Health capital: a theoretical contribution to understanding social reproduction strategies in social space and the field of healthcare

Kristian Larsen, sasha scambler

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Economic, cultural, and health inequality in post-industrial countries is increasing. Inspired by Bourdieu and a range of empirical studies, this paper suggests that health capital (HC) represents a new and distinct capital that is part of social groups’ differentiated and differentiating reproductive strategies. Some groups are positioned with many possibilities for accruing value and others are excluded from these fields; but nonetheless, new forms of detaching and attaching are actualised and make space for investment in HC. Individuals and groups invest in the surgical body (surgical interventions), the chemical body (biochemical or chemical tools), the nutritional body (eating habits), the physical body (physical exercise), and the mental body (e.g. literature or yoga). Individuals/groups act in different contexts of value and invest differently in combinations of these five investment strategies, but they also ‘display’ or ‘hide’ body appearance (shape, colours, tattoos, or scents) depending on values perceived as attractive or vulgar in the context. Being relevant for studies of social mobility, health sociology, and studies in the healthcare field, HC is convertible and supplements economic, cultural, and social capital as resources in different positions in the social space, such as in workplace or family/private contexts or in the healthcare field
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Theory & Health
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages30
ISSN1477-8211
Publication statusSubmitted - 2019

Cite this

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title = "Health capital: a theoretical contribution to understanding social reproduction strategies in social space and the field of healthcare",
abstract = "Economic, cultural, and health inequality in post-industrial countries is increasing. Inspired by Bourdieu and a range of empirical studies, this paper suggests that health capital (HC) represents a new and distinct capital that is part of social groups’ differentiated and differentiating reproductive strategies. Some groups are positioned with many possibilities for accruing value and others are excluded from these fields; but nonetheless, new forms of detaching and attaching are actualised and make space for investment in HC. Individuals and groups invest in the surgical body (surgical interventions), the chemical body (biochemical or chemical tools), the nutritional body (eating habits), the physical body (physical exercise), and the mental body (e.g. literature or yoga). Individuals/groups act in different contexts of value and invest differently in combinations of these five investment strategies, but they also ‘display’ or ‘hide’ body appearance (shape, colours, tattoos, or scents) depending on values perceived as attractive or vulgar in the context. Being relevant for studies of social mobility, health sociology, and studies in the healthcare field, HC is convertible and supplements economic, cultural, and social capital as resources in different positions in the social space, such as in workplace or family/private contexts or in the healthcare field",
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author = "Kristian Larsen and sasha scambler",
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Health capital : a theoretical contribution to understanding social reproduction strategies in social space and the field of healthcare. / Larsen, Kristian; scambler, sasha.

In: Social Theory & Health, 2019, p. 1-31.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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T2 - a theoretical contribution to understanding social reproduction strategies in social space and the field of healthcare

AU - Larsen, Kristian

AU - scambler, sasha

PY - 2019

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N2 - Economic, cultural, and health inequality in post-industrial countries is increasing. Inspired by Bourdieu and a range of empirical studies, this paper suggests that health capital (HC) represents a new and distinct capital that is part of social groups’ differentiated and differentiating reproductive strategies. Some groups are positioned with many possibilities for accruing value and others are excluded from these fields; but nonetheless, new forms of detaching and attaching are actualised and make space for investment in HC. Individuals and groups invest in the surgical body (surgical interventions), the chemical body (biochemical or chemical tools), the nutritional body (eating habits), the physical body (physical exercise), and the mental body (e.g. literature or yoga). Individuals/groups act in different contexts of value and invest differently in combinations of these five investment strategies, but they also ‘display’ or ‘hide’ body appearance (shape, colours, tattoos, or scents) depending on values perceived as attractive or vulgar in the context. Being relevant for studies of social mobility, health sociology, and studies in the healthcare field, HC is convertible and supplements economic, cultural, and social capital as resources in different positions in the social space, such as in workplace or family/private contexts or in the healthcare field

AB - Economic, cultural, and health inequality in post-industrial countries is increasing. Inspired by Bourdieu and a range of empirical studies, this paper suggests that health capital (HC) represents a new and distinct capital that is part of social groups’ differentiated and differentiating reproductive strategies. Some groups are positioned with many possibilities for accruing value and others are excluded from these fields; but nonetheless, new forms of detaching and attaching are actualised and make space for investment in HC. Individuals and groups invest in the surgical body (surgical interventions), the chemical body (biochemical or chemical tools), the nutritional body (eating habits), the physical body (physical exercise), and the mental body (e.g. literature or yoga). Individuals/groups act in different contexts of value and invest differently in combinations of these five investment strategies, but they also ‘display’ or ‘hide’ body appearance (shape, colours, tattoos, or scents) depending on values perceived as attractive or vulgar in the context. Being relevant for studies of social mobility, health sociology, and studies in the healthcare field, HC is convertible and supplements economic, cultural, and social capital as resources in different positions in the social space, such as in workplace or family/private contexts or in the healthcare field

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