The aim of this article is to derive a theory of political symbolism from an analysis of symbolic conflict. By symbolic conflict I mean that dimension of political conflict which focuses on the manipulation of symbols. Drawing on a range of ethnographic examples, I argue that symbolic conflict is a type of competition for what Bourdieu calls symbolic capital, and that it can tab four prototypical forms: it can concern either the valuation of political symbols, their production, their proprietorship, or their survival as emblems of political affiliations. These correspond to the four central properties of a political symbol, which are the four ways in which such a symbol can be manipulated so as to appropriate symbolic capital.
|Journal||Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - Jun 1995|