Les trois états du capital culturel

TitreLes trois états du capital culturel
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1979
AuthorsBourdieu, P
JournalActes de la recherche en sciences sociales
Publication Languageeng

The Three Stages of Cultural Capital. The concept of cultural endowment was developed to account for inequalities in academic performance, by stressing the inequality in the way in which the tools for the appropriation of cultural assets such as works of art were distributed. The diverse properties of this cultural endowment are literally 'incorporated'; that is, interiorised in the form of a set of permanent and lasting attitudes. The capital itself is in a sense identified with individuals; its accumulation requires time, which is a social asset that can not be acquired by proxy; it demands a personal investment of energy; the biological limitations of its System of maintenance are the limitations to its own capacity for accumulation. These specific properties, which are seen as being linked to the individual, enhance the advantages of the system of inheritance by having both the appearance of something in-born and at the same time acquired. This means that 'incorporated' cultural capital becomes the predilect means of the legitimate transmission of the human heritage at times when direct and visible forms of transmission fall into disfavour. Cultural assets (books, paintings, machines), which are the objectified counterpart to cultural capital, are transmissible immediately and may be appropriated formally as material objects. But in any one case of their transmission, they are subject to the same strictures as apply to 'incorporated' cultural capital. A last instance of cultural capital is that of academic qualifications. These, like coins, are relatively independent in value of their bearers. This certified and guaranteed form of cultural capital raises the whole question of the social functions of the educational system and may lead into a practical awareness of the relationship between cultural capital and the economic system.

Short TitleLes trois états du capital culturel