Success and Reproduction: A Look at Traditional Success and Nontraditional Success via Bourdieu's Theory of Cultural Reproduction
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The author compares and contrasts the traditional college path to success with other stories of success collected as an intern in Los Angeles with Success, "A New Beginning." Success to the students means going back to school and using it as a tool in order to gain the appropriate skills (vocational training, certification, etc.) needed to go back to the real world. The author observes that the students have more experience of the real world than she does. She claims that in order to achieve success, school is a necessary component, but the perspective on school is what differs. Bourdieu and Passeron's theory of cultural reproduction states that through the force of symbolic violence, an invisible force with great power, the upper class gets reproduced creating the social stratification generally accepted by society. They do recognize that working class individuals can also achieve. However, Bourdieu and Passeron do not provide an insight on how working class individuals chose to behave under the enforcement of the values and ideals of the upper class. Bourdieu and Passeron explain that groups with no power learn to accept and respect the cultural reproduction of the upper class without having a reason to question it. Yet they do not demonstrate how working class students still try to achieve their success through school even though the chances are slim. The author expands on Bourdieu and Passeron's acknowledgements by showing that the motivation of the working class students to back to school and gain the appropriate capital that will help them succeed in the world is more powerful than the symbolic violence that previously kept them from the attempt to continue school.
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