Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Roderick Graham

Committee Member

Jeehye Kang

Committee Member

Melvina Sumter


Education in the United States is directly tied to social mobility for students with low socioeconomic status. The fact that these same students are less likely to succeed academically and that the interaction between cultural capital (knowledge, skills, mannerisms, etc.) and habitus (dispositions and attitudes) are understudied has led to the formulation of this study. This study looks to identify a mechanism that can be leveraged by low SES students for educational attainment. This research will follow an exploratory, cross-sectional design, that will use quantitative methods to examine the influence that cultural capital and habitus on low income student academic achievement. There are 3 research questions that guide this study: What is the relationship between participating in cultural activities (cultural capital) and academic achievement? What is the relationship between the parenting activities of the child (habitus) and academic achievement? Do low income students benefit more from cultural capital and habitus than higher income students?

Results show that doing things like attending school events, school meetings, PTA meetings, parent teacher conferences, participating in fundraisers, school committees, and volunteering will have a significant positive effect on the academic achievement of disadvantaged students, and that low income students have more to gain from habitus than their higher income counterparts.


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