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Assess the extent to which class differences in educational attainment may be explained by the concept of ‘cultural capital’.

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Introduction

Assess the extent to which class differences in educational attainment may be explained by the concept of 'cultural capital'. Class difference is a major factor that affects al students in all schools around the world. This is not just about the colour of your skin but also about the 'class' that you are put into when you are born. If you have rich parents then you are upper class and are expected to do better than a working class student. Depending on what class you are in you will have different amounts of 'cultural capital'. Pierre Bourdieu was the man who came up with this term. Bourdieu refers to the dominant culture as 'culture capital' because whoever is the ruling class can make education biased and so therefore easier for upper class children to attain better grades. ...read more.

Middle

Klineberg said that environmental factors were also very important such as the school itself where Klineberg says that teachers label you as soon as they see you. What is meant by this is that if you are working class then you are unlikely to be able to afford new clothes and equipment all the time and the teachers pick up on this so they expect you to do rubbish academically, however, if you are upper class then the teachers will pay more attention to you and expect you to do better than working class students. Becker backs up this theory about labelling and also talks about 'self fulfilling prophesy', this means that when students are told that they will never make it in life they believe it and don't bother to try this is why a lot of working class students form a counter-school culture where they just doss around. ...read more.

Conclusion

He found that there were significant variations in educational attainment between students of similar abilities but of different social class. Douglas also found that people in the higher classes tended to stay in the educational system longer. Douglas also related educational attainment to family size, the student's health, and family interest in the Childs education. He found that family interest was the most important factor. He found that parents of upper class students would visit the school on a regular basis and go to all the parent evenings and therefore encouraging the student that school was a good thing whereas working class parents would rarely turn up for these types of occasion. Blackstone and Mortimer criticised this and said that working class students parents could a lot of the time not actually get to school because they were working or because the parents felt intimidated by the other parents and maybe even the teachers. 1 ...read more.

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