Skip to main content

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

Resource type
Date created
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.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2008.01119.x
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.
Publication title
Sociology of Health Illness
Document title
Becoming a ‘real’ smoker: cultural capital in young women's accounts of smoking and other substance use
First page
Last page
Publisher DOI
Copyright statement
Copyright is held by the author(s) Copyright 2008 The Authors for the article. Journal compilation copyright 2008 by Foundation for the Sociology of Health & Illness/Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Scholarly level
Peer reviewed?
Member of collection
Download file Size
23-becoming.pdf 339.06 KB

Views & downloads - as of June 2023

Views: 0
Downloads: 0