Cultural Capital : Sociology of Education

Notes explaining the concept of Cultural Capital.

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  • Created on: 21-05-12 12:31
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27th February 2012
What is meant by `Cultural Capital'?
Middle Class
Cultural Capital Educational Capital Economic Capital
The knowledge, attitudes, Qualifications Income/wealth
values, languages, tastes,
abilities held by middle class
Help middle class children to Have qualifications to know Afford to send their children to
meet the needs of school. how to help their children. private schools.
Afford to move to a specific
catchment area.
Basil Bernstein
He believed that working class children were linguistically deprived. He said that language
differences put middle class children at an advantage. Working class families use a restricted
language code ­ e.g. shorter sentences, limited vocabulary, fewer qualifications like however,
furthermore, have repetition and frequent use of question tags. Whereas middle class families use a
elaborated language code: a wider, broad vocabulary, complex sentences, and long analytical
sentences, and that it is these that give them the advantage in education. Middle class children are
able to `dip in and out' of working class language.
Advantages Disadvantages
Suggests an explanation for working class Generalises too much: ignores that there are
children struggling in school. working class children that do adapt to language
Evidence is largely correlation: isn't necessarily
cause/effect. Bordieu's work isn't based on
empirical evidence.
Cannot explain under-achieving middle class


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