Document Type


Publication Date



cultural capital, community capitals, shared identity

Extension Number

ExEx 16007


Cultural capital consists of symbols and language, festivals, celebrations, and events. Cultural capital is our shared identity, things that make us a feel like a community. Cultural capital gives each community its own distinctive character. Many communities have festivals celebrating their heritage and events and common community themes. Cultural capital is also formed when communities live through historic events together: for example, the Midwest in the “Dirty ‘30s” or a New York neighborhood following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Cultural capital is part of our identity, our traditions, and our understanding of each other. Cultural capital can be framed by common occupations such as farming and ranching. Cultural capital can also be related to a common attitude: for example, Midwestern people are typically categorized as having strong work ethics and “can-do” attitudes. Everything that shapes our lives—our families, our spirituality, our history, and our ethnicity—is part of our cultural capital.


Updated April 2011