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The Great Explanation of the Notions of Bourdieu

There are four basic concepts introduced by a popular French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu in the video item “Pierre Bourdieu: Introduction”. These basic concepts are Capital, Field, Habitus, and Symbolic Violence. These concepts help to explain the structure of the world and the nature of power.

There are four kinds of capital differentiated by Pierre Bourdieu: economic capital that presupposes material state, cultural capital is the knowledge acquired during the whole life, social capital that includes group membership and relationships, and symbolic capital that consists of the concepts of honor, prestige, and recognition. In the case of psychology practice, social and symbolic capitals prevail as far as they are connected with the position and the role in the society and the attitude of its society to every person. From the psychological point of view, every person should feel themselves an integral part of society.

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Pierre Bourdieu makes emphasis the importance of fitting habitus to the field. There are different kinds of fields such as scientific, religious, academic, and political fields where the position of people is determined by the amount and weight of the capital they have on the one hand and the habitus on the other hand. Habitus is characterized from different points of view. It is a mental or cognitive system of structures acquired during the whole life on the one hand and it is the way people produce their thoughts and actions on the other hand. The habitus structures the social world and it is structured by the social world.

Pierre Bourdieu introduces the concept of the fish in the water when the habitus matches the field when a person evaluates the situation and can act simultaneously. On the contrary, the concept of fish out of water is presented when the person is not able to operate in a new field with different rules. There are certain cases when the rules of the field are violated by the top members that cause dissatisfaction and disturbance from other representatives of the structure. For example, the students as the lower representatives of the academic field may be discontented with their professors as the top members of the academic field. They may express their discontent with the demonstrations and rebellions which are considered to be symbolic violence.

People are accustomed to the academic field with professors and teachers at the top and students who are taught by them. Bunker Roy’s Barefoot College has overturned the whole structure of the education system. This college is for poor and illiterate citizens of villages. Women and men who cannot even read or write may be solar engineers, doctors, dentists, and artisans. Graduating from this college, the students do not have the certificate; they will be certified by the society where they work.

The necessity of education is not the power; people who know should serve society. The most interesting point in this program is that solar energy is used instead of electricity. There are a lot of taught solar engineers who support the whole village with special solar equipment. There are also special solar cookers who prepare food with the help of solar energy. The Barefoot College is the best example of supporting society with specialists whose work is environmentally friendly and useful. Such a program was introduced in India but it is a good example for other poor countries such as New Zealand where poor people need to feel necessary and useful for society.