Bourdieu and an update of health lifestyle theory



  • The purpose of this chapter is to update health lifestyle theory and in the process illustrate the importance of Pierre Bourdieu's contributions to sociological research on this topic. Bourdieu never published work on health or medical sociology, yet many of his ideas, especially his concepts of habitus and various forms of capital (e.g., social, cultural), are increasingly utilized to provide theoretical models in health-related research (see, for example, Abel and Frohlich 2011; Carpiano 2006; Christensen 2011; Cockerham 2005, 2007, 2010; Williams 1995). The merit of his perspective is that it fully (perhaps overly in some instances) acknowledges the important role structure has in shaping and often determining human social behavior, including lifestyles. This return to a more structurally-aware approach comes decades after the demise of structural-functionalism and the ascendancy of agency-oriented theories in health sociology and sociology generally (Cockerham 2013; Mouzelis 2008; Smelser 1997).
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    International Standard Book Number (isbn) 10

  • 9400761929
  • International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13

  • 9789400761926
  • Start Page

  • 127
  • End Page

  • 154