Article

Bourdieu and the Big Society: empowering the powerful in public service provision?

Citation

Hastings A & Matthews P (2015) Bourdieu and the Big Society: empowering the powerful in public service provision?. Policy and Politics, 43 (4), pp. 545-560. https://doi.org/10.1332/030557314X14080105693951

Abstract
here is concern that the 'localism' promoted by the UK Coalition Government will further empower the already powerful. This paper uses Bourdieu's theory of practice to theorise middle-class public service use. Building on a previous evidence review (Matthews and Hastings, 2013) it considers whether the habitus of the middle-classes enables them to gain disproportionate benefit from public services. Service provision is understood as a 'field' marked by a competitive struggle between social agents who embody class-based power asymmetries. It finds that engagement with the state is a classed practice producing benefits to those already empowered and that localism may exacerbate inequalities.

Journal
Policy and Politics: Volume 43, Issue 4

StatusPublished
Publication date01/10/2015
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/22691
PublisherPolicy Press
ISSN0305-5736