Academic journal article New Formations

A Sociology of Culture, Taste and Value

Academic journal article New Formations

A Sociology of Culture, Taste and Value

Article excerpt

Simon Stewart, A Sociology of Culture, Taste and Value, Houndmills, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Today it would be impossible to write a book about cultural sociology and the role of taste and value without devoting considerable space to the work of Pierre Bourdieu. Bourdieu's work, with its repetitive phrasings ('structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structures') and intricate lexicon of interlocking terms (habitus, field, and capital) can become, for some, all-encompassing. For many it offers the most persuasive and complete account of culture as an arena for social reproduction and for taste as 'culture's way of masking domination' (as Antoine Hennion put it). The more difficult task is to find room for other accounts of culture, value and taste once you have let Bourdieu loose.

Simon Stewart's book carefully places Bourdieu at the centre of his account while also allowing room for other accounts of taste and value to circulate. Perhaps most usefully he shows us the limits of Bourdieu's enterprise. Rather than simply rehearse the surface criticisms that have been made of Distinction (that it is dated, only applies to France, and so on), he cuts to what is crucially missing in that book: Bourdieu actually tells us very little about what it feels like to like something. Bourdieu tells us a lot about the difficulty of having the confidence to like opera, for instance, without also having the sort of upbringing that makes that a comfortable possibility. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.