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The Forms of Capital Source: The Eltan Burgos School of Economics. The article appears here for the first time in English. Translated by Richard Nice. The social world is accumulated history, and if it is not to be reduced to a The sociology of family philosophy essay series of instantaneous mechanical equilibria between agents who are treated as interchangeable particles, one must reintroduce into it the notion of capital and with it, accumulation and all its effects.
It is a vis insita, a force inscribed in objective or subjective structures, but it is also a lex insita, the principle underlying the immanent regularities of the social world. It is what makes the games of society — not least, the economic game — something other than simple games of chance offering at every moment the possibility of a miracle.
Capital, which, in its objectified or embodied forms, takes time to accumulate and which, as a potential capacity to produce profits and to reproduce itself in identical or expanded form, contains a tendency to persist in its being, is a force inscribed in the objectivity of things so that everything is not equally possible or impossible.
It is in fact impossible to account for the structure and functioning of the social world unless one reintroduces capital in all its forms and not solely in the one form recognized by economic theory.
Economic theory has allowed to be foisted upon it a definition of the economy of practices which is the historical invention of capitalism; and by reducing the universe of exchanges to mercantile exchange, The sociology of family philosophy essay is objectively and subjectively oriented toward the maximization of profit, i.
In particular, it defines as disinterested those forms of exchange which ensure the transubstantiation whereby the most material types of capital — those which are economic in the restricted sense — can present themselves in the immaterial form of cultural capital or social capital and vice versa.
Interest, in the restricted sense it is given in economic theory, cannot be produced without producing its negative counterpart, disinterestedness. In other words, the constitution of a science of mercantile relationships which, inasmuch as it takes for granted the very foundations of the order it claims to analyze — private property, profit, wage labor, etc.
If economics deals only with practices that have narrowly economic interest as their principle and only with goods that are directly and immediately convertible into money which makes them quantifiablethen the universe of bourgeois production and exchange becomes an exception and can see itself and present itself as a realm of disinterestedness.
As everyone knows, priceless things have their price, and the extreme difficulty of converting certain practices and certain objects into money is only due to the fact that this conversion is refused in the very intention that produces them, which is nothing other than the denial Verneinung of the economy.
A general science of the economy of practices, capable of reappropriating the totality of the practices which, although objectively economic, are not and cannot be socially recognized as economic, and which can be performed only at the cost of a whole labor of dissimulation or, more precisely, euphemization, must endeavor to grasp capital and profit in all their forms and to establish the laws whereby the different types of capital or power, which amounts to the same thing change into one another.
The reader should not be misled by the somewhat peremptory air which the effort at axiomization may give to my argument.
This starting point implies a break with the presuppositions inherent both in the commonsense view, which sees academic success or failure as an effect of natural aptitudes, and in human capital theories. Economists might seem to deserve credit for explicitly raising the question of the relationship between the rates of profit on educational investment and on economic investment and its evolution.
But their measurement of the yield from scholastic investment takes account only of monetary investments and profits, or those directly convertible into money, such as the costs of schooling and the cash equivalent of time devoted to study; they are unable to explain the different proportions of their resources which different agents or different social classes allocate to economic investment and cultural investment because they fail to take systematic account of the structure of the differential chances of profit which the various markets offer these agents or classes as a function of the volume and the composition of their assets see esp.
Furthermore, because they neglect to relate scholastic investment strategies to the whole set of educational strategies and to the system of reproduction strategies, they inevitably, by a necessary paradox, let slip the best hidden and socially most determinant educational investment, namely, the domestic transmission of cultural capital.
Their studies of the relationship between academic ability and academic investment show that they are unaware that ability or talent is itself the product of an investment of time and cultural capital Becker a, p.
This typically functionalist definition of the functions of education ignores the contribution which the educational system makes to the reproduction of the social structure by sanctioning the hereditary transmission of cultural capital. From the very beginning, a definition of human capital, despite its humanistic connotations, does not move beyond economism and ignores, inter alia, the fact that the scholastic yield from educational action depends on the cultural capital previously invested by the family.
Moreover, the economic and social yield of the educational qualification depends on the social capital, again inherited, which can be used to back it up. The Embodied State Most of the properties of cultural capital can be deduced from the fact that, in its fundamental state, it is linked to the body and presupposes embodiment.
The accumulation of cultural capital in the embodied state, i. Like the acquisition of a muscular physique or a suntan, it cannot be done at second hand so that all effects of delegation are ruled out. The work of acquisition is work on oneself self-improvementan effort that presupposes a personal cost on paie de sa personne, as we say in Frenchan investment, above all of time, but also of that socially constituted form of libido, libido sciendi, with all the privation, renunciation, and sacrifice that it may entail.
It follows that the least inexact of all the measurements of cultural capital are those which take as their standard the length of acquisition — so long, of course, as this is not reduced to length of schooling and allowance is made for early domestic education by giving it a positive value a gain in time, a head start or a negative value wasted time, and doubly so because more time must be spent correcting its effectsaccording to its distance from the demands of the scholastic market.
It follows that the use or exploitation of cultural capital presents particular problems for the holders of economic or political capital, whether they be private patrons or, at the other extreme, entrepreneurs employing executives endowed with a specific cultural competence not to mention the new state patrons.
How can this capital, so closely linked to the person, be bought without buying the person and so losing the very effect of legitimation which presupposes the dissimulation of dependence?
How can this capital be concentrated-as some undertakings demand-without concentrating the possessors of the capital, which can have all sorts of unwanted consequences?
Cultural capital can be acquired, to a varying extent, depending on the period, the society, and the social class, in the absence of any deliberate inculcation, and therefore quite unconsciously.
It always remains marked by its earliest conditions of acquisition which, through the more or less visible marks they leave such as the pronunciations characteristic of a class or regionhelp to determine its distinctive value. It cannot be accumulated beyond the appropriating capacities of an individual agent; it declines and dies with its bearer with his biological capacity, his memory, etc.
Because it is thus linked in numerous ways to the person in his biological singularity and is subject to a hereditary transmission which is always heavily disguised, or even invisible, it defies the old, deep-rooted distinction the Greek jurists made between inherited properties ta patroa and acquired properties epiktetai.
It thus manages to combine the prestige of innate property with the merits of acquisition. Because the social conditions of its transmission and acquisition are more disguised than those of economic capital, it is predisposed to function as symbolic capital, i. Furthermore, the specifically symbolic logic of distinction additionally secures material and symbolic profits for the possessors of a large cultural capital: The structure of the field, i.
But the most powerful principle of the symbolic efficacy of cultural capital no doubt lies in the logic of its transmission. On the one hand, the process of appropriating objectified cultural capital and the time necessary for it to take place mainly depend on the cultural capital embodied in the whole family — through among other things the generalized Arrow effect and all forms of implicit transmission.
It follows that the transmission of cultural capital is no doubt the best hidden form of hereditary transmission of capital, and it therefore receives proportionately greater weight in the system of reproduction strategies, as the direct, visible forms of trans- mission tend to be more strongly censored and controlled.Sociology of Fashion.
Fashion that can be defined initially as the social systemic production, consumption and institutionalization of novelty is a cultural phenomenon that integrates culture, the individual and the economy.
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The Effects of Family Structure of Origin on Offspring Cohabitation Duration Research has been done to understand if different family structures, or living situations, have an . JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary sources.
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