9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS01 Sociology and Disability

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Disability: Equality, Justice and Risk Building II, C3.01

Cultural capital of disabled students in the context of meanings constructing the educational and social discourse of inequality

The concept of cultural capital in the P. Bourdieu theory defines - in the most general meaning - all atributes and skills of the individual wchich are socially inherited (descent) and acquired during a life and which have a symbolic nature according to social and cultural perception and evaluation processes. The category is strongly connected with the signs locating individuals in the hierarchy of social space and within the specified groups. It may be understood as resources which are realized on the different levels and in the various forms as a social, economic, language and cultural capital. But the particular elements do not have the same power to validate (it depends on the connection with the dominant groups culture) and generate individual habitus - a mentale structure which shapes the people way of thinking and acting so it can be interpreted as a kind of bridge between the individual structures of meaning and the society organization. It becomes a part of social and cultural capital of individual and takes part as well in the process of identification and localization in the social hierarchy as in the processes of social exclusion and self-exclusion.
Social inequalities can be defined as a phenomenon connected with the unequal access and opportunities to use and profit from social goods and services as well as restricted participation in some groups and processes, which can be expressed in various dimensions, e.g. institutional, spatial, educational, vocational, et cetera. By means of different strategies and mechanisms they lead to the processes of discrimination, marginalization and exclusion of some individuals and groups what M.Weber called a 'social closure' syndrome. Inequalities, caused by cumulating of individuals features and social and cultural capital of their families, are strengthened by the schools or other educational institutions inherent attributes connected with their organization and functioning.
The paper presents the results of the quantitative and qualitative empirical studies on some elements generating the cultural capital of disabled students in chosen special and inclusive forms of education in Poland.