Cultural capital and academic achievement in post-socialist Eastern Europe

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38 Scopus citations


Using the 2000 and 2009 waves of Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) data, we examined the relationships between family socio-economic status (SES), cultural capital, and reading achievement among students in five post-socialist Eastern European countries while comparing the findings with three Western bench-marking countries. Findings: In all studied countries, higher-SES students possessed higher levels of cultural capital and exhibited higher reading achievement. Cultural capital was uniformly positively associated with reading achievement. We found the least stratification by SES in Russia both in the distribution of cultural capital and reading achievement. The findings provide no evidence of the overall decline of the importance of cultural capital over time; most of the associations between cultural capital measures and reading achievement remained stable across the waves. Between-country variation in the findings does not indicate East–West divide (with the exception of Russia).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-907
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 18 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


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