Fig. 1 The statistical scope in terms of classifications and statistical sources of the framework for cultural statistics source, ESS-Net Report 2012, fig. 6
The individual level: Why is cultural capital important? “ the transmission of cultural capital is no doubt the best hidden form of hereditary transmission of capital, and it therefore receives disproportionately greater weight in the system of reproduction strategies, as the direct, visible forms of transmission tend to be more strongly censored and controlled ” (Bourdieu 1986, p. 246).
Bourdieu’s distinctions Embodied: acquired and transmitted through socialization Objectified: “cultural goods” that may bought, sold and transferred Institutionalized : academic or professional credentials
Not only education Institutionalized cultural capital has been much more studied than the other two: see social stratification/social mobility studies and also studies of the impact of family of origin on children’s educational achievement and professional outcomes (e.g. PISA and others) But increasing attention for other aspects of parental culture (embodied capital) that have an impact on children’s development also in view of designing policies to offset social disadvantages.
Also increasing attention for the impact of embodied cultural capital on individual well- being Psychological Physical --- also with an impact on welfare expenditure (e.g. in health)
Two methodological caveats, however intercultural differences shape different perceptions/experiences of well-being, in that cultural variation affects cultural meanings of happiness, the motivational basis of happiness, and the predictors themselves of happiness. What activities may be defined “cultural participation”, and how to account for the impact of technological development in blurring the boundaries between participation and production (see “culture 3.0”)?
The ESS.NER Proposal: four kinds of cultural participation information ( to seek, collect and spread information on culture) communication and community ( to interact with others on cultural issues and to participate in cultural networks) enjoyment and expression ( to enjoy exhibitions, art performances and other forms of cultural expression, to practice the arts for leisure, and to create online content) transaction ( to buy art and to buy or reserve tickets for shows). - Are there enough comparative data for all these dimensions and for all countries?
The societal level work on how to define culture at the societal level for the purpose of collecting comparable data has been developed systematically under the impulse of several international organizations and authorities, such as the Council of Europe, UNESCO, OECD, WIPO and more recently the EU, first via the European pilot group on cultural statistics, known under the acronym ‘ LEG-Culture ’ Leadership Group Culture and then via the already mentioned European Statistical System Network on Culture – ESS-Net
What is culture? And what for? “Culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs”. ESS-Net/UNESCO culture is an important asset for economic and social growth and for social cohesion
10 domains (i.e. “ a set of practices, activities or cultural products centred on a group of expressions recognized as artistic ones ” ) Heritage Archives Libraries Book and Press Visuals Arts Performing Arts Audiovisual and Multimedia Architecture Advertising Arts crafts.
Metodological and conceptual issues Risk of incurring in a tautology: culture is what is acknowledged as such (furthermore, themere might be corss country variations in what is acknowledged as “culture”, then what happens to comparability?) Risk that “neutrality” in assessing what is artistic or what is heritage, what are “shared values” etc., actually hides past and present intra-country power relations and conflicts
Concluding remarks We do need capital accounts for culture at the individual and societal level, since cultural activities are part of individual and social wealth, but being aware that cultural capital may be both a dimension of social inequality and an individual and social asset towards well-being, sustainability and innovation. Finding indicators that are not simply inventories of all possible spheres of cultural activities and goods, but represent strategic assets, that mobilize individual and social resources, is no simple endeavour. Beyond the obvious indicator of education, those concerning different modes of cultural participation and those concerning the ways societies promote it deserve particular attention.