Keywords: Bourdieu; Field Theory; Social Network Analysis; Cultural Fields; Duality.
This essay presents a theoretical framework for comparing the two perspectives of Bourdieu's field theory and Social Network Analysis (SNA). Although previous studies have already focused on these approaches to highlight their respective differences and similarities, a thorough understanding and assessment of such comparison is still needed. The essay begins with a discussion of the foundations of field theory and SNA and of the way they can be aligned in both theoretical and methodological terms. Chief attention is paid to the notions of social position within these distinct traditions, as these notions are based upon two seemingly different conceptions of social structure, which can nonetheless be compared to provide insights into the mutual constitution of structural (objective) relations à la Bourdieu and the observed relations that network scholars deal with. In this work it is also argued that a special form of social network, namely affiliation networks, can be considered for analysing cultural fields as far as these latter are made of social agents involved in specific cultural events or activities. By doing so, the «intersection» of these social and cultural units may reveal the interplay between the duality of positions and position-takings in fields and the duality of actors and events in affiliation networks.