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Capital: Cultural, Symbolic, and Social

Capital is the central concept in the research tradition developed by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930–2002) and his collaborators. In the period since this concept was forged during the 1960s, it has become widely used in virtually all branches of the social sciences and humanities. Capital in Bourdieu’s sense denotes certain kinds of assets or resources—namely, those that gain social recognition. Take, for example, a PhD degree from an esteemed site of learning. To function as capital, this degree has to be recognized, in both meanings of the word: It has to be recognizable—all concerned have to be able to identify it—and its value needs to be acclaimed. (This is the case with doctoral degrees within the scientific community and in many other contexts ...

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