Cultural Reproduction, Cultural Mobility, Cultural Resource, or Trivial Effect? A Comparative Approach to Cultural Capital and Educational Performance

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Publication details

JournalComparative Education Review
DatePublished - Feb 2012
Issue number1
Number of pages27
Pages (from-to)98-124
Original languageEnglish


We assess explanations for the associations between cultural capital (especially cultural activities and cultural possessions) and educational performance of schooled adolescents in twenty-two Western industrialized countries based on data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). We further ascertain variations in the effect of cultural capital across distinct welfare regimes. Results indicate that multiple forms of cultural capital mediate the association between parental socioeconomic status and children’s educational performance in these industrialized countries. Our analyses also show that, especially under liberal-type welfare regimes, children from higher-status families reap greater benefits from cultural capital than do children from lower-status families.

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