Journal of Social Sciences

Cultural Capital and Performance in Medical Education

Karin Darin

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2012.397.406

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 8, Issue 3

Pages 397-406


Prior research has found that students from higher social classes generally perform at higher levels in education than other students. A common explanation is that these students hold higher volumes of inherited and acquired cultural capital. However, research on the performance of students in specific fields of education is scarce and thus we know little about the variations between fields of education. Since faculties differ in their teaching and evaluation methods, we could expect the performance of groups holding higher and lower volumes of cultural capital to differ between them. The purpose of this study is to create an understanding of the performance of students within the medical field of education in France. The study is based on a longitudinal dataset (1999-2008) and Specific Multiple Correspondence Analysis is used as statistical method. Main finding is that the inherited and acquired cultural capital is important for level of performance during the students’ initial years of medical education, while the acquired cultural capital alone is important during the later years. The results suggest that the lack of inherited cultural capital in some cases and to a certain extent, can be compensated for by acquired cultural capital.


© 2012 Karin Darin. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.