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SOC232H5 (25)

The Forms of Capital Pierre Bourdieu.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Erik Schneiderhan

The Forms of Capital Pierre Bourdieu Capital is a force inscribed in the objectivity of things so that everything is not equally possible or impossible. The structure of the distribution of the different types and subtypes of capital at a given moment in time represents the immanent structure of the social world, i.e., the set of constraints, inscribed in the very reality of that world, which govern its functioning in a durable way, determining the chances of success for practices. CAPITAL can present itself in three fundamental guises: as economic capital, which is immediately and directly convertible into money and may be institutionalized in the forms of property rights;as cultural capital, which is convertible, on certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalized in the forms of educational qualifications; and as social capital, made up of social obligations (‘connections’), which is convertible, in certain conditions, into economic capital and may be institutionalized in the forms of a title of nobility. Cultural capital exists in three forms: -In the embodied state, i.e., in the form of long-lasting dispositions of the mind and body; it is linked to the body and presupposes embodiment. Its aquisition is called Bildung, cultivation – presupposes a process of embodiment, incorporation, which, insofar as it implies a labor of inculcation and assimilation, costs time, time which must be invested personally by the investor. a) it cannot be transmitted instantaneously (unlike money, property rights, or even titles of nobility) by gift or bequest, purchase or exchange. b) it cannot be accumulated beyond the appropriating capacities of an individual agent. c) it declines and dies with its bearer (with his biological capacity, his memory, etc.). d) it is predisposed to function as symbolic capital (ecause the social conditions of its transmission and acquisition are more disguised than those of economic capital). -In the objectified state, in the form of cultural goods (pictures, books, dictionaries, instruments, machines, etc.), which are the trace or realization of theories or critiques of these theories, problematics, etc.; a) Is transmissible in its materiality (but what is transmissible is legal ownership and not (or not necessarily) what constitutes the precondition for specific appropriation, namely, the possession of the means of ‘consuming’ a painting or using a machine, which, being nothing other than embodied capital, are subject to the same laws of transmission). b) Remains irreducible to that which each agent, or even the aggregate of the agents, can appropriate (i.e., to the cultural capital embodied in each agent or even in the aggregate of the agents). c) it exists as symbolically and materi
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