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Keywords:

  • Bourdieu;
  • class analysis;
  • domination;
  • field;
  • forms of capital;
  • power;
  • social class;
  • social space;
  • status;
  • stratification

Abstract

Recent developments in class analysis, particularly associated with so-called ‘cultural class analysis’; have seen the works of Pierre Bourdieu take centre stage. Apart from the general influence of ‘habitus’ and ‘cultural capital’, some scholars have tried to reconstruct class analysis with concepts drawn from Bourdieu. This involves a theoretical reorientation, away from the conventional concerns of class analysis with property and market relations, towards an emphasis on the multiple forms of capital. Despite the significant potential of these developments, such a reorientation dismisses or neglects the relations of power and domination founded in the economic institutions of capitalism as a crucial element of what class is. Through a critique of some recent attempts by British authors to develop a ‘Bourdieusian’ class theory, the paper reasserts the centrality of the relations of power and domination that used to be the domain of class analysis. The paper suggests some elements central to a reworked class analysis that benefits from the power of Bourdieu's ideas while retaining a perspective on the fundamentals of class relations in capitalism.