Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Symbolic Capital Part 1

Symbolic Capital & Symbolic Power-Part 1

Symbolic capital in this framework represents the capacity of movement members to exercise symbolic power and legitimately deconstruct and reconstruct a vision of social reality, which better aligns with the movement’s goals and values. This includes understanding the complexity of the public discourse surrounding the movement values and having the capacity to intercede in this discourse to ensure that movement voices and central principles are heard over the din. This also includes the capacity of the movement to develop a common language, set of symbols and shared frames of reference for communicating about the movement and it’s goals. The development of a strong theory that appropriately describes the world in a way that is compatible with movement values is of utmost importance.

Pierre Bourdieu asserts that symbolic power is the power to name, classify and group social and objective reality. If a group has symbolic power and therefore can name and classify social phenomena, it also has the power to decide what the natural and common sense actions of that thing or group is. Symbolic power then, is the power to legitimately reclassify the social world. Therefore the movement needs to focus on entering the symbolic struggle by reconstructing the classifications and groupings that render the objective structures of society in a particularly natural or evident way (1989) which hinder the progress towards a sustainable society. The movement needs to ‘make the world strange’ in the eyes of the voting public in BC and present a vision of a world that both makes better sense and directs action towards the realization of this vision.

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