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This essay is going to further exemplify the notion of symbolic power, and encompass it to the social phenomena of homosexuality in a dominant heterosexual environment. Bourdieu uses the term symbolic power to refer

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Explain and offer an evaluation of the concept of symbolic power and the associated idea of symbolic violence. In your answer, either briefly apply the concept of symbolic power to illuminate some social phenomenon or critically discuss how the concept of symbolic power has been applied in a study of a social phenomenon. There are plenty of social phenomenon which you could discuss, from education systems, language, the media, politics, class, consumption, gender, sport, university and so on. "The specificity of symbolic violence resides precisely in the fact that it requires of the person who undergoes it an attitude which defies the ordinary alternative between freedom and constraint". (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992, p. 168). For Bourdieu, the notion of symbolic violence (or in some cases symbolic power) is central to understanding how social class inequalities are reproduced (Bourdieu & Passeron,1977, p. 179)The different classes and class segments are engaged in a symbolic struggle properly speaking, one aimed at imposing the definition of the social world that is best suited to their interests. In essence it represents the way in which people play a role in reproducing their own subordination through the gradual internalization and acceptance of those ideas and structures that tend to subordinate them. It is an act of violence precisely because it leads to the constraint and subordination of individuals, but it is also symbolic in the sense that this is achieved indirectly and without overt and explicit acts of force or coercion. ...read more.


Illusio is that ability to understand the rules of the game as well as being able to reproduce the investment (skill) on the field. Sexual prejudice often goes misrecognised, as the dominant heterosexuals undermine the minority of homosexuals. There are two main reasons for why a discourse on sexuality would need to be created (Foucault 1979). First, the late 1800s were a source of emerging "disciplinary societies," orderly and corrective authoritative control relies on the power of normalizing ideas to control people's bodies and actions by controlling their sexual thoughts, feelings, and identities (Foucalt, 1979). Thus, the homosexual was "invented" for the purpose of defining, stigmatizing, and ultimately regulating "otherness" as a means of establishing and reifying procreative sexuality and the subservient role of sexuality to capitalism; in this sense, homosexuals are unique, as few groups of people have been created for the sole purpose of vilification (ibid.). Second, migration patterns across Europe were resulting in rapid population growth and a new emphasis on understanding bodies and intimacy emerged; it was discovered that by controlling sex, one could also control the behaviors of both individuals and populations (Foucault, 1979). Political influence, the education system as well as social structures lead to the homosexual social groups being the outside "other". As earlier in the essay the notion of misrecognition, the heterosexual groups are so normal that there is misrecognition, inevitably through politics ...read more.


In this Bourdieu elimates the ideology of an individual creating him/her self. Rather it is the dominant discourse that sub consciously creates a self identity. In a sense that if your tastes don't match then you are seen to be outside the sphere of normality and dubbed as the other, this is what is happening to the homosexual majority. In conclusion, symbolic violence is the means of imposing meanings as 'legitimate by concealing the power relations which are the basis of its force' and at the same time communicating a logic of disinterest. With retrospect of the homosexual community around the globe it is obvious that symbolic violence is plays a large part in society, as there is constant conflict between groups in order to gain over a field's capital for dominance. Reference List Bourdieu, P. (1991) Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge: Polity Press Bourdieu, P (2000) Pascalian Mediations. Stanford: Stanford University Press. (pp.164-205) Bourdieu, P. & Passeron, J. (1977) Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. London: Sage. Bourdieu, P. & Wacquant, L. (1992) An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press. Foucault, M (1979) The history of sexuality / Michel Foucault; translated from the France by Robert Hurley. London: Allen Lane Kean L. (2004). Issue: Volume 41, Number 9. Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group pg 1759-1788 Moi, T. (1991). Appropriating Bourdieu: Feminist Theory and Pierre Bourdieu's Sociology of Culture. New Literary History, 22, 1017-1049. Thorp, J. (1992). The Social Construction of Homosexuality. Phoenix, 46(1), 54-65. ...read more.

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