used the application of his concepts pertaining to habitus and capital on the social front to analyse class distinction. His analysis tries to define how middle-class culture interacts with popular culture. Both popular and middle-class cultures are very different in essence; his research and theory determined that the distinction between both the cultures is the result of aesthetics and the mind-set of the individuals that sets them apart. The gap between aesthetic judgments is further broadened by education and class upbringing. He further went on to define the distinction through his social space theory by differentiating between the resources that individuals belonging to each culture are endowed with such as their habitus and capital.

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