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Conceptualising Social Types and Figures: From Social Forms to Classificatory Struggles
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3495-8087
2019 (English)In: Cultural Sociology, ISSN 1749-9755, E-ISSN 1749-9763Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The analysis of social types, such as the stranger, the marginal man and the folk devil, has a long, significant history in sociology and related fields. Although the social type concept currently enjoys a rather marginal status, in recent years the related concept of figure has been increasingly deployed in research. This article contends that Bourdieu’s work on classification and social differentiation can offer fruitful tools for a renewed focus on types and figures. To this end, it advocates a critical approach to the study of social types and figures in which they are conceived as social identities tied to classificatory struggles over meaning, value, recognition and resources between differentially positioned actors. The article also attempts to clarify the distinction between types and figures and discuss how they can be applied in research. The main arguments of the article are developed through a critical reading of key contributions to research on social types and figures as well as through the discussion of two empirical studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Bourdieu, classificatory struggles, figure, social differentiation, social identity, social type
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-172838DOI: 10.1177/1749975519859962ISI: 000485364900001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-172838DiVA, id: diva2:1350167
Funder
Åke Wiberg Foundation, HS16-0167Available from: 2019-09-10 Created: 2019-09-10 Last updated: 2019-10-14

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