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Cultural Capital

The notion of cultural capital originated from Karl Marx’s concept of social relations as a form of capital (i.e., a relation between human beings where knowledge is fostered and exchanged). Pierre Bourdieu was the first scholar to clearly identify and articulate this sociological concept by defining “cultural capital” as associations used in reference to nonfinancial assets. According to Bourdieu, cultural capital manifests itself in three different forms: (1) embodied (e.g., knowledge consciously acquired through family and affiliations—a disposition of the mind and body), (2) objectified (e.g., possession of cultural goods such as books, instruments, and pictures, which can be used both for monetary gain and to convey possession of the cultural capital to others), and (3) institutionalized (e.g., education and institutional recognition).

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