Objectified Cultural Capital

Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that books, instruments, and movies are all examples of objectified cultural capital? Learn more about objectified cultural capital from this lesson.

An Example of Objectified Cultural Capital

John is a 29-year-old male who has just completed his master's degree in secondary education. John hopes to find a job working at a private high school. John is a very persuasive speaker who knows how to inspire others to take action. John is also very polite, good at moderating discussions, and knows how to connect with people. John's talents and qualifications impress his prospective employer, and John is hired at Saint X Academy, a small private high school.

John's job permits him to travel to educational conferences around the world. John likes to collect books and mugs from each place that he visits. So far, John has managed to collect books and mugs from twelve different locations. John has also collected four instruments from his travels, though he does not know how to use them all. The books, mugs, and instruments are examples of objectified cultural capital.

What is Cultural Capital?

Objectified cultural capital is one of three types of cultural capital. Cultural capital is defined as the assets that we possess that can assist us in achieving social mobility. All of us possess some level of cultural capital. Artwork, music, and knowing how to cook are all examples.

The three types of cultural capital are embodied cultural capital, institutionalized cultural capital, and objectified cultural capital. Embodied cultural capital refers to taking cultural attitudes and practices and integrating them into one's self. For example, John's speaking skills and knowing how to connect with people are examples of embodied cultural capital. John's master degree is an example of institutionalized cultural capital, which refers to getting recognized by an institution. Objectified cultural capital refers to material objects that have cultural meaning (e.g., John's books and mugs). Let's take a closer look at objectified cultural capital.

Objectified Cultural Capital in Depth

Objectified cultural capital serves as a physical representation of the experience, intellect, and meaning that a culture has accrued over an extended time period. For example, there exists several works of art that depict aspects of early American civilization. Likewise, we have learned much of what we know about early civilizations based on the artifacts (a type of objectified cultural capital) that we have found.

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