Bourdieusian Boundary-Making, Social Networks, and Capital Conversion: Inequality among International Degree Holders in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sociological research richly documents the many ways through which education becomes a form of convertible capital, but focuses less on the cultural schemas that graduates possess and use to respond to disruptions of capital conversion processes. Using the case of international degree holders in Hong Kong, this article draws upon Bourdieu’s theory of practice to interrogate the cultural schemas that valorize international degrees when their conversion pathways to economic capital are subjectively perceived to weaken. This article unearths the role of social networks in embedding cultural schemas and their effects on relations within the field: when faced with diminishing economic returns, international degree holders hold fast to their schemas vis-à-vis fellow international graduates and reconceptualize their degrees as symbolic capital to cope with the loss by enacting symbolic violence against domestic degree holders. Class boundaries are ultimately entrenched when international degree graduates valorize their cultural capital gains and legitimate their economic capital losses. Doing so compromises their class interests by forcing themselves into an interstitial position between different fields: though they occupy dominating homologous positions in the cultural field, they choose to overlook their dominated homologous positions in the economic field.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCultural Sociology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Bourdieusian boundary-making
  • capital conversion
  • Hong Kong higher education
  • inequality
  • social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • General Social Sciences

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Bourdieusian Boundary-Making, Social Networks, and Capital Conversion: Inequality among International Degree Holders in Hong Kong'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this