Social class inequalities in educational attainment: measuring social class using capitals, assets and resources

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Contemporary Social Science


Roxanne Connelly, Vernon Gayle and Chris Playford

Publication date


There is a plethora of measures of social class, and social stratification more widely. Occupation-based measures are most frequently used in social stratification research, although more recently the propriety of such approaches have been questioned. An emerging school of thought advocates the use of more culturally based measures as the most appropriate indicators of an individual’s social class position, an argument predominantly influenced by the work of Bourdieu. In this paper, we evaluate the benefits of a social class measure with a Bourdieusian theoretical foundation compared with an orthodox neo-Weberian occupation-based social class measure, the National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC). First, we assess how closely we can replicate the Bourdieusian social class measure reported in Savage et al. ([2013]. A new model of social class: Findings from the BBC's Great British class survey experiment. Sociology). Second, we aim to compare and contrast the capitals, assets and resources based social class measure with the occupation-based National Statistics Socio-economic Classification, in an analysis of inequalities in school GCSE outcomes.





Social Networks, Young People, Education, Labour Market, Savings And Assets, Social Capital, Arts, Sociology and Social Stratification



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