NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ896395
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 144
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 155
ISSN: ISSN-1551-6970
Cultural Capital: The Promises and Pitfalls in Education Research
Winkle-Wagner, Rachelle
ASHE Higher Education Report, v36 n1 p1-144 2010
The past three decades have seen the increased use of the term "cultural capital" in classrooms, research articles, and discussions in education. This monograph is an attempt to buttress a theoretical understanding of the cultural capital construct and its applicability to educational research and practice. In educational research, cultural capital has increasingly been used as a theoretical foundation and analytical tool to study the manifestation of social inequality in educational processes and outcomes. Yet it seems that there may be as many treatments of "cultural capital" as there are people who claim this as a theoretical framework or a substantive topic of their work. Scholars exploring primary and secondary schooling have used cultural capital to investigate such issues as the effect of parental involvement or investments in education on students' educational success; parental socialization toward high-status culture that is rewarded in schools; the effects of cultural knowledge, skills, abilities, or competences on grade point averages or achievement; and cultural participation or involvement in schooling. It appears that researchers studying higher education have both taken cues from and worked in tandem with those highlighting primary and secondary schooling. In higher education research, cultural capital has been used to examine and shed light on such factors as the influence of cultural capital on college choice; access to and success in higher education; the college transition process; and college student retention. This monograph interrogates the origins of this theoretical construct along with the ways that it has been adapted in educational research, the goals of which are to: (1) Demystify the many definitions and misconceptions of cultural capital so that scholars and practitioners can better understand it; (2) Examine some of the strengths and limitations of the scholarship and thinking on cultural capital; (3) Offer suggestions for ways that cultural capital can be expanded or better used as a theoretical concept or topic of study in educational research in the future; and (4) Contemplate the implications of the cultural capital research for educational practice. (Contains 3 figures, 3 tables, 1 exhibit, 5 notes, and name and subject indexes.)
Jossey-Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A