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Homologies of Social Space and Elective Affinities: Researching Cultural Capital

Elizabeth B. Silva
Sociology
Vol. 40, No. 6 (DECEMBER 2006), pp. 1171-1189
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/42856941
Page Count: 19
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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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