Becoming a researcher: forms of capital associated with “research capacity” trajectories of young British social anthropologists

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The paper privileges the voices of British social anthropologists examining their perceptions of how their research expertise was acquired. Reference is made to the case of education research in Britain, which, by comparison with social anthropology, reveals limited capacity as measured through performance audits of scientific research quality. The paper endeavours to facilitate knowledge transfer by uncovering and theoretically classifying the origins of research capacity. Life history interviews provide the data which illuminate the grounded nature of symbolic capital. The intellectual formation of the sample is characterised through Pierre Bourdieu’s theorisation of symbolic capital. The results indicate that research capacity can be characterised in terms of a transmission of symbolic capital, including that gained in the field through institutional affiliations whose reputational assets enhance the power of academics to play the game.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1249-1270
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
Issue number10
Early online date6 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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