Role of Cultural Capital in Determining an Individual’s Educational Success
In economically advanced nations, the education system plays a crucial role in the society. A country’s education system not only aims to teach new skills and knowledge, but it also shapes individuals to become valuable members of the society by imparting social values into them. French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu, developed a concept known as cultural capital in his cultural reproduction theory to explain the relationship between social factors and educational inequalities (Savage & Bennett, 2005). Cultural capital can facilitate educational success. In order to gain a better understanding of how an individual can attain educational success, one has to examine other social constructs such as class, race and gender. This essay aims to discuss the theory of cultural capital in determining an individual’s chances of obtaining education success by reference to the notions of race, class and gender.
Education is a type of socialisation, and institutions such as schools and universities play a key role in the socialisation process. Through socialisation, individuals learn and internalise knowledge, values, norms and other aspects of culture, which would prepare them for their roles in the society (Thirumaran, 2014). However, many individuals possess cultural capital before they even begin their educational journey. Cultural capital refers to an individual’s competence and familiarity with superior cultural codes such as knowledge, attitudes, values, linguistic styles and cultural tastes, which can be inherited from their parents (Aschaffenburg & Mass, 1997).
Similar to financial capital, cultural capital gives an advantage to individuals who possess it, thus promoting social mobility. Individual aims to achieve an educational success, which would allow them to attain high social class position (Kucel, 2011). However, cultural capital is not just a reflection of an...