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cultural capital

  Coined by Pierre Bourdieu, the term refers to the acquisition of social status through cultural practices which involve the exercise of taste or judgement (cf. culture). Originally applied in the context of educational research in France, the concept has been extended to a wider field of social distinctions (Bourdieu, 1984), where tastes and aesthetic judgements (in art and literature, for example) function as markers of class (Bourdieu, 1993). Cultural (or symbolic) capital can sometimes be exchanged or converted into economic capital and vice versa. Following Bourdieu, sociologists and geographers have distinguished various forms of social, economic and cultural capital, employing these ideas in studies of gentrification and middle-class formation (e.g. Savage et al.; 1993, Ley, 1996). (PAJ)

References Bourdieu, P. 1984: Distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Bourdieu, P. 1993: The field of cultural production: essays on art and literature. Cambridge: Polity Press. Ley, D. 1996: The new middle class and the remaking of the central city. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Savage, M., Barlow, J., Dickens, P. and Fielding, T. 1993: Property, bureaucracy and culture: middle-class formation in contemporary Britain. London: Routledge.



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