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Table 1 Definitions of key concepts in Bourdieu’s theory of practice

From: Informal workers and access to healthcare: a qualitative study of facilitators and barriers to accessing healthcare for beer promoters in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic




A distinct structured social space consisting of different actors and social positions. A field is a network, structure or set of relationships in which agents struggle over desirable resources, tacitly following the rules of the game.


Resources of value in the field. ). These forms of capital can be accumulated and transferred from one arena to another.

 Economic capital

The different means of production and other forms of income, such as wages.

 Social capital

Resources derived from membership in social networks and maintenance of strategic relations. The utility of which depend on the depth and breadth of one’s social networks, and the volume of material resources held by people in the networks

 Cultural capital

Resources derived from formal education, training and socialisation and can contribute to the owner's financial and social advantage and is expressed in for example, style of speech, dress, or physical appearance, educational credentials and knowledge).

 Symbolic capital

Status and power afforded on the basis of social recognition of the value of other forms of capital the actors possess, and that legitimate existing social hierarchies.


Habitus is created through a social process leading to patterns that are enduring and transferrable from one context to another, but which may also change over time. It is created by the interplay between structure, capitals and dispositions. Dispositions are shaped by past events and structures, and shape current practices and structures and condition very perceptions of these practices.