The Performative Magic of Advocacy Organisations: The Redistribution of Symbolic Capital


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

Advocacy organisations play a significant role in promoting social justice. These organisations aim to generate and redistribute economic, social and political capital on behalf of marginalised populations. Scholarship on advocacy organisations has mostly focused on their efforts to increase these forms of capital through social action, agenda-setting strategies, research on social problems, media deployment and policy monitoring. As yet, this vast literature has paid little attention to the role of these organisations in influencing the symbolic aspect of their struggles for social justice. Building on Bourdieu’s theoretical conceptualisation, this article focuses on the role of advocacy organisations in generating and increasing symbolic capital on behalf of marginalised and vulnerable groups. We examine a case study in which advocacy organisations, by means of a redistribution of symbolic capital, brought public attention to the hidden issue of impoverished Holocaust survivors in Israel. Based on this case study, we suggest a conceptualisation of the practices advocacy organisations and social workers adopt to address the symbolic level of the political process.

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