Cultural capital, as a sociological concept, was first articulated by Pierre Bourdieu in his work "Cultural Reproduction and Social Reproduction" (1973), where differences in educational outcomes in France during the 1960s were attempted to be explained. For Bourdieu cultural capital acts as a social relation within a system of exchange and includes the accumulated cultural knowledge that confers both power and status.
Cultural capital can be defined as a combination of knowledge, experience and connections gained by a person during his lifetime, which determines his position in the society.
Types of cultural capital:
- an embodied state (both inherited and acquired properties. NB: 'inherited' in this context is in sense of time, culture and traditions. this type of cultural capital is genrally gained from the process of socialisation)
- an objectified state (physically owned cultural capital such as paintings or sculptures, e.g. objects representing a culture)
- an institutional state (knowledge, generally accepted by society in forms if academic credentials or qualifications)
In addition to cultural capital, Bourdieu also distinguishes the following types of capital:
- economic capital (includes cash, assets)
- social capital (the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition - Bourdieu's definition)
- symbolic capital (resources available to an individual on the basis of honor, prestige or recognition)