Cultural capital. What does it offer students? A cross-national analysis.

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Title of host publicationEducation and Social Inequality in the Global Culture.
DatePublished - 2008
PublisherKluwer Academic Publishers
EditorsKaren L. Biraimah , William Gaudelli
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This study continues the refinement of the cultural capital concept, addressing gaps in existing scholarship by analyzing data from two major international datasets: the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Third International Math and Science Study (TIMSS). Using these datasets, the relationship between student participation in culturally enriching activities and the possession of cultural resources and student academic outcomes across nine western industrialized countries is examined. This study focuses on European and North American countries that share a Western cultural history for several reasons. First, much of the literature and, in particular, the theoretical frameworks, on this topic have been dominated by studies on Western cultures. Second, the conceptualization and measurement of cultural capital have been largely influenced by a Western cultural perspective. Thus, it is unclear the extent to which the theoretical perspectives (i.e., social mobility versus social reproduction) that form the basis of this study can be applied to non-Western countries. Third, the datasets and measures used in this study are a reflection of Western cultures. Caution is warranted in generalizing the literature or results summarized below to countries that have not been shaped by a similar cultural history due to this sampling limitation. This study provides a basis on which to measure the extent to which the effect of cultural capital differs across national borders, even those that share common cultural histories.

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