Becoming a ‘Real’ Smoker: Cultural Capital in Young Women's Accounts of Smoking and Other Substance Use

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Haines, R. J., Poland, B. D. and Johnson, J. L. (2009), Becoming a ‘real’ smoker: cultural capital in young women's accounts of smoking and other substance use. Sociology of Health & Illness, 31: 66-80. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9566.2008.01119.x

Date created: 
2009-01-22
Identifier: 
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2008.01119.x
Keywords: 
Substance use
Tobacco
Adolescence
Cultural capital
Bourdieu
Abstract: 

This paper draws from a qualitative study of tobacco use by young women in Toronto, Canada. Narrative interviews were used to understand the multiple roles and functions of smoking within the everyday lives of female adolescents. Guided by a Bourdieusian theoretical framework this study employed the core construct of cultural capital in order to position tobacco and other substance use as field‐specific capital that young women accumulate while navigating the social worlds of adolescence. Departing from the psychosocial or peer‐influence models that inform the majority of tobacco research with young people, this analysis provides a nuanced understanding of how smoking, drinking, using drugs are much more than simple forms of teenage experimentation or rebellion, but can also serve as key resources for defining the self, acquiring status and making social distinctions within adolescent social worlds. In this context it is also argued that initiation into substance use practices is a way that young women demonstrate and develop social and cultural competencies.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
Rights: 
Rights remain with the authors. Copyright 2008 The Authors for the article. Journal compilation copyright 2008 by Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness/Blackwell Publishing Ltd
File(s): 
Sponsor(s): 
Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative
Integrated Mentor Program in Addictions Research Training (IMPART)
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