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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
This article focuses on problems with correlating a value system to human activity. The author approaches analyzing this issue in terms of cultural capital. Subject to examination is the key component of social order, which can be described as “developing relations of the highest and lowest order”, as orientation towards oneself of one’s community in a social group or network. This work attempts to define what social capital consists of in terms of privileged and legitimized cultural practices. Presumably a culture of common values bears self-worth if it can be materialized within the boundaries of various types of relations. This allows for predicting trends of change in interpersonal relationships, by means of generalizing the results and conducting comparative analysis. Highlighted is the fact that such analysis makes sense if it were to be conducted in terms of cultural capital. As such, a special role is assigned to cultural competence. The ability and/or skills in practically using cultural achievements under certain conditions, with the goal of converting them into other types of capital later down the line, are especially valuable. Also noted is the fact that an understanding of cultural capital, as well as its transformations, is vital for analyzing actual practices which reflect the processes of the “achievements, approval or rejection, reproduction or transformation” dynamic. The author confirms the conclusion which had already been drawn by foreign scientists who are well-known in this field of knowledge, namely that there exists a certain pattern: either society brings forth specific channels for the flow of class cultures with their impenetrable boundaries, their peculiar and somewhat autonomous standards of purpose (of taste), or a dilution of class distinctions occurs. This inevitably has an effect on the decline of the role of cultural capital, and therefore on belonging to the elite. A hypothesis is brought forth about the need to define a person’s place within social networks, their affiliation with those who are typically considered to be members of “exclusive cultures”. Otherwise a connection to such networks implies the “lowest level of cultural competence” and an unfavorable place in the social hierarchy.
social networks, social environment, interpersonal relations, cultural capital, cultural competence, exclusive and non-exclusive cultural choice
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