Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Social Capital
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Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Social Capital

Edited by Yaojun Li

Social capital is fundamentally concerned with resources in social relations. This Handbook brings together leading scholars from around the world to address important questions on the determinants, manifestations and consequences of social capital. Combining cutting-edge theory and appropriate data and methods, it presents a challenge to both social capital researchers interested in explaining social inequality and to policy-makers with responsibility for designing effective measures for enhancing social cohesion.
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Chapter 2: Social stratification, social capital and cultural practice in the UK

Yaojun Li, Mike Savage and Alan Warde


Over the past few decades there has been increasing examination of the role of social and cultural processes in the generation of social inequalities (Bennett et al., 2009; Le Roux et al., 2008; Li et al., 2008). The dominant view at the end of the twentieth century was that in contemporary post-industrial Western societies the effects of class on socio-cultural practices and identities had faded. The grounds for such conclusions were various, including individualization, post-industrial occupational transition, the emergence of new forms of social engagement, and the reworking of cultural identities and transformation of the cultural landscape. Nevertheless, qualitative investigations continued to throw up evidence of powerful class differences in cultural practices (Skeggs, 1997; Charlesworth, 2000; Savage et al., 2001, 2005). These results were not, however, replicated in analysis of large-scale survey data which, while tending to unearth the apparently benign phenomenon of cultural omnivorousness, found this to be strongly associated with education, not with class (Chan and Goldthorpe, 2007). There has also been much research in social capital, especially in the last two decades, showing considerable class effects (Hall, 1999; Li et al., 2003, 2005, 2008). But there has been little research linking class, social capital and cultural practice. In this analysis we seek to make a contribution to this by providing evidence of a close relationship between social and cultural capital, both underpinned by processes of social stratification as indicated by people’s social mobility trajectories.

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