Preprint version. Published in Communication Theory, Volume 21, Issue 4, November 1, 2011, pages 436-455.
Copyright © 2011Wiley-Blackwell. This is the pre-peer reviewed version of an article published in Communication Theory.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2885.2011.01394.x.
To further understanding of how individuals experience media and political systems, this article compares a project in the Chicago sociology tradition to concepts from Bourdieu's field theory and practical reason. Limited life history documents from Chicago working-class and more-advantaged young adults illustrate two interactionist concepts, subjective posture, one's stance toward media and politics, and subjective affluence, the range of empowerment the postures reveal. A stance as individual consumer, primarily in pursuit of entertainment, crossed over class lines, but elite participants had higher subjective affluence, with agency as political actors influencing others. The similarities illustrate an aspect of Bourdieu's habitus, and their class differences illustrate distinctions in symbolic power. The results advance theory in the midrange between macrolevel structures and microlevel subjectivity.