Cultural Capital as a Hidden Asset: Culture, Egalitarianism and Inter-Class Social Encounters in Stavanger, Norway
10-Sep-2018 12:00:00 AM
|Title:||Cultural Capital as a Hidden Asset: Culture, Egalitarianism and Inter-Class Social Encounters in Stavanger, Norway|
|Research group:||Velferd, innovasjon og politikk (Innovation and Industry)|
|Published by:||SAGE journals / IRIS, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1749975518782244|
this article look at the theory of cultural capital, which was originally outlined in Pierre Bourdieu’s magnum opus Distinction. We start from a study of lifestyles in Stavanger, Norway, and qualitative interviews with 39 people dispersed in the social space. We find that interviewees with less education are largely indifferent to cultural capital, and secure about their own lifestyles. This diverges from Bourdieu’s depiction of the working-class ‘sense of place’. Yet cultural capital has social consequences. To university graduates, taste and education often matter for self-definition and social networks. Cultural capital thus contributes to social closure. Importantly, though, the highly educated are careful to de-emphasize their cultural capital when appropriate, especially in inter-class social encounters. They keep cultural distinctions hidden. In accounting for why our findings diverge from Bourdieu’s, possible explanations pertain to national cultural repertoires (Nordic egalitarianism) as well as broader (even transnational) changes in morality. Crucially, though, we engage with social interaction, which has been more neglected in previous research. For that purpose, we build on Erving Goffman’s theories. For cultural capital studies, we propose the concept of a ‘discursive gap’, and suggest more emphasis on social encounters.