09 SES 10 A, Towards Explaining Achievement: Findings from international comparative achievement studies (Part 1)
In order to measure social status many studies rely on a one-dimensional operationalization, even though the theoretical background which is usually referred to – Bourdieu’s theory of capital (1986) – suggests otherwise. A multi-dimensional empirical representation of social status, differentiating Bourdieu’s (1986) three forms of capital, is challenging as indicators that are usually used in educational research cannot easily be attributed to just one form of capital. In this paper we will test a scale for the separate measurement of economic and cultural capital developed for large scale assessments. The scale consists of a list of socially desirable resources and activities for which respondents are asked to state whether they have/do them. The analyses to be presented are based on parents’ questionnaires from TIMSS 2015 Germany (Wendt, Bos, Selter, Köller, Schwippert & Kasper, 2016; n = 2470). The scale for socially desirable resources and activities used here consists of 22 items, for which parents were asked to state if they (1) owned/did the resource/activity in question or if (2) they did not own/do it due to financial reasons or if (3) other reasons led them to not having or doing the item/activity. With the method of Multidimensional Scaling we can identify two dimensions in parents’ answers, which can be interpreted as economic and cultural capital. With Latent Class Analysis we can group parents into four classes which can be characterized as follows: (1) high economic and low cultural capital, (2) high economic and high cultural capital, (3) low economic and low cultural capital as well as (4) low economic and high cultural capital. All in all, our results show that economic and cultural capital can be measured separately, which allows to pursue new research questions, e.g. whether families can compensate for low economic capital with high cultural capital.
Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York, NY: Greenwood Press. Wendt, H., Bos, W., Selter, C., Köller, O., Schwippert, K. & Kasper, D. (2016). TIMSS 2015. Mathematische und naturwissenschaftliche Kompetenzen von Grundschulkindern in Deutschland im internationalen Vergleich. Münster: Waxmann.
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