Sibling interaction and symbolic capital: Toward a theory of political micro-economy

Journal of Pragmatics 41 (9):1683-1692 (2009)
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Older siblings play a role in their younger siblings’ language socialization by ratifying or rejecting linguistic behavior. In addition, older siblings may engage in a struggle to maintain their dominant position in the family hierarchy. This struggle is seen through the lens of language and political economy as a struggle for symbolic capital. Bilingual adolescent sibling interactions are analyzed as expressions both of identity and of symbolic power. This paper proposes a theory of political micro-economy, by which analysts may trace connections between broad societal structures and structures of face-to-face interaction.
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