The article is thoughtful, but the conclusion hinges critically on something I think is wildly incorrect: https://medium.com/technology-and-society/2f1fe84c5c9b
"Most tech people don’t think of it this way, but the fact that most of them wear jeans all the time is just another example of cultural capital, an arbitrary marker that’s valued in their habitus [peer group], both to delineate it and to preserve it. Jeans are arbitrary, as arbitrary as ties. As arbitrary as the arcane and technical code people in my social circles would compete with each other to write during my teen years. C programmers trumped Visual Basic programmers, who were then trumped by Assembly programmers. Assembly programmers competed among themselves, and boasted writing directly in Hexadecimal rather than in Assembly language. People used DOS Debug to directly enter programs rather than using a text editor, or deliberately used the more low-level, cumbersome, interrupt 13 rather than interrupt 21 to do disk operations. If it makes no sense to you, it’s not important, because the point wasn’t what sense they made, but how they delineated community. Like most things about human life, they were primarily about community, status and peer interactions."
In social theory (especially French social theory?) it seems okay to freely and casually assume that all social behavior is just cues, just symbols. This paragraph, and everything after it, assumes these social cues have no real meaning, that they are as arbitrary as the stars on Sneeches' bellies.
But caring about C or Visual Basic is not arbitrary, it isn't just a game. It is the act of being actively engaged with a craft. And yes, that engagement is a social cue. But it is a social cue that you are passionate about something specific.
Jocks wear the jerseys of their favorite sports teams, and talk about the game last night – and caring about sports makes you a better athlete,
they aren't just putting stars on their bellies.
If all this exclusion was just people holding dearly to their symbolic social capital then by shear force of will we could fix it. But social capital is not just symbolic. Cultural literacy within a domain might seem like the most symbolic aspect of our social sorting – familiarity with the terminology and history. And sure it's an asshole response to look down on someone who misuses terminology or is ignorant of history. But having a kind heart, though certainly admirable, will not erase the separation.