How Fields Vary

Krause, Monika. 2018. How Fields Vary. British Journal of Sociology, 69(1), pp. 3-22. ISSN 0007-1315 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Field theorists have long insisted that research needs to pay attention to the particular properties of each field studied. But while much field-theoretical research is comparative, either explicitly or implicitly, scholars have only begun to develop the language for describing the dimensions along which fields can be similar to and different from each other. In this context, this paper articulates an agenda for the analysis of variable properties of fields. It discusses variation in the degree but also in the kind of field autonomy. It discusses different dimensions of variation in field structure: fields can be more or less hierarchical, and more or less contested. The structure of symbolic oppositions in a field may take different forms. Lastly, it analyses the dimensions of variation highlighted by research on fields on the sub- and transnational scale. Post-national analysis allows us to ask about how fields relate to fields of the same kind on different scales, and it allows us to ask about the role resources from other scales play in structuring symbolic oppositions within fields. A more fine-tuned vocabulary for field variation can help us better describe particular fields and it is a precondition for generating hypotheses about the social conditions under which we can expect to observe fields with specified characteristics.

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Identification Number (DOI):


Fields; Bourdieu; field autonomy; field structure; symbolic differentiation; transnational fields

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8 July 2016Accepted
6 April 2017Published Online
2 March 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2016 11:45

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:19

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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