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Home arrow Sociology arrow Bourdieu and Social Movements: Ideological Struggles in the British Anti-Capitalist Movement

Conclusion

This chapter has put forward a new framework for understanding activist practice. It offers a new way of examining political agendas of groups, focusing on inter- and intra-movement conflict, rather than just the conflict between elites and social movements. I suggest that the habitus concept can be used to trace the political history and socialization of activists, which in turn explains why division and political distinction exists between political groups. This distinction provides the basis for ideological competition and conflict between groups who want to direct their particular struggle. I have argued there are three levels to this dynamic, which take place within fields. I have explained that the field concept is akin to a game and, as such, it captures the complex nature of interaction between all the different players within different fields. I have suggested that the field concept be understood at three distinct levels. The anti-capitalist movement field consists of those activists who wish to overturn capitalism - in this case, anarchists and socialists. The second level includes the interaction between anti-capitalists and all those within the AGM field, who are anti-neoliberal but not necessarily anticapitalist. Finally, both fields exist within the broader political field where elites reside. Fields are like games and agents within them are like players who make moves to further their political agenda. This, of course, depends on the resources they possess in the form of cultural, economic, social and symbolic capital. I have argued that this concept helps us to understand what resources are available to players and how they might be motivated to make certain moves within their respective fields. Finally, I argued that the concept of doxa, which refers to the taken for granted, enables us to understand why the Occupy movement emerged and how the foundations of the political field were shaken.

The next chapter uses the first concept of Bourdieu's theoretical formula - the habitus - to explain the root cause of ideological division and what I term political distinction.

 
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