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Cultural Capital and Educational Attainment

Sullivan, A; (2001) Cultural Capital and Educational Attainment. Sociology , 35 (4) pp. 893-912. 10.1177/0038038501035004006. Green open access

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Abstract

According to Bourdieu's theory of cultural reproduction, children from middle-class families are advantaged in gaining educational credentials due to their possession of cultural capital. In order to assess this theory, I have developed a broad operationalisation of the concept of cultural capital, and have surveyed pupils on both their own and their parents' cultural capital. I will conclude that cultural capital is transmitted within the home and does have a significant effect on performance in the GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) examinations. However, a large, direct effect of social class on attainment remains when cultural capital has been controlled for. Therefore, `cultural reproduction' can provide only a partial explanation of social class differences in educational attainment.

Type: Article
Title: Cultural Capital and Educational Attainment
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/0038038501035004006
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038501035004006
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: attainment, cultural capital, education, gender, inequality, social class.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1473724
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