“Does cultural capital structure american consumption_” - PowerPoint by malj


									“Does cultural capital
 structure american
     Holt, Douglas B. (1998),
 Journal of Consumer Research;
            June, 25, 1.
          Purpose of Study
• This study examines whether or not Pierre
  Bourdieu’s theory relating levels of cultural
  capital to consumption patterns applies to
  the contemporary United States.
    Bourdieu’s theory of cultural
      capital and taste (1984)
• Social life can be conceived as a multidimensional status
  game in which people draw on 3 different resources to
  compete for status.
   – Economic Capital - Financial resources
   – Social Capital - Relationships, organizational affiliations, networks
   – Cultural Capital -
       • Implicit practical knowledges, skills and dispositions
       • Objectified in cultural objects
       • Institutionalized in official degrees and diplomas that certify the
         existence of the embodied form
       • Status boundaries are reproduced simply through expressing one’s

       *This study reformulates Bourdieu’s theory to focus on
         consumption practices rather than consumption objects and
         on mass rather than high culture.
         Method & Results
• Interpretive empirical study, analyzing a
  series of ethnographic interviews.
• In-home ethnographic interviews
  averaging 1.5 hours in length.
• 20 informants from State College, PA (10
  informants in “lowest quintile” (LCC) and
  10 informants from “high quintile” (HCC))
                   Topic                                            LCC                                                   HCC

           Materiality and Taste                Functional or practical-taste of necessity.    Material value of cultural objects is taken for granted
                                                                                               Taste is a means of self-expression; constructing

       Material vs Formal Aesthetics            Utilitarian Characteristics of house and       Views home as canvas to express aesthetic sensibilities (i.e.
                  - Home                              furnishings                                  decorating).

                  - Clothes                     Durable, comfortable, reasonably prices,       Material quality is a given. Tastes structured by ideas of
                                                    well fitted, and conforming to norms.          what is fashionable.

Critical vs Referential Reception of Cultural   Interpret cultural texts from a referential    Popular entertainment is fiction; show or artistic statement.
                        Texts                        perspective.
                                                Movies are real; music speaks to their life

          Materialism vs Idealism               Good life is having an abundance of things     Emphasize charm and character of the house (rather than
                                                    and those that are “luxurious”.               size).
                                                Large living space and yards.                  Emphasize and value metaphysical aspects of life.

                   Dining                       Local and simple.                              Exotic and different.

              Work and Taste                    Highly routinized jobs.                        Knowledge driven occupations.
                                                                                               Need to maintain leverage in labor market.

           Cosmopolitan vs Local                Strongly favor local things.                   Construct references on national and international basis.
               - Exoticism                      Find comfort in objects that are familiar      Seek out an enjoy exotic objects.

 Consumer Subjectivity as Individuality vs      Consumer subjectivity produced through         Pursue individuality through consumption (unique, original
               Local Identity                       passionate and routinized participation.       style).
                                                Mass produced goods.                           Authentic goods
                                                Traditional items.                             Connoisseurship
                                                                                               Ecclecticism (use of traditional goods incorporated into a
                                                                                                   unique style).

 Leisure as Self Actualization vs Autotelic     Leisure is intrinsic enjoyment.                Leisure is used to learn, achieve and create.
                     Sociality                  Commune with nature.                           Nature is used to express oneself.
• Consumption patterns do vary by cultural capital across a
  variety of dimensions.
• The HCCs tend to like and actively consume a much broader
  range of both popular and high entertainments than LCC.
• HCC consume a wider variety of genres and styles than do
• Materialism is one important mode in which social identities
  are constructed through interaction with the marketplace.
• Cultural elites have their own set of exclusionary practices in
  which they invert materialism to affirm their societal position.
• Bourdieu’s theory suggests that consumption practices are
  used as a basis for affiliation and distinction in everyday
  interaction and so serve to perpetuate social stratification

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