An integral model of cultural reproduction: The case of China

Yifei Lu*, Rosario Scandurra, Xavier Bonal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Existing quantitative studies use various measurements and methods to examine Bourdieu’s theory of cultural reproduction in the field of education. Yet, most studies either misunderstand the concepts involved or only test part of the theory. This article addresses these gaps by using the ‘structure-disposition-practice’ (SDP) framework to develop an integral model of cultural reproduction and it constructs a more precise measurement of habitus. It aims to provide an in-depth empirical understanding of the interrelationships between social position, parents’ and students’ dispositions, practices and field. Using the Chinese Educational Panel Survey (CEPS) the authors apply a structural equation model (SEM) to test their theoretical framework. They compare the cultural reproduction processes for cognitive development and academic achievements of eighth-grade students. The results suggest parents’ and students’ habitus plays a more crucial role than family’s social position in the cultural reproduction process. The study also finds that families’ social position is more important in reproducing students’ cognitive development than in academic achievements in China. The findings provide a quantitative understanding of the cultural reproduction process with relational thinking.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Sociology
Publication statusAccepted in press - 2021


  • Cultural capital
  • educational inequality
  • habitus
  • reproduction
  • SDP framework


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