Political Dynasties – A Bourdieuian Perspective

Nikolaj Preisler, Andreas Juul Willumsen & Joel Tuomas Welling

Student thesis: Basic Project


This project seeks to look at political dynasties with a new perspective that are not focused on political science, but rather through the lenses of sociology. The way this will be done is by using Bourdieu’s theory of practice rather than a traditional theory within political science. The process of this will be by using quantitative content analysis. The project’s focus will be three of the most prominent modern political dynasties, the Kennedy family, the Bush family and the Clinton family, which is likely to be a political dynasty within the close future. These three families will be described and analyzed in such a way to give each core family member a rating within the four capitals of the theory of practice, the social capital, the economic capital, the cultural capital and the symbolic capital. These ratings will be first be used to analyze the core members of the political dynasties, afterwards the average of each member will be calculated to give each of the three families a single value for each of the capitals to then discuss the history of the families and explain where they are similar and different with context of the political dynasty’s history. Finally the values will will be added to give each family one rating of all combined capitals. The findings will be that the total value of each family is almost identical, which allows for a discussion on whether this is a correlation or coincidence and whether becoming the President of the United States gives enough of these capitals to explain why each family has a total rating that is closer than expected or whether this is an entry barrier. Finally it is concluded that by using the theory of practice, it is possible to find similar patterns in the modern political dynasties.

EducationsBasic - International Bachelor Study Program in Social Sciences, (Bachelor Programme) Basic
Publication date19 Dec 2016
Number of pages54
SupervisorsSanne Brasch Kristensen


  • Political dynasties
  • Kennedy
  • Bush
  • Clinton
  • Theory of practice
  • Pierre Bourdieu