Social reproduction is a concept originally proposed by Karl Marx in Capital, and is a variety of his broader idea of reproduction. According to sociologist Christopher B. Doob, it “refers to the emphasis on the structures and activities that transmit social inequality from one generation to the next”. There are four types of capital that contributes to social reproduction in society. They are financial capital, cultural capital, human capital, and social capital.
Four Types of Capital
Financial capital refers to the income and wealth of a person. Financial capital will influence the cultural capital one receives. Cultural capital is the shared outlook, beliefs, knowledge, and skills that are passed between generations. Cultural capital influences Human capital, which refers to the education and job training a person receives. Human capital creates the ability for one to attain social capital, which is essentially the social network to which one belongs. Social capital can largely influence one’s ability to find an internship or job.
All four forms of capital play a role in social reproduction because capital is passed from generation to generation and keeps people in the same social class as their parents before them. This keeps reproducing inequality through the system of social stratification.
- Doob, Christopher B. 2013. Social Inequality and Social Stratification in US Society. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 978-0205792412