The nature of spiritual capital

John Lydon

This article explores the extent to which spiritual capital is a critical issue for Catholic schools and ways in which such capital may be strengthened within Catholic school communities. It investigates the background of the term and suggests links with other key concepts such as culture, before surveying potential challenges and opportunities for 21st century Catholic schools. John Lydon lectures in Catholic School Leadership at St Mary?s University College, Twickenham.

In The Forms of Capital,1 Bourdieu begins by arguing for an inclusive rather than a reductionist view of capital, defining the concept as a reality broader than a reserve of wealth in the form of money or property owned by a person or business and human resources of economic value. He suggests that capital presents itself in two further fundamental guises beyond the narrow confines of accumulated pecuniary assets available for use in the production of further monetary assets to embrace social and cultural capital. Bourdieu defines social capital as made up of social obligations (?connections?) which is convertible, in certain conditions, into economic capital thus reflecting a fundamental Bourdieusian belief in an interdependent relationship between the three forms of capital.2

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