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RACE, GENDER, AND CLASS AT WORK: EXAMINING CULTURAL CAPITAL AND INEQUALITY IN A CORPORATE WORKPLACE
PURCELL, DAVID A.

2007, PhD, University of Cincinnati, Arts and Sciences : Sociology.
Cultural capital refers to the role certain cultural practices, knowledge, attitudes, and abilities play in the reproduction of social class. This concept has emerged as a powerful framework for the study of inequality and the intersection of structure and agency. Previous research has focused primarily on the effects of cultural capital on the educational outcomes of adolescents, and has paid much less attention to cultural capital’s importance in social contexts involving adults. Further, research in this area has been concerned mainly with the role of social class, while neglecting issues of race and gender. This study uses data gathered from extensive personal interviews and participant observation at Aimco, a multinational corporation headquartered in the Midwest, to examine three main research questions involving cultural capital, race, gender, and class. First, I document the specific forms of cultural capital that are valued at Aimco, and discuss the advantages gained by employees who possess and activate their cultural capital. In doing so, I explain why cultural capital is an appropriate theoretical framework for the study of race and gender inequality in the workplace, despite having rarely been applied in this manner. Second, I argue that cultural capital theory is appropriate for the study of racial inequality, and examine how race affects Aimco employees’ possession and activation of cultural capital at work. I find a significant intersection of race and class, as Aimco’s white-dominated culture privileges white middle-class employees and disadvantages black middle-class employees. Third, I discuss how Aimco’s dominant informal culture is gendered and affects the career prospects of men and women differently. In particular, I focus on how gender differences in cultural capital contribute to the maintenance of the glass ceiling that limits the upward mobility of women in the corporate sector. I conclude with a discussion of future research possibilities, and a call for more research into the effects of race, gender, and class on cultural capital-related processes within organizations and other social contexts involving adults.
Dr. Jennifer Malat Dr. Rhys H. Williams (Advisor)
174 p.

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PURCELL, D. (2007). RACE, GENDER, AND CLASS AT WORK: EXAMINING CULTURAL CAPITAL AND INEQUALITY IN A CORPORATE WORKPLACE. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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PURCELL, DAVID. "RACE, GENDER, AND CLASS AT WORK: EXAMINING CULTURAL CAPITAL AND INEQUALITY IN A CORPORATE WORKPLACE." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2007. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 22 Nov 2017.

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PURCELL, DAVID "RACE, GENDER, AND CLASS AT WORK: EXAMINING CULTURAL CAPITAL AND INEQUALITY IN A CORPORATE WORKPLACE." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2007. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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