- Feb 2021
Introduced by Pierre Bourdieu in the 1970s, the concept has been utilized across a wide spectrum of contemporary sociological research. Cultural capital refers to ‘knowledge’ or ‘skills’ in the broadest sense. Thus, on the production side, cultural capital consists of knowledge about comportment (e.g., what are considered to be the right kinds of professional dress and attitude) and knowledge associated with educational achievement (e.g., rhetorical ability). On the consumption side, cultural capital consists of capacities for discernment or ‘taste’, e.g., the ability to appreciate fine art or fine wine—here, in other words, cultural capital refers to ‘social status acquired through the ability to make cultural distinctions,’ to the ability to recognize and discriminate between the often-subtle categories and signifiers of a highly articulated cultural code. I'm quoting here from (and also heavily paraphrasing) Scott Lash, ‘Pierre Bourdieu: Cultural Economy and Social Change’, in this reader.
- Important to note also that the more conventional forms of capital are in theory fairly straightforwardly convertible into cultural capital. So ownership of the former constitutes a decisive advantage as against others in the accumulation of the latter. In theory.
- Jan 2017
The so-called ‘cultural’ turn in literary studies since the 1970s, with its debt to postmodern understandings of the relationship between power and narrative, has pushed the field away from such systematic, semi-mechanistic ways of analysing texts. AI remains concerned with formal patterns, but can nonetheless illuminate key aspects of narrative, including time, space, characters and plot.
- Feb 2014
The fourth of the theories is as yet the least influential but seems to be gaining strength. Its key ideas are that human nature causes people to flourish more under some conditions than under others, and that social and political institutions should be organized to facilitate that flourishing. What, more specifically, are the conditions or “functionings” that enable people to flourish?
- Bodily integrity – protection against physical hazards and against physical and sexual assault
- Autonomy – in the sense of the ability to choose freely one’s vocations and avocations
- Competence – the ability to confront and solve problems
- Engagement – active involvement in professional and leisure activity, as opposed to passive consumption of goods and services
- Self-expression – the ability to speak one’s mind and express one’s creative impulses
- Relationships – participation in freely chosen communities
- Privacy – access to zones of intimacy in which relationships can be nurtured and identity developed