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The homology thesis: Distinction revisited


The theoretical model of The Distinction is a basic reference in the sociology of lifestyles (Bourdieu, 1979). This model is fundamentally structured by two concepts, structural homology and habitus. Habitus are cultural structures that exist in people's bodies and minds and shape a wide variety of their behaviours, beliefs and thoughts. Structural homology is the assumption that social class structure is linked to the structure of aesthetic preferences through a one-to-one correspondence, an isomorphic relation. People's tastes are seen as channelled by their position within the class structure, which is defined by the volume of capital and its “composition” and are organised in line with a “highbrow/lowbrow” opposition. Here, we will focus on the structural homology aspect and limit ourselves to analysing to what extent it is possible to univocally relate kinds of activities the French do with their social positions. We shall empirically examine the principles of organisation of the activities, just as they were described throughout a survey on cultural and sports practices of the French, and then evaluate to what extent a structural homology between practices and social positions is still observable.


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hal-03398001 , version 1 (22-10-2021)



Yannick Lemel, Philippe Coulangeon. The homology thesis: Distinction revisited. Chris Sanders; Karen Robson. Quantifying Theory: Pierre Bourdieu, Springer, pp.47 - 60, 2008, 9781402094491. ⟨hal-03398001⟩
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