Hysteresis and social change in the contemporary climbing field

David Holland-Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


Developing and drawing upon previous empirical work related to gender, social class and reproduction in the contemporary climbing field this paper explores the specific Bourdieuian theoretical apparatus associated with the process of social change.Bourdieu’s concept of hysteresis potentially provides a useful and novel account of social change. Because of rapid structural disruption, new opportunities arise in the social field. Those who are best positioned in terms of capitals, resources and dispositions take advantage of these new opportunities and cash in on the new market of economic and cultural capital. However, for this dominant social group, social change brings with it the potential loss of identity, community and familiarity acquired under previous habitus, field conditions often expressed as a cleft habitus or Don Quixotic effect. Those from subordinate or dominated social positions tend to move in the direction of the dominant group or worse moves them further in to economically and culturally deprived field positions. Bourdieu’s work around social change has been criticised as over deterministic and underplaying the processes of reflexivity, subjective experience, political and symbolic struggle as part of human agency and experience. Despite this, feminists have started to re-engage with Bourdieuian theory in exploring the dynamic relationship between habitus and field, structure and agency. Bourdieu has enabled the issues of social class to be placed back into the social and political agenda and to engage more critically with other forms of difference.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2018
EventSport and Discrimination Conference 2018 - Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sep 20184 Sep 2018


ConferenceSport and Discrimination Conference 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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