What We Can Learn From Bourdieu
David Brooks discovers the French sociologist:
"Every minute or hour, in ways we’re not even conscious of, we as individuals and members of our class are competing for dominance and respect. We seek to topple those who have higher standing than us and we seek to wall off those who are down below. Or, we seek to take one form of capital, say linguistic ability, and convert it into another kind of capital, a good job. Most groups conceal their naked power grabs under a veil of intellectual or aesthetic purity. Bourdieu used the phrase “symbolic violence” to suggest how vicious this competition can get ...
Bourdieu helps you understand what Donald Trump is all about. Trump is not much of a policy maven, but he’s a genius at the symbolic warfare Bourdieu described. He’s a genius at upending the social rules and hierarchies that the establishment classes (of both right and left) have used to maintain dominance.
Bourdieu didn’t argue that cultural inequality creates economic inequality, but that it widens and it legitimizes it. That’s true, but as the information economy has become more enveloping, cultural capital and economic capital have become ever more intertwined. Individuals and classes that are good at winning the cultural competitions Bourdieu described tend to dominate the places where economic opportunity is richest; they tend to harmonize with affluent networks and do well financially. ...
Bourdieu radicalizes, widens and deepens one’s view of inequality.”
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