Social Reproduction – Anthía Muñoz
Franklin Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States once said, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; It is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”(1882-1945) Eloquently said president Roosevelt’s statement speaks volumes to the nations inequality as it infiltrates all sectors of life and seeks to maintain social order. The process of societal preservation is more largely known as social reproduction. As defined by sociologist Christopher B. Doobs, social reproduction “refers to the emphasis on the structures and activities that transmit social inequality from one generation to the next” (2013). Within this contextual framework four types of capital arise that contribute to the reproduction of society: financial capital, cultural capital, human capital and social capital.
These forms of capital, referring to resources that aid in the production of goods, therefore play a critical role in social stratification, producing inequality with each new generation. In order to better understand the impact of capital on society we must take a deeper look at the four different types. Financial capital refers to the financial resources that are available to an individual, in which they are granted the privilege of investing in the building of community capacity and the accumulation of wealth. Possessing access to financial capital endows an individual with the power of choice in a capitalistic society. Choices such as where to live, what to eat, and more importantly how to think as financial capital grants access to various social institutions that predict life chances and therefore ultimately influence cultural capital. Choices made early on in life, such as where one attends school, whether private or public, and eventually where the individual attends college or university; both significantly expensive without extensive scholarships and grants and the pristine grades in which are required to receive them contribute to nearly all capitals. Good grades in school also is a byproduct of capital; The more money an individual or family has, the more likely and able the student is to focus on schooling and their studies, further ensuring proper understanding and placement in the course. This trickle-down effect has lasting consequences on nearly all aspects of one’s life.
Each individual enjoys four endowments: Inherited wealth; an immutable social characteristic such as gender, language or ethnicity; time; and an initial stock of social relationships, or inherited social capital. Given these endowments, individuals must choose how to allocate their time between work and social activity, with which social group to invest their social time, and later whether to reciprocate by committing some of their time in a way that would generate benefits for other group members (Mogues et al 2004:6).
Cultural capital can be defined more broadly as a...