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

Elite takeover of the protest field

The AGM field was vulnerable to an elite takeover because it is newly constituted and as such it is a fluid environment. It is not established nor has it become fully institutionalized like the types of fields Bourdieu mentions, for example the education field (Bourdieu and Passseron, 1996). The routines and practices are in flux, there is a constant stream of new entrants with different ideological positions, goals, amounts and forms of capital embodied in their habitus. Therefore, there is no clear accepted form of practice that is routinized or institutionalized as in other more established fields. Thus, agents may easily relinquish the capital they have and try to gain the more superior forms of capital on offer from elites, rather than defend their current position. Moreover, I think it is reasonable to assume that those NGOs wanting to reduce global poverty believed the best way to do this is to work with powerful elites in government and the G8, since they have capital that can be used to progress the politics of reducing inequality.

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