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Det kulturella kapitalet. Studier av symboliska tillgångar i det svenska utbildningssystemet 1988


Mikael Palme


Professor Donald Broady, Uppsala universitet


Professor Jonas Frykman, Lunds universitet

Disputerat vid

UU – Uppsala universitet



Titel (se)

Det kulturella kapitalet. Studier av symboliska tillgångar i det svenska utbildningssystemet 1988 2008

Titel (eng)

Cultural Capital: Symbolic Assets in the Swedish Education System 1988 2008


Institutionen för utbildning, kultur och medier

Cultural Capital: Symbolic Assets in the Swedish Education System 1988 2008

The papers assembled in this thesis all address, in a Bourdieuan tradition, the question of the social structure of the Swedish education system, focusing on the Stockholm region, and howthis structure can be explained by the distribution of cultural and other assets among individuals and social groups. Although economic, social and political changes during the period covered by the various studies are not the main focus of the work here, the articles depict the effects of such changes on upper secondary education in particular. While upper secondary education was radically changed by the political reforms of the 1990s, characterizedby decentralisation and marketization, the analyses advanced in the studies indicate that its basic social structure remains stable. In one dimension, this structure opposes an elite pole having a particularly high social and scholastic recruitment to a popular pole with a correspondingly low recruitment profile. In a likewise durable second dimension, a cultural pole built up by schools and study programmes that are particularly popular among culturallystrong social groups, opposes an economic pole favoured by social groups close to the economic and private sectors of society. The various papers reveal that the last opposition corresponds to both differences in life styles and deeply rooted convictions related to family and formal education among cultural and economic fractions of the upper-middle and middle classes. At this level, a belief in education as a development of the personality, with connected values such as individuality and originality, stands against a conviction that education is a rational investment in a future competitive career; as such, it is subject to calculated, measured risks. The existence of deeply rooted values among social groups with different structures of assets or capital also explains why schools in the institutional strategies imposed on them by the school market tend to express convictions (topoi) and symbolic values that correspond to those of their target groups. The various studies included in this thesis employ a combinationof statistical approaches, mainly correspondence analysis, and qualitative ones such as: interviews, ethnographic observation and text analysis.

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