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date: 20 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores three central questions. The first section describes the four core varieties of capitals: cultural, social, economic, and symbolic. It highlights some peculiarites of Bourdieu’s approach: the focus on symbolic capital, a definition of social capital different from those of North American. A second section questions the limits of economic metaphors. Bourdieu borrows from the lexicon of economics (capitals, conversion rates). But he devotes attention to the sociopolitical dimension of the struggles for defining the conversion rates between capitals and warns that “rational” actions are one historical dimension of a complex space of “reasonable” actions. Finally, the chapter discusses the question of the number of capitals. Should one add to Bourdieu’s list something like a bodily or erotic capital? If each field values a specific capital, should researchers produce an endless list of specific capitals, or are these specific capitals always combinations of the four basic ones?

Keywords: Bourdieu, capital, symbolic capital, social capital, economics

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