Is there a consensus that cultural, erotic, social capital exists and can be bought with each other and economic capital?

This was the basis of the great British class survey, and

differing dimensions of social mobility can be classified in terms of differing types of capital that contribute to changes in mobility. Cultural capital, a term first coined by French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu distinguishes between the economic and cultural aspects of class. Bourdieu described three types of capital that place a person in a certain social category: economic capital; social capital; and cultural capital. Economic capital includes economic resources such as cash, credit, and other material assets. Social capital includes resources one achieves based on group membership, networks of influence, relationships and support from other people. Cultural capital is any advantage a person has that gives them a higher status in society, such as education, skills, or any other form of knowledge.

On the one hand, I would be reluctant to class someone as bourgeois on the grounds they were good at sex, e.g.. On the other, it does seem reasonably true. An easy solution is yes, but your "class" is determined by economic capital.

  • 1
    Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Aug 28, 2023 at 18:50
  • You might want to elaborate on "On the other, it does seem reasonably true", especially since you emphasize the qualifier "reasonably". The persuasiveness of that proposition would either weaken or reinforce the hypothesis of a consensus. Aug 29, 2023 at 9:32
  • I'm trying to understand the impulse behind the question: 'bourgeois' is a word that to me is from history and has no current meaning. In the book Caste, the point is made that only the bottom and next to bottom levels are where the struggle happens. No one wants to lose ground and fall to the bottom caste. Mobility among higher levels might be impossible, but falling is. Since caste is basically an external judgement based on appearance, different kinds of capital have very little influence. The real problem is not with things and processes, but with people's minds.
    – Scott Rowe
    Aug 29, 2023 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


There's definitely no such consensus.

Modern capitalist societies are founded on economic capital, and other forms of capital are all translated into economic terms, but that isn't universal. For instance, the British aristocracy traditionally assigns status on birth and "breeding"--wealth is secondary. In ancient China, cultural and educational capital was primary, wealth and status was a consequence of education. In "gift" economies, status is built from what you can give, not from what you can acquire.

So there's also no single answer to your question. Different cultures and societies have different ways of building and exchanging capital, as well as different forms of capital that they recognize.

  • i see what you mean, but the fact that in some places some forms of social capital cannot be bought does not really suggest that there's no consensus that social capital can be bought (and traded in for economic capital)
    – user67521
    Aug 28, 2023 at 22:41
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    Consensus means "everyone agrees" and I don't see any evidence for that. Who are you perceiving a consensus among? Aug 29, 2023 at 12:04

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