不过，资本不是解释一切的理论。例如，Carter在Keepin’ it Real一书中用了文化资本来解释不同社会群体间的学术成就差异；但是，当要分析同一群体间的成就差异时，Carter需要将性别和种族也纳入分析范围。最后，我对社会资本有个问题：社会资本与Carter在第五章提到的人脉有什么区别？布迪厄认为社会资本是连接在对持久性网络的占有上的，我可以将这个网络直接理解成人与人之间的网络吗？
Th e Forms of Capital
To introduce his discussion of the forms of capital, Bourdieu starts the article The Forms of Capital with an explanation about capital. He argues that capital “takes time to accumulate” and has the tendency “to produce profits and reproduce itself” (p. 241). The concept of capital reminds me of a lifelong myth in my educational experiences, and it also helps me demystify it. There is an idiom in China, “you folks are at the same starting line right now”, which is a popular exhortation that can be heard from parents and teachers when you are preparing to start your journey at a new school. I went to middle school in a rural area, and I remember that in my grade, only around 30 out of 500 students passed the high school entrance exam and had the privilege to go to a key high school, and I was one of them. I was stressed out for the whole summer before high school because my parents were so excited and kept exhorting me that I should be prepared for this fresh new journey of competition in my life. Now, I would like to make known that there is no such thing as the “same starting line”, a “perfect competition”, nor a “perfect equality opportunity” (p. 241). Just because I went to high school with city kids did not automatically mean that I accumulated similar cultural capital to them; in fact, I have always felt diffidence until now, even though I could be considered as privileged since my father brought my family to an upper level in terms of social-economic status. I still cannot play any musical instruments, I am still bad at sports, and my English is not good... However, I think I should not feel diffidence; I should not torture myself anymore. It’s not anybody’s fault that I did not have any opportunity to accumulate cultural capital when I was little, and if I am eager to gain certain skills, I can always start now. I think this is the strength that Bourdieu gives me: his argument on capital helps me see that not accumulating cultural capital when one does not have the means to do so is not a moral failing, and also helps me embrace myself and my childhood life experience.
I agree with Bourdieu’s argument about three fundamental guises of capital: economic capital, cultural capital, and social capital. Having the awareness that there are different types of capital besides economic capital is important because only in this way can we understand the structure and function of the world, more specifically, the process of reproduction; a family is not only accumulating money for their posterity but also cultural and social capital. However, capital is not a theory that could explain everything in the world. For example, in Carter’s book Keepin’ it Real, she uses cultural capital theory to explain the academic achievement gap between different social groups; however, when it comes to the task of examining the gap within the groups, Carter needs to bring gender and race/ethnicity into the process of analysis. I think that capital theory fits well in the analysis of different groups that have shared social-economic status and shared culture.
As a student who went through a huge social-economic status change in my early life, I always feel it’s hard for me to find a sense of belonging, or to develop my identity. I used to think the reason is that I hold a different political opinion towards the Chinese government than the majority of Chinese people (including my whole family). Now, after reading Bourdieu’s work, I feel that there might be an imbalance of cultural capital between me and my counterparts who share similar family social-economic status with me. I suspect that the consistent feeling of diffidence I have is coming from a lack of the accumulation of cultural capital, especially the embodied state, in my childhood. Unlike me, my brother was born after my family got into a better social-economic position, and he started to learn piano when he was in kindergarten. It was during the time when I came back home for summer vacation from college that my parents bought a fancy piano, and I felt uncomfortable just realizing the fact that I also wanted to be a person who could play the piano.
Finally, I have a question about social capital: what are the differences between social capital and personal networks (as Carter mentioned in Chapter 5)? Bourdieu argues that social capital is linked to the “possession of a durable network” (p. 248), can I understand this “network” to have the same meaning as personal networks?
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