Omar Lizardo

Open access

Comment on John Goldthorpe/5. Three Cheers for Unoriginality

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Bourdieu, cultural capital, education, class reproduction, Goldthorpe, social mobility.

In this comment I review Goldthorpe's recent portrayal of the substance of Bourdieu's views on the issues of cultural capital, education and class reproduction, by focusing on three major set of claims that Goldthorpe imputes to Bourdieu. Using more recent and more representative examples of Bourdieu's work on education and class reproduction, I show that Bourdieu did not hold the positions that Goldthorpe says he held and that therefore whatever Bourdieu's "overarching" theory of class reproduction is, it is not what Goldthorpe thinks it is. I conclude that Goldthorpe's call for a moratorium on the use of the concept of cultural capital rests on fallacious views on the role that of "originality" plays in social science and on an overly constrictive attitude toward theoretical borrowing and adaptation in which concepts are seen as somehow "tainted" by the larger presuppositions of the theoretical systems in which they are first embedded.

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