Ofsted, the inspection authority in England, has told schools to ensure that all students have access to cultural capital, taken as a canon of music, literature and art. In this paper, we trouble this guidance by analysing conversations with 1447 senior secondary students. The students reported that the arts offered considerable personal benefits, as well as creative self-expression (visual art) and vocational and networking skills (performing arts). By bringing Bourdieu to the dataset we offer a field analysis that shows how arts cultural capitals might follow the logics of the education field. We speculate that, despite the likelihood that these elite cultural capitals were not of equal value to all students, arts capitals and dispositions might support wider resistances to logics of practice in other fields.
Thomson, P., & Hall, C. (2022). Cultural capitals matter, differentially: a Bourdieusian reading of perspectives from senior secondary students in England. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 43(6), 860-877. https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2022.2083582