The Symbolic Economy of Social Capital Drawing from several studies dealing with upper-class sociability (in particular an investigation of Milan’s traditional social clubs and Rotary clubs), this article develops a relational analysis of social capital, i.e. one that is attentive to the distinctive value of the form social capital assumes. Indeed, unequal conditions of accumulation of social capital give rise to a relation of symbolic domination between the different ways of actualizing, maintaining, and representing it. We review the main theories of social capital – from network analysis, to cultural sociology, to attempts at articulating the two. We show how they neglected this relational dimension of their object of study. Finally, we present the heuristic advantages of an approach sensitive to the fact that ways of describing (and legitimizing) social connections are themselves symbolic arms in the accumulation and preservation of social capital.