Title

The differential value of symbolic capital: Occupational implications within varying social fields of practice

Location

Hiawatha 3

Start Time

18-10-2014 11:40 AM

End Time

18-10-2014 12:10 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Background

Globalization is enabling greater mobility and the associated rise of international migration contributes to social change. As people migrate, they become embedded within varying fields of practice (i.e. social spaces or settings characterized by particular norms), such as workplaces. Within these fields, forms of symbolic capital (i.e. resources and assets) such as linguistic skills or educational credentials may be more highly valued than others (Bourdieu, 1997; Moore, 2008; Thomson, 2008).

Purpose

To illustrate how the value of immigrants' capital within the host societies' fields influences their integration following migration and to examine the implications for their daily engagement in occupations.

Methodology

An internationally comparative study of multinational migrants residing in London, Ontario, Canada and Auckland, New Zealand was conducted using an ethnographic approach.

Participants

Nineteen participants were purposefully recruited. Ten respondents (5 male, 5 female) participated in London and nine respondents (4 male, 5 female) participated in Auckland.

Data collection

First, participants engaged in a narrative interview regarding their international migration. Second, they created an occupational map and described the occupations they engaged in within the places drawn. Finally, semi-structured interviews addressed shifts participants experienced to their occupations following migration.

Data analysis

We focus on findings from the theoretical analysis of the verbatim transcripts. This approach applied high-level codes from our framework including Bourdieu's concepts of field and capital. Findings were generated inductively from the data themselves and from our critically informed analysis and interpretation process (Huot et al., 2013; Ryan & Russell Bernard, 2003).

Results

Our analysis identified a range of fields within which the participants engaged in occupation. These were categorized as economic, educational, political, religious, socio-cultural, health care, and social services. Within each, the participants described how their varied forms of objective and embodied symbolic capital were differentially valued. Economic (e.g. finances), educational (e.g. degrees) and linguistic (e.g. fluency) capital were emphasized, among other forms of symbolic capital described.

Contribution to occupational science

When immigrants' capital was valued, it served as an enabler to occupational engagement, whereas the devaluing of capital was a barrier to meaningful occupations that led many to have to try and acquire the necessary forms of capital that would facilitate their opportunities within specific fields.

References

Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. London: Cambridge University Press.

Huot, S., Laliberte Rudman, D., Dodson, B., & Magalhães, L. (2013). Expanding policy-based conceptualizations of 'successful integration': Negotiating integration through occupational following international migration. Journal of Occupational Science, 20(1), 6-22.

Moore, R. (2008). Capital. In M. Grenfell (Ed.), Pierre Bourdieu: key concepts (101-117). Stocksfield: Acumen.

Ryan, G. W., & Russell Bernard, H. (2003). Data management and analysis methods. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Materials (259-309). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Thomson, P. (2008). Field. In M. Grenfell (Ed.), Pierre Bourdieu: key concepts (67-81). Stocksfield: Acumen.

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Oct 18th, 11:40 AM Oct 18th, 12:10 PM

The differential value of symbolic capital: Occupational implications within varying social fields of practice

Hiawatha 3

Background

Globalization is enabling greater mobility and the associated rise of international migration contributes to social change. As people migrate, they become embedded within varying fields of practice (i.e. social spaces or settings characterized by particular norms), such as workplaces. Within these fields, forms of symbolic capital (i.e. resources and assets) such as linguistic skills or educational credentials may be more highly valued than others (Bourdieu, 1997; Moore, 2008; Thomson, 2008).

Purpose

To illustrate how the value of immigrants' capital within the host societies' fields influences their integration following migration and to examine the implications for their daily engagement in occupations.

Methodology

An internationally comparative study of multinational migrants residing in London, Ontario, Canada and Auckland, New Zealand was conducted using an ethnographic approach.

Participants

Nineteen participants were purposefully recruited. Ten respondents (5 male, 5 female) participated in London and nine respondents (4 male, 5 female) participated in Auckland.

Data collection

First, participants engaged in a narrative interview regarding their international migration. Second, they created an occupational map and described the occupations they engaged in within the places drawn. Finally, semi-structured interviews addressed shifts participants experienced to their occupations following migration.

Data analysis

We focus on findings from the theoretical analysis of the verbatim transcripts. This approach applied high-level codes from our framework including Bourdieu's concepts of field and capital. Findings were generated inductively from the data themselves and from our critically informed analysis and interpretation process (Huot et al., 2013; Ryan & Russell Bernard, 2003).

Results

Our analysis identified a range of fields within which the participants engaged in occupation. These were categorized as economic, educational, political, religious, socio-cultural, health care, and social services. Within each, the participants described how their varied forms of objective and embodied symbolic capital were differentially valued. Economic (e.g. finances), educational (e.g. degrees) and linguistic (e.g. fluency) capital were emphasized, among other forms of symbolic capital described.

Contribution to occupational science

When immigrants' capital was valued, it served as an enabler to occupational engagement, whereas the devaluing of capital was a barrier to meaningful occupations that led many to have to try and acquire the necessary forms of capital that would facilitate their opportunities within specific fields.