Capital

Capital is the accumulated money that is either incorporated in the production machinery or is accessible or potentially available for the construction or acquisition of the machinery. Marx defined capital as privately held wealth or value employed to produce surplus value.
Capital Sociology Definition

Definition

Capital is the accumulated money that is either incorporated in the production machinery or is accessible or potentially available for the construction or acquisition of the machinery. Marx defined capital as privately held wealth or value employed to produce surplus value.

It may be broadly defined as any “asset,” financial or otherwise, that can be used as a source of income immediately or potentially.

Karl Marx and Capital

In the context of economics, capital refers to the funds, equipment, and infrastructure required to generate things. It is often reified in sociology as a social force with distinct class interests. Therefore, it should work in predictable ways, often resulting in exploitation and colossal gain. Thus, the notion of capital is in opposition to “the workers.”

Marx is confident that capital should not be seen as a “thing” but rather as a social connection that merely resembles a thing in appearance. Karl Marx claimed that the dynamism unique to the capitalist mode of production, or the current capitalist system, is supplied by capital accumulation. It is predicated on the extraction of surplus value while exploiting labor.  

Karl Marx authored the book  Capital: Critique of Political Economy in 1867, in which he stated that there is a logic to the process of accumulation that will lead to the concentration of capital in a few hands, as well as the proletarianization and increasing inequality of the majority of the labor force.

Bourdieu and capital

It has been shown that the separation between economic, cultural, and social capital helps explain how parents transmit their status to their offspring and why the process of achieving status varies depending on the person. The three types of capital that might affect a person’s social status are set apart by Bourdieu.

A person may benefit from their parent’s financial riches while pursuing status. Regarding job progression and intergenerational transfers, a person’s financial or material situation is crucial. First and foremost, economic resources are essential to obtaining a degree, mainly when the price of a degree is considerable. Second, a family’s financial resources, particularly the passing of company ownership and financial support, may directly influence the intergenerational transfer of occupational position. Third, an individual’s access to financial resources may make it easier for them to move across generations in their careers.

The phrase “cultural capital” is a Bourdieu invention (1973). Cultural disparities across status groups based on variations in money, rank, and employment are referred to as cultural capital, also known as cultural resources. Children from higher status groupings have access to cultural capital, which includes respect for formal culture, excellent manners, taste, and language use. The formal culture’s values and appreciation for classical music, drama, artwork, sculpture, and interest in literature are instilled through family socialization.

The resources one has access to via their network—including their family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances—are referred to as social capital. The number of resources in a network and the willingness of its members to share those resources is two factors that affect social capital. In other words, social capital is the sum of the available resources and the number of individuals who can be counted on to assist.

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