Among other things, being middle-class is a matter of having access to certain goods and services. It’s not just the house or the car you can buy. This status is also more granular, reflecting refined varieties of knowledge and information: the middle class knows where to send their children to school, where to get medical treatment, child care, career advice or training, or other kinds of help. Perhaps most importantly, class status is about how you even find out about these things to begin with, which again brings us to “cultural capital.”
When I recall “cultural capital,” I think of my favorite theorist from when I was a graduate student, Pierre Bourdieu. Bourdieu theorized that capital extends beyond economics, encompassing credentials, skills, and tastes. Financial capital is convertible — if you have the latter, you can gain cultural capital through education. Then, if you have the former, you can convert that back into even more economic capital through the right social networks.