"Dashed Hopes and Good Intentions": A Bourdieuian Reading of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
"Dashed Hopes and Good Intentions": A Bourdieuian Reading of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Author(s): Ebrahim Salimi-Kouchi, Mohsen Rezaeian
Subject(s): Applied Sociology, Studies in violence and power
Published by: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Uniwersytetu Marii Curie-Sklodowskiej
Keywords: Bourdieu, Albee, habitus, field, capital, imaginary son, American Dream, language

Summary/Abstract: Pierre Bourdieu's investigation into the mechanism of power relations in any given society emphasizes that culture is firmly embedded in social lives of agents. An agent engages in some social competitions, struggling with others and his or her own limits. Applying the metaphor of "game" to social life, Bourdieu believes that people, in order to accumulate more capitals, participate in intense social competitions. Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf raises some questions about the nature of power, language, and their intersection. The lives of the characters are not far removed from how they experience power relations in a college campus, a microcosm of American society. Putting into practice Bourdieu's theory of practice, this article analyzes the influence of the accumulation of capitals in the lives of George and Martha, the role of the imaginary child as a part of American dream and its significance to the couple's lives, and ultimately the use and abuse of language in their ways of communication.

  • Issue Year: 39/2015
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 50-64
  • Page Count: 15
  • Language: English