Difference Between Social & Cultural Capital

Key Difference – Social vs Cultural Capital

Social and cultural capital are two types of capitals that were identified by Pierre Bourdieu. Social capital refers to the resources that are gained by being a part of a network of social relationships. Cultural capital refers to social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means. This is the key difference between social and cultural capital.

What is Social Capital

Bourdieu explained social capital as “the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition.” It generally refers to the resources we gain from being part of a network of social relationships, which include group membership.  According to Bourdieu, social capital is something that has to be acquired.

The author Lyda Hanifan described social capital as “those tangible assets [that] count for most in the daily lives of people: namely goodwill, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse among the individuals and families who make up a social unit.”

As seen from the above descriptions, there are various definitions for social capital. Although there is much debate over the various types of social capital, the following three categories are accepted as subtypes of social capital:

– Bonds – Bonds between people based on a common identity. Examples include close friends, family members, or people who belong to the same ethnicity, religion, etc.
– Bridges – Connections that go beyond a common/shared sense of identity. Examples include distant friends and colleagues.
– Linkages – Links to people further up or lower down the social ladder.

What is Cultural Capital

Cultural capital is a sociological concept that was first introduced by the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. Cultural capital refers to non-financial social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means. This refers to forms of skills, education, knowledge, and advantages possessed by a person which give him a higher status in society.

Bourdieu also claimed that cultural capital is directly proportionate to economic capital; people are more likely to obtain more cultural capital when their parents possess more economic capital.

Bourdieu also proposed three subtypes of cultural capital: embodied, objectified, and institutionalized.

– Embodied – Embodied cultural capital consists of knowledge and skills we acquire over time, through education and socialization that exists within us.
– Objectified – Objectified cultural capital consists of material objects such as works of arts and clothes.
– Institutionalized – Institutionalized cultural capital consists of institutional acceptance or recognition in the form of academic qualifications and credentials.

Key Takeaways

  • Social capital refers to the resources gained from being part of a network of social relationships, while cultural capital refers to social assets that promote social mobility beyond economic means.
  • Social capital is not directly related to economic capital, while cultural capital is directly proportional to economic capital.
  • Social capital consists of bonds, bridges, and linkages, while cultural capital consists of embodied, objectified, and institutionalized capital.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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