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Capital: ‘cultural v human’ (Bourdieu v Becker) – Denis Scott


Capital: ‘cultural v human’ (Bourdieu v Becker) – Denis Scott

Sunday 29th March, 12:30-13:30

Why in the 1980s did the Personnel Departments of large organisations suddenly start becoming ‘Human Resources’? Why did the ideas of ‘self-help’ and ‘self-development’ take root? (‘Get on your bike’ speech, Norman Tebbit, 1981). What is more valuable, an individual’s cultural or economic resources? ‘There is no such thing as society’ (Margaret Thatcher, 1987).

The 1980s was an era when the ‘New Right’ forerunners of a neoliberal interpretation of globalisation came to dominance under the premiership of Margaret Thatcher.

This talk, with the benefit of hindsight, gives a brief outline of these developments and considers them in the context of the leading proponents of conflicting views on the value of two major forms of capital. Human, drawn from Gary Becker and the classical economic theory of rational behaviour, and cultural, drawn from Pierre Bourdieu’s sociological perspective.