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Webb, Jen, Tony Schirato, and Geoff Danaher Understanding Bourdieu. Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2002. Print.

This introduction to famed sociologist Pierre Bourdieu provides an overview of some of his most important conceptualizations including: cultural fields, cultural capital, symbolic capital, habitus, and practice.  In addition, this work also provides an overview of the different strands of thinking that informed Bourdieu’s work and how his own theories consider larger institutions like secondary schools, the university, and mass media.

Specifically, this source does a really nice job in Chapter’s 1, 2, & 3 of describing the cultural field and the forms of capital that are wrapped up in the day-to-day negotiations of social moments.  These sections also consider the “inalienable” culture that exists outside the values of the marketplace.  A great example of this was the notion of “Olympic Sport” that proliferated discussions of the Olympic Games before the 1960s.  During this time, the Olympics were something of “sports for sports sake”; however, sponsorship, television involvement and the corporatization of sports teams led to a what was once an autonomous field of inalienable culture being changed into a heterogenous field of commodities.  I think by considering inalienable culture vis-à-vis gift economies and the generation and accumulation of cultural capital via obsolesced media artifacts, I can put Bourdieu to work in my project.

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