Cultural capital

In the field of sociology, cultural capital comprises the social assets of a person (education, intellect, style of speech, style of dress, etc.) that promote social mobility in a stratified society.[1] Cultural capital functions as a social relation within an economy of practices (i.e. system of exchange), and includes the accumulated cultural knowledge that confers social status and power;[2][3] thus cultural capital comprises the material and symbolic goods, without distinction, that society considers rare and worth seeking.[4] There are three types of cultural capital: (i) embodied capital, (ii) objectified capital, and (iii) institutionalised capital.

Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron coined and defined the term cultural capital in the essay "Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction" (1977). Bourdieu then developed the concept in the essay "The Forms of Capital" (1985) and in the book The State Nobility: √Člite Schools in the Field of Power (1996) to explain that the education (knowledge and intellectual skills) of a person provides social mobility in achieving a higher social status in society.[5]


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