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Michael Apple

Cultural Capital &

Official Knowledge

In this section I want to offer some quotes from an article, Cultural Capital & Official Knowledge  by Michael W. Apple. I believe that it presents another side of his brilliant mind as we strive to understand his views on the "commodification and privatization that education is currently facing."

  • "I want us to think of knowledge as a form of capital. Just as economic institutions are organized (and sometimes disorganized) so that particular classes and class fractions increase their share of economic capital, cultural institutions such as universities seem to do the same thing. They play a fundamental role in the accumulation of cultural capital."The authors found that through observation and conducting interviews of the subjects in one particular kindergarten class, information gathered "revealed how social meanings of events and materials are established remarkably early in the school year."
  • "The conception of cultural capital assumes that the fundamental role of educational institutions is the distribution of knowledge to students, some of whom are more able  to acquire it because of cultural gifts that come naturally  from their class or race or gender position."
  • "As the institutional logic surrounding the commodification process recuperates more and more of the daily teaching and research activities at universities within its orbit, the emphasis tilts toward the latter, while at the same time attempting to limit the former to only that knowledge which is economically essential  or to move other, more critical forms of discourse to the margins."
  • "One of the most critical issues we will face will be what our students will be like—what they will know, what values they will have—when they arrive. Because of this, it is utterly essential that we focus on elementary and secondary schools, as well as our institutions of higher education."
  • "I raise these points to remind us that this is still capitalism, and that makes a difference to our daily lives, and to the lives not only of those students who are at our universities now, but also to the lives of people who may venture into those buildings later on."


  Critical Theorists: Michael Apple Values & Politics Denunciation Reproduction, Contestation & Curriculum Power/Knowledge/Pedagogy  

    Learning in Schools Cultural Capital & Official Knowledge An Interview with Michael Apple Other Sites Online  
Updated: 06/03/04
Laurie Williams