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Cultural capital and the place of sport

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It is not unusual now to talk about the culture of the body, or to see routine and organized physical activity, as well as sport, as part and parcel of cultural life. In recent decades body management techniques have become a very conspicuous aspect of self-presentation and have been served by the expansion of the supply of commercial services to deal with diet and health, physical training and cosmetic improvement to appearances. The professionalization and commercialization of sport have also accelerated. Bourdieu interpreted measures for body management and maintenance in terms of the accumulation and display of cultural capital. He distinguished three types of cultural capital: institutionalized, objectified and embodied . This article considers some of the elements of the very complex and extensive property, embodied cultural capital. The Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion (CCSE) survey included questions on sporting activity, sports spectatorship and physical exercise routines, important elements in the mosaic of contemporary cultural activities. This article teases out the patterns of participation and taste in this area, examining differentiation by class, gender, education, ethnic and age groups in particular. While showing that all these factors matter, gender is the most important source of differentiation, though this is more the case for sport than for exercise per se . In addition, it is shown that educational qualification is particularly important in predicting participation in exercise, whereas occupational class makes more difference to the choice of sport, whether playing or watching.

Keywords: Bourdieu; Cultural Capital; Exercise; Sport

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2006


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