Academic journal article Development and Society

Omnivorous Consumer or Omnivorous Producer?: Patterns of Cultural Participation in Korea *

Academic journal article Development and Society

Omnivorous Consumer or Omnivorous Producer?: Patterns of Cultural Participation in Korea *

Article excerpt

Studies on cultural omnivores have focused on consumption activities, largely overlooking cultural production activities. However, consumption and production activities are both essential fields of cultural participation. Through the use of comprehensive data about cultural consumption and production activities, this study attempts to explore patterns of cultural participation in Korea. It also investigates the determinants of these different patterns. Four major findings resulted from the study. First, four different types of cultural participation were derived: omnivorous prosumers, omnivorous consumers, omnivorous producers, and univores. Second, members of the new middle class, with higher educational levels and higher household incomes, are more likely to be omnivorous consumers or omnivorous prosumers. Third, demographic factors such as gender and age also have effects on the patterns of cultural participation in Korea. Lastly, it was revealed that the larger an individual's social network, the greater the probability of being a cultural omnivore of any type. This study contributes to the expansion of the boundaries of prior discussions on cultural omnivores.

Keywords: cultural participation, cultural consumption, cultural production, omnivore

Introduction

Since Bourdieu's (1984) exploration of the association between class and cultural tastes, much of literature has focused on the relationship between a person's position in the social hierarchy and his or her cultural participation. In Korea, there are also many studies dealing with the relationship between social status and cultural capital (e.g. Nam 2008). Through the critical acceptance of Bourdieu's ideas, several researchers have found that people of higher socio-economic status have a wide range of both highbrow and popular cultural tastes (Peterson 1992; Peterson and Kern 1996). The term 'omnivore' was coined to denote a person with a variety of cultural tastes, whereas 'univore' denotes someone whose cultural tastes are narrow. With these new categories, the debate on the association between one's social position and cultural capacities has shifted from an elite-to-mass status hierarchy to one of omnivore-to-univore status (Peterson 1992; Warde, Wright, and Gayo-Cal 2008).

Studies of cultural omnivorousness or cultural variety have been on the rise of late. Thus far, most researchers have relied on measures of cultural preferences or cultural participation in examinations of cultural variety (Lee and Lee 2014). Those using measures of cultural preferences have demonstrated that people of high socio-economic status like diverse cultural activities or genres (Bryson 1996; Peterson and Kern 1996). Meanwhile, those reliant on measures of cultural participation have found that people of a higher status actually participate in a wide range of cultural consumption activities (Chan and Goldthorpe 2007; López-Sintas and Katz-Gerro 2005). Whereas the bulk of the literature on cultural omnivorousness has endeavored to provide empirical evidence in terms of participation in cultural consumption activities, less attention has been given to the field of cultural production activities. However, according to the 'cultural diamond', in order to understand the relationship between society and cultural objects more thoroughly, it is important to consider producers as well as consumers (Griswold 2008). Cultural consumption activities and cultural production activities lie along a continuum, and are not separate social phenomena (Choi and Lee 2012, p. 69). Bourdieu (1984, p. 75) emphasized the importance of cultural production activities by arguing that people who enjoy both performing and listening to music become more familiar with music than those who are mere listeners. DiMaggio and Ostrower (1990) also suggested the necessity of exploring not only the cultural consumption activities of individuals but also people's avocational production activities. In this context, by focusing only on cultural consumption activities, empirical studies on cultural omnivores have led to a limited understanding of cultural capital. …

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