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Theoretical discussion on forms of cultural capital in Singapore

Abstract

This article is a theoretical discussion on five forms of cultural resources that constitute cultural capital for children in the meritocratic yet stratified society of Singapore. These five forms of cultural capital are namely ‘academic’ tastes and leisure preferences, use of Standard English, access to and dispositions toward information communication technology, acquisition of learning skills, and confidence/learning dispositions. They cover two important aspects of cultural capital—namely objectified and embodied components—that may vary in levels with social class and that mediate the influence of social class on children’s academic achievement. Equally importantly, the focus on one societal context—in this case, Singapore—recognizes the contextual specificities of cultural capital in form and consumption pattern among individuals.

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Notes

  1. Many of these forms of capital pertain to embodied cultural capital that should be contrasted with habitus, a closely related concept in cultural capital theory that also measure individuals’ dispositions, but pertaining more to education/career aspirations and plans, and self-efficacy in achieving these aspirations and plans (Engberg and Wolniak 2010; Cerna et al. 2009; Salisbury et al. 2009; Pearce and Lin 2007; Pearce and Zeng 2005; Perreira et al. 2006; Nora 2004; Dumais 2002).

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Tan, C.Y. Theoretical discussion on forms of cultural capital in Singapore. Asia Pacific Educ. Rev. 14, 103–112 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12564-013-9257-x

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Keywords

  • Cultural capital
  • Meritocracy
  • Singapore