Cultural capital can be considered an important workplace resource, as it often shows a person in a certain light.

Although this type of capital is centered around competence, qualifications, and experience (universal assets), it is specific to each culture, because the values of society set the tone for what assets are most prized. 

We talked about social capital last week, which is all about who you know.

But cultural capital is about what you know and can do – the skills and knowledge you bring to the table as an individual. 

This can include anything from being a master wordsmith to having an eye for art that’ll blow your socks off.

In that way, you have more control over cultural capital than you do social.

But…cultural capital is like a secret weapon that not everyone knows how to wield. 

And that weapon comes in several forms, including embodied and institutionalized cultural capital.

Embodied & Institutionalized Cultural Capital

Embodied cultural capital refers to the skills and knowledge that you’ve acquired through personal experience, training, and education

This type of cultural capital is highly subjective, as it’s shaped by your unique experiences and background.

Think language skills, artistic talent, physical coordination, social grace, and more. 

View embodied cultural capital as the foundation of who you are as an individual.

It’s something that can have a significant impact on your social class, career prospects, and overall success.

Institutionalized cultural capital, on the other hand, refers to the formal credentials and recognition that you’ve acquired through institutions such as universities, colleges, and professional organizations.

Institutionalized cultural capital can include degrees, certificates, and other formal qualifications. 

It can also include the prestige and reputation of the organizations with which you’re affiliated.

But it’s not just about what you know and what you can do. It’s also about who you know and where you belong. 

Institutionalized cultural capital can give you access to certain social networks, job opportunities, and higher-paying positions.

How Can You Earn Cultural Capital?

Understanding the cultural capital that holds value within your environment is crucial, as certain skills and attributes are prized and can lead to greater opportunities, career success, and social status. 

For example, if you want to make it big in a high-wheeling law firm, you’ll need to be able to flaunt your fancy degree and show off your deep understanding of legal culture.

Or if you’re in the tech industry, having skills in programming languages like Java, Python, or C++ will be a game changer. 

The bottom line is: You need to know what skills and attributes are highly valued within your environment, and then develop those skills and cultivate those attributes. 

You also need to make connections and build relationships with people who can help you advance in your career. 

And, of course, you need to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in your field.

Who knows, if you build up enough social and cultural capital, maybe someday you’ll be able to cash it all in for a fancy corner office and a solid gold stapler.

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