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Symbolic Capital

Symbolic capital is one of the forms of capital central to the work of Pierre Bourdieu. Although it is often simply glossed as “honor” or “prestige,” it is important to note that the honor and prestige inherent in symbolic capital is the outcome of the conversion of other forms of capital. Bourdieu defines symbolic capital as “the form that the various species of capital assume when they are perceived and recognized as legitimate” (1989, 17; see also Bourdieu 1986). Hence, although apparently conceptually existing in Bourdieu's work alongside the other “capitals”—economic, cultural, and social—symbolic capital is not a different form of capital, but rather should be seen as the legitimated, recognized form of the other capitals. In other words, for Bourdieu, any capital may ...

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