Homologies of social space and elective affinities: researching cultural capital

Silva, Elizabeth B. (2006). Homologies of social space and elective affinities: researching cultural capital. Sociology, 40(6) pp. 1171–1189.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038506072286

Abstract

This article discusses homologies of social space by considering the coherence of elective affinities identified in research on cultural capital when the same person was asked for similar sorts of information in both a survey questionnaire and a semi-structured interview. It shows the methodological complexities of situating individual lives within social contexts, by considering the processual and fluid accounts of social space emerging in the study. The discussion challenges Bourdieu’s views of homogeneous social worlds, considered as ‘spaces of lifestyles’.
The coherent pattern he envisaged is not always found because significantly dissonant cases exist. Moreover, different affinities can be emphasized depending on
the research methods and contexts. Consequently, the article also engages with the argument that different research methods contribute to different sorts of
knowledge about the social world, stressing the influence of ontological politics in research findings and the privileged perspective of a multiple-methods approach.

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