Field–capital theory and its implications for marketing

Tapp, A. and Warren, S. (2010) Field–capital theory and its implications for marketing. European Journal of Marketing, 44 (1/2). pp. 200-222. ISSN 0309-0566 Available from:

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Purpose: This paper explores the applicability and implications of Bourdieu’s Field-Capital theory to marketing using original research with a typical European society. Bourdieu’s Field – Capital theory proposes that people acquire economic, social and cultural capital which they deploy in social arenas known as ‘fields’ in order to compete for positions of distinction and status. This exploratory study examines how Bourdieu’s theory may explain competitive behavior in fields of interest to marketers. Methodology: 61 in depth interviews were completed with respondents that were representative of each of 61 geodemographic ‘types’ – clusters that enable marketers to segment an entire population. Findings: The findings suggest that examining human behavior through the lens of field and capital theory highlights the importance of the competition motive in explaining consumer’s behaviour. New ‘fields’ were identified which seem to have assumed primary importance, particularly in middle class people’s lives. Research and Practical Implications: Viewing consumer behaviour as social competition implies that new segmentation approaches may yield successful marketing outcomes, and opens consumer psychology and behaviour itself to new interpretations. Originality/Value: Very few research papers that apply field-capital theory to marketing are present in the literature. It is hoped this work addresses an important area, and one that is particularly prevalent in 21st Century consumerism.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:marketing, Bourdieu, field-capital theory
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Business and Law > Department of Business Management
ID Code:11300
Deposited By: Professor A. Tapp
Deposited On:01 Nov 2010 10:27
Last Modified:06 Jan 2017 17:34

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