What is a social theory of Pierre Bourdieu?
Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist who developed his theory on-field production through multiple studies, mainly ‘Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste’ and ‘The Field of Cultural Production.’ In his field theory, he developed a concept that helped to “explain the relationship between people’s practices and the contexts in which those practices occur” with people as participants of fields that are “fluid and dynamic, rather than static, entities.” With the social world taking center stage, Bourdieu refers to it as one that consists of multidimensional spaces – fields and so-called sub-fields that can be “a series of institutions, rules, rituals, conventions, categories, designations. Those fields are occupied by agents, “who compete for specific kinds of capital” within the field and build relationships with other agents to increase their cultural capital in multiple ways.
According to Rocamora, the traditional field of fashion media is comprised of “magazines, newspapers, journalists, photographers, stylists, makeup artists, and so on – all involved in the definition of its norms and values.” Considered as privileged key agents in the field of fashion media they get to participate in different sub-fields such as blogging and print media, as well as digital media.
With regards to digital media, key agents have remained more or less the same in the field. Identified as established players by Bourdieu, they get to “compete for specific kinds of capital” defined as social, symbolic, cultural and economic capital. Social capital, for example, refers to the connection of an agent to others within a field and the amounts of essential contacts one holds, whereas symbolic capital refers to the way “an agent is recognized or perceived by others in their field.” Moreover, cultural capital refers to “a form of value associated with culturally authorized tastes” closely intertwined with the embodied tastes and skills of an agent as well as his academic background. Finally, economic capital is mainly associated with financial assets, such as possessing certain valuable goods.