What did I first think when I heard cultural capital? As literal as it can be, I asked myself is my culture my capital? My asset? I looked at the clothes I was wearing, the bag I was carrying, and the picture of ‘Lal Baug cha raja’ that I had in my zipped pouch. You say it or not, display or not you carry your culture with you. And I feel it is an asset that I’m proud of as it gave me the values to stand where I do now.
The term cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets that promote the movement of individuals, families, households, or other categories of people within or between social strata or status in a society beyond their ability to improve (or lower) their economic status—usually measured in income. I feel Sir Bourdieu was highly opinionated. Like when he states, “The institutional recognition process thereby eases the conversion of cultural capital to economic capital” I do believe that education is one of the many popular ways cross the gateway but certainly not the only one. There are various social posts available and not all need the same structured learning and neither will it be given justice. But education can as well mean acquiring skill be it any kind but, also does experience have a say in it. Not to forget, I do acknowledge Stanton Salazor and Donbusch justification of the work of a school or an institution in acting as a catalyst in transforming capital resources into valuable products which can be calculated by the sellers uniformly, but believe that it’s important to draw a line between necessity and an additional yet subjective benefit. The linguistic Cultural capital is of great importance I believe. In the sense that, person having and being skilled in a particular language might not be able to express it in others. A person might take the highest place in a relative cultural capital strata but his inability to express would affect his Embodied, Objectified and Institutionalized Cultural capital also.
“The field can be vicious” fits well into this picture as well where the field opposes, contradicts and supports the individual person who is in the race of social mobility. But this field comprises of many such individual experts who all are in the similar race. But the race changes if we get their habitus into the picture where, every individual is already a part of a certain class changing and fighting for a position in the field.
Further, I highly disprove of Dumais theory of gender being a variable in deciding the ability to form cultural capital, and conclude of Bourdieu’s inability in making reasonable comparison. His theory of the colour of lemon and its correlation with acidity, cannot be compared to a gender’s inability to have a particular skill set, or embodied cultural capital. Bourdie has been criticised by Kanter for such ignorance.
Moreover, in this age of technology I am in awe of the vision of Emmison and Frow where they tell me of the ability of using technology as a cultural capital. Use of technology being an expression of one’s skill in the contemporary world proves to be a valuable capital. The contribution of Hage is something I misinterpreted as his acceptance to racial superiority, but his clarity of thought as to having a journalistic view of Australia’s social order and its relation to Bourdeius theory is appreciable. Whiteness is an embodied cultural capital in
Australia and the others have to fight and compete, finding other methods to achieve cultural capital and to rise out of the field.
When I started reading about the 6 basic functions of modern schooling, I was in complete disagreement of such functions to be the duty of the school. The fact that schools must guide different students in a different way is not identical to the practice of forming a hierarchy based on the third function where students aptitude is given a number. Understanding this with the help of the concept of cultural capital, thanks to John Taylor Gatto was quite interesting. In the pursuit of achieving cultural capital, students are constantly discriminated which in turn deprives the student from the exposure of further and knowledge of different field, enforcing social roles on them. This is just sad to know that the majority has to go through the same arbitrary tests, but is absolutely true. With this, I strongly believe against Bourdeius assumption of differing income barriers and surroundings being the primary factor of embodying cultural capital. As rightly argued by John Goldthorpe, even in more disadvantaged class with little access to high culture as they already have a position at a certain social strata, also, the values favouring education may still prevail and resources for which exist. In this it’s the institutions role to re-socialise the have nots with the foundation of the haves. I feel enriched with the knowledge of this concept of cultural capital and how different players of the world have different perspective about it. Fortunately, their literature has helped me form my own opinion about it.