Worlds, Fields and Networks: Becker, Bourdieu and the Structures of Social Relations

Wendy Bottero, Nick Crossley, Marco Santoro
2011 Cultural Sociology  
This paper reflects upon Bourdieu's concept of cultural fields, Becker's concept of 'art worlds' and the concept of networks as developed in social network analysis. We challenge the distinction that Bourdieu makes between the objective 'relations' and 'positions' constitutive of 'social space' and visible social relationships. In contrast we maintain that interaction is generative of social spaces and positions and should be integral to any account of them. Becker's position is better from
more » ... perspective, but whilst Becker refers repeatedly to social networks he fails to develop the concept or exploit its potential as a means of exploring social structures. Both Becker and Bourdieu have an underdeveloped conception of social connection which weakens their respective conceptions of the space of cultural production. Our proposed remedy is to use social network analysis to derive 'positions' and 'relations' between 'positions', as prioritised by Bourdieu, from data on concrete interactions and relations. This allows 'world' analysis to speak to the issues of field analysis without sacrificing its strengths. We illustrate our case by way of an analysis of two UK music scenes from the late 1970s.
doi:10.1177/1749975510389726 fatcat:ymtuhbyfcvf77cr5uidur35b54