The Cultural and Discursive Dimensions

Cyrus Schayegh

in Who Is Knowledgeable Is Strong

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780520254473
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943544 | DOI:
The Cultural and Discursive Dimensions

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The study of science as cultural and economic capital in this chapter is inspired by Pierre Bourdieu. One of Bourdieu's most valuable insights has been that social groups use different resources as capital: economic, cultural, including educational, social, and symbolic. These different types of capital are used to mark and buttress the power of individuals or groups in their social world. Cultural, social, and symbolic practices are driven by interests, inasmuch as they are meant to reproduce a privileged position of power or a distinct identity. According to Bourdieu, an interest is defended most effectively if its holders perceive it as normal, if there is “intentionality without intentions,” and if the interest has submerged into a habitus. Cultural capital is a case in point. Bourdieu believes that together with economic capital, it forms the most basic type of capital in the modern world. It is composed of a variety of subtypes: “verbal facility, general cultural awareness, aesthetic preferences, information about the school system, and educational credentials.”

Keywords: Pierre Bourdieu; cultural; habitus; social; aesthetic preferences

Chapter.  9608 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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