chapter  10
Catholic schools: the renewal of spiritual capital and the critique of the secular world
Pages 5

Bourdieu (1986) has referred to three forms of capital which need to be considered in analysing any educational system, i.e. economic capital, whose effects are mediated by social class inequalities in the lives of students; social capital constituted in different access to supportive social networks; and cultural capital viewed as language, knowledge and ‘style’ differentially available to students in their homes. To this may be added, for the analysis of faith-based schooling systems, the concept of spiritual capital. Spiritual capital is defined here as resources of faith and values derived from commitment to a religious tradition.1 Bourdieu argues that cultural capital is a power resource which can have an existence independently of economic capital2 and this argument can be extended to include spiritual capital. Spiritual capital can be a source of empowerment because it provides a transcendent impulse which can guide judgement and action in the mundane world. Those within education whose own formation has involved the acquisition of spiritual capital do not act simply as professionals but as professionals and witnesses.