Forms of Capital and Modes of Closure in Upper Class Reproduction
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionSociology. 2017, 51 (6), 1277-1298. 10.1177/0038038517706325
We investigate the recruitment into the upper class, analysing the impact of different forms of capital and modes of closure. Unlike many Bourdieu-influenced approaches to class, we systematically investigate divisions by composition of capital: the relative weight of economic to cultural capital. We find capital-specific barriers to mobility: access to the upper class fractions is not only differentiated by one’s parents’ volume of capital or the general class hierarchy, but also by the relative weight of cultural to economic capital. Drawing on theories of social closure, we further investigate the role of two distinct modes of closure – credentialism and private property. The degree of closure differs significantly between subfractions of the upper class, based on the degree to which they refer to positions involving specific credential requirements. Our findings underline the importance of capital composition, but also that closure operates by neither credentials nor property alone.