Cultural Capital


I have only superficial ‘knowledge’ of the concept of Cultural Capital in the work of Pierre Bourdieu, but I do understand that its philosophical and pragmatic significance is more complex than as reflected in the soundbite appropriations from people like Michael Gove and Nick Gibb.

I say people not to be euphemistic – though one could so surmise – but I cannot attribute the word ‘education’ to these two, regardless of their past and present attachments to it, the word that is.

Obviously, Ofsted has given its institutional credence to the educational import of Cultural Capital, not that the phrase/idea doesn’t inherently possess such in so many obvious ways, but theirs is no less suspect for being ‘developed’ [oh the miasma of language] than Mikey and Nicky and the commercial organisations [see here] now using the term to promote their wares.

To substantiate my reservations about such soundbite ‘thinking’ [……] behind Cultural Capital, here is Gove’s interpretation [*], from 2013, of how the acquisition of cc facilitates social mobility,

… you will find children learning to read using traditional phonic methods, times tables and poetry learnt by heart, grammar and spelling rigorously policed, the narrative of British history properly taught. And on that foundation those children then move to schools like Eton and Westminster – where the medieval cloisters connect seamlessly to the corridors of power

and I think this is pompously reductive enough to not require any analysis. That those like Gove as well as Johnson and Rees-Mogg can catwalk such achievement like the deception of high fashion it is, also speaks for itself.

For a much more informed and persuasive analysis of the interpretations/meanings of Cultural Capital, I acknowledge and recommend Barbara Bleiman’s English & Media Centre blog article What do we mean by cultural capital? here [*and from which I borrowed the Gove quote].

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