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The Reproduction of Symbolic Capital: Language, State, and Class in Egypt1

The relationships between the state, the dominant classes, and symbolic capital are neither linear nor timeless. Official/standard languages, for example, are commonly thought to represent the speech of the dominant classes, and states are said to seek hegemony over these languages. What happens, however, when institutions besides the state make successful claims to control over these languages? What happens when the choice of an official language is not guided by the speech habits of the dominant classes? What becomes of the relationship between the official language and the dominant classes when proficiency in a foreign language rather than the official language earns the highest rewards? These questions prove central to a critique of Bourdieu's notions about linguistic exchange and its relation to cultural capital.