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October 04 , 2007

Social Status and Cultural Consumption


How does cultural hierarchy relate to social hierarchy? Do the more advantaged consume ǃÚhigh' culture, while the less advantaged consume popular culture? Or has cultural consumption in contemporary societies become individualised to such a degree that there is no longer any social basis for cultural consumption? Leading scholars from the UK, the USA, Chile, France, Hungary and the Netherlands systematically examine the social stratification of arts and culture. They evaluate the ǃÚclassǃÏculture homology argument' of Pierre Bourdieu and Herbert Gans; the ǃÚindividualisation arguments' of Anthony Giddens, Ulrich Beck and Zygmunt Bauman; and the ǃÚomnivoreǃÏunivore argument' of Richard Peterson. They also demonstrate that, consistent with Max Weber's classǃÏstatus distinction, cultural consumption, as a key element of lifestyle, is stratified primarily on the basis of social status rather than by social class.

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