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Scholarly Culture and Occupational Success in 31 Societies

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For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Prior research shows that coming from a book-oriented family is a great advantage for children’s education, especially for the “ordinary success” of children from disadvantaged families. Focusing on the next career stage, our multi-level analysis (58,944 respondents in 31 societies) shows that it furthers children’s later occupational career even more than parents’ education or occupation, especially in developing nations where there is a small additional advantage beyond the educational gains. This evidence supports the scholarly culture hypothesis that book-oriented socialization provides a “toolkit” of competencies, skills, and knowledge (Kohn, Spaeth). It is not consistent with elite closure/cultural capital theories that elites use cultural signals to recognize members and hoard advantages by discriminating on the basis of culture (Bourdieu, Goblot).

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Social Psychology Program, and Applied Statistics Program, University of Nevada ; 2: International Survey Center; Department of Sociology and Social Psychology Program, University of Nevada ; 3: School of Sociology, Australian National University ; 4: Department of Sociology and California Center for Population Research, University of California Los Angeles


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