Bourdieu and Social Capital

  • Linda AsquithEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Compromise after Conflict book series (PSCAC)


This chapter provides an overview of the key theories relating to social capital, focusing on Putnam, Coleman and particularly Bourdieu. In doing so, this chapter shows the flexibility and versatility of Bourdieu’s version of social capital, illustrating how the underpinning concepts of field and habitus allow sight of the power differentials that are often neglected in broader analyses of society.

The chapter illustrates how Bourdieu’s ideas allow us to examine the relationship between structure and agency, highlighting how individual factors may be constrained by larger structural ones such as law and policy.

This chapter also considers the idea of the linguistic habitus, showing how it is not just about what is said, but how it is said and in what context. The linguistic habitus shows how individuals may have their speech restricted or limited in some way, depending upon the context of that speech.

The chapter concludes by arguing that analysing the relationship between field, habitus and capital can illustrate hidden structures that facilitate or inhibit an individual’s life.


Field Habitus Social networks Social capital Structures Power relations Economic capital 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leeds Beckett UniversityLEEDSUK

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