A complementary framework: Funds of knowledge and the forms of capital

Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, Judy Marquez Kiyama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Our interest in examining the relationship between funds of knowledge and the forms of capital started very early in our academic careers. Our scholarship started to highlight the connections between these frameworks, and our interest in understanding these links grew over time. We wrote our initial ideas on the link between these concepts in a paper titled, “Funds of Knowledge for the Poor and Forms of Capital for the Rich?” (Rios-Aguilar, Kiyama, Gravitt, & Moll, 2011). Our article was very well received in various academic circles. Since then, our thinking about these frameworks has evolved, and we feel compelled to offer education scholars (both in K–12 and higher education) a more careful and expanded analysis of these frameworks. The goal of this chapter, then, is to clarify the disciplinary origins of the forms of capital and funds of knowledge, and to highlight the strengths, as well as the tensions, that complicate the understanding and the use of these notions to study issues of equity, power, and pedagogical change in the field of education. Furthermore, we elaborate on important aspects and distinctions that educational researchers must understand and acknowledge when utilizing these concepts. We start by discussing the notion of social capital; we then turn to the concept of cultural capital and include a careful discussion of habitus and field. Next, we present the concept of funds of knowledge. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of how the frameworks can be used collaboratively to assist educational researchers in developing a better understanding of power relations and change in educational institutions. In suggesting a new approach to conduct educational research, we also recognize the need to further understand how, when, and why the concepts are used interchangeably and are often (mis)used. One contribution in this chapter is the early formation of a complementary framework that builds on the strengths of each conceptual framework. However, as we demonstrate in Chapter 3, educational researchers have begun to reference, compare, and/or use 8these frameworks together; therefore, a complementary framework can prove to be useful in the study of educational inequities for marginalized populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFunds of Knowledge in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationHonoring Students' Cultural Experiences and Resources as Strengths
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781315447315
ISBN (Print)9781138213838
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'A complementary framework: Funds of knowledge and the forms of capital'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this