cultural capital

(noun) The distinctions that develop between individuals and groups due to differences in access to education, family background, occupation, and wealth, giving them advantages and serving as a signifier of an individual’s status within a group or society.

Example:

Audio Pronunciation: (cul·tur·al cap·i·tal)

Download Audio Pronunciation: cultural capital.mp3

Usage Notes:

  • Term coined by Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2003) that emphasized that cultural capital is taught through socialization and used to exclude the lower class.
  • Also called cultural capital theory.
  • Informally called:
    • breeding
    • class
    • cultural cachet
    • refinement
    • social grace
    • savoir faire

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Related Quotations:

  • “All groups have norms, values, beliefs, ways of life, and codes of conduct that identify the group and define its boundaries” (McNamee and Miller 2013:58).
  • Class boundaries are also maintained by language, speech patterns, and pronunciation. Members of the upper class speak more directly and in a more assured manner than do members of the working and lower classes. Their confident demeanor, in turn, enables upper- and upper-middle-class speakers to project images of credibility, honesty, and competence that are important in all social arenas—especially the workplace” (Thompson and Hickey 2012:221).

Additional Information:

Related Terms:

 


References

McNamee, Stephen J., and Robert K. Miller. 2013. The Meritocracy Myth. 3rd. ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

OpenStax College. 2012. Theoretical Perspectives on Education. Connexions, May 18, 2012. (http://cnx.org/content/m42905/1.2/).

 

Works Consulted

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How to Cite the Definition of Cultural Capital

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “cultural capital.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved December 16, 2018 (https://sociologydictionary.org/cultural-capital/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

cultural capital. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/cultural-capital/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “cultural capital.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed December 16, 2018. https://sociologydictionary.org/cultural-capital/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“cultural capital.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 16 Dec. 2018. <https://sociologydictionary.org/cultural-capital/>.