Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Thomas L. Alsbury
Cultural capital can be defined as high-status cultural signals, such as attitudes, behaviors, preferences, and credentials, that are commonly used for social exclusion. The concept of cultural capital was introduced by Pierre Bourdieu and has been an influential American sociological concept, further extended into educational application by Paul DiMaggio. Cultural capital has been used to explain how social inequality is reproduced through institutions such as schools. Bourdieu's theory contends that all human social interactions or exchanges either yield, or fail to yield, material and/or symbolic acceptance or exclusion from the dominant social population. While interactions within the social space may appear inconsequential and not consciously intended to result in social advantage to a single actor, nevertheless, all exchanges, in fact, lead to an exchange of symbolic power . Symbolic power is described as a form of power that is perceived not as power, but as a legitimate demand for recognition, ...