Experiences with cultural capital in education: Exploring the educational life stories of first-generation postsecondary students


  • Laura Lane Brock University
  • Nancy Taber Brock University


cultural capital, first-generation university students, educational life stories


This article discusses the educational life stories of three first-generation university students’ as relates to cultural capital. Using Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital as a framework, the research sought to examine how the participants experience cultural capital that is typically privileged in education. It explores how the interactions between possessed and privileged forms of capital affect educational experiences and perceptions. A focus on each participant’s experiences with culture, capital, and education revealed themes corresponding to navigating, utilizing, and confronting familial, institutional, economic, social and represented forms of cultural capital. Understanding first-generation students’ educational life stories sheds light on the complex challenges facing those who confront and deal with privileged culture in the education system. This article adds to the growing body of research about cultural capital as relates to first-generation university students and argues for a critical exploration of education through individual experiences.

Author Biographies

Laura Lane, Brock University

PhD student, Faculty of Education

Nancy Taber, Brock University

Associate Professor, Faculty of Education


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How to Cite

Lane, L., & Taber, N. (2012). Experiences with cultural capital in education: Exploring the educational life stories of first-generation postsecondary students. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 24(2). Retrieved from https://cjsae.library.dal.ca/cjsae/article/view/343

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