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Elizabeth Silva
Cultural Capital and Social
   Exclusion: A critical

          ESRC funded
        Mar 2003 Mar 2006

  Tony Bennett, Mike Savage,
 Elizabeth Silva and Alan Warde
   Web site address for CCSE
• Details and some publication, as well as
  publication list can be found at:

the project:

1. our research questions
2. our methods, and some procedures,
  of investigation
3. some of our analytical procedures in
  connection to these methods and
• 1. to assess whether we can detect cultural
  capital in contemporary Britain. If so, what
  form does it take?

• 2. to consider whether different cultural
  fields are explored along similar principles. If
  so, what is the nature of these similarities?

• 3. to what extent we can see a process of
  socio-cultural reproduction in existence in
  contemporary Britain. If so, how ‘open’ are
  the cultural hierarchies to outsiders and the
  upwardly mobile?
                Focus groups
• 25 focus-group discussions
between 4 and 8 participants per group, involving a total of
  143 participants, including 74 women and 69 men.

• between March and July 2003
• a diversity of social backgrounds: middle-class and
  working-class groups - African-Caribbean, Indian,
  Pakistani and white - different groups of specific
  occupational statuses - professionals (male and female),
  managers, landowners and farm managers, agricultural
  workers, skilled and unskilled workers, and the
  unemployed – class, age, gays and lesbians
• 6 areas in the UK
              The survey
• November 2003 and March 2004
• applied to a nationwide representative
  sample of adults (18+) resident in Britain
• 1,781 respondent: main sample 1564,
  ethnic boost sample 227 (Indian, Pakistani
  and African-Caribbean)
• questions asked – grouped under 29
  different headings
Household interviews + observation
• 44 - Sep 2004 and Mar 2005 - 28 survey respondents, 2
  from focus groups + partners = 14 partnered

• theoretical sample: (i) cultural capital composition, (ii)
  the presence/absence of dependent children, (iii)
  geographical location, (iv) division between ‘white’ and
  minority ethnic composition and (v) types of households

• 7 themes: (1) housing, (2) kind of job/work, (3) cultural
  capital and leisure activities in selected fields, (4)
  involvement in household activities, (5) ideals of style/
  appearance and desire for social position, (6) visual
  exploration of taste, (7) embarrassing situation

• observation and participation notes - location,
  housing, garden, decoration, collections, furniture, dress
  and comportment + rapport
           Elite interviews
• April and July 2005
• eleven people - positions of particular
  prominence in business, politics, or other
• Template based on the household partner
  interview + observation and participation
 Multiple Correspondence Analysis
• plotting people’s cultural preferences in
  Euclidian space
• graphically represent an unusually wide
  range of cultural tastes and practices
• method is ‘inductive’ and ‘descriptive’ and
  does not presuppose any particular
  ordering of practices will be found
          MCA – highlights:
• the cultural maps we produce do not
  smuggle assumptions about the social
  determinants of taste into them
• once we have constructed our cultural
  map, we are able to superimpose social
  categories onto it
• we can also locate every single individual
  in our survey uniquely - we can link our
  qualitative interviews to the cultural map
              MCA - axes
• the first axis differentiates on the basis of
• the second axis distinguishes
  ‘contemporary/commercial’ from
  ‘established’ cultural tastes
• the third axis distinguishes types of likes
  and dislikes for mediatised representations
  of ‘outwards’ pursuits from ’inwards’ ones
• the fourth axis distinguishes ‘voracious’
  from ‘moderate’ cultural users
Axis 1(λ1=0.1626): Cultural Engagement: involvement and

Black: participation modalities
Red: taste modalities
Axis 2 (λ2=0.1180): Contemporary Taste : the established and the

Black: participation modalities
Red: taste modalities
Axis 3 (λ3=0.0727): Vicarious Sympathies : hard and soft

Black: participation modalities
Red: taste modalities
Bold: modalities contributing most to variance on the axis (>2)
Axis 4: (λ2=0.0629) Cultural Enthusiasm: moderation and voraciousness

Black: participation modalities
Red: taste modalities
            MCA - patterns
• Firstly, we can see that the four figures do
  allow us to pull out certain homologies
  between the fields.
• Secondly, what do we make of the fact
  that the prime division, on our first axis,
  relates to issues of participation?
• Thirdly, our data suggest significant
  differences in the organization of British
  contemporary cultural life from that
  identified by Bourdieu.
                  Visual Art
• In the MCA, visual art is the second most
  dominant field on axis 1 and by far the greatest
  contributor to axis 4.
• . The intensity of participation in visual art is
  highly relevant for social position, as shown by
  the levels of attendance (and of non-attendance)
  at art galleries and museums by different groups
  of people, together with indicators of ownership
  of original and high quality reproductions of art
  works, all of which were included as modalities
  in the MCA.
Selected cultural activities by three social classes (percentage for each class)

                         Professional   Intermediate    Working     All
                            class           class        class
More than 5 hours TV          8              22           33         24
per weekday
Once a year or less to        33             52            62        53
Never go to musicals          19             35            60        31
Read no books last            8              14            27        19
Sometimes goes to             10              4            3         5
Sometimes goes to             22             12            7         12
orchestral concerts
Never goes to                 42             64            80        67
orchestral concerts
Sometimes goes to             21             20            23        22
Never go to museums           15             33           50         39
Never goes to art             30             52           69.        55
Goes to pub at least          29             29            30        29
once a week
Soap operas favourite         10             16            22        17
TV programmes
News/current affairs          24             19            14        18
favourite TV
• Margaret: …if I put that boat picture up
  there, like that wouldn’t do anything for my
  kitchen... I’m sort of trying to get things
  that would suit my kitchen you know and
  that does… you know, you have – […] It
  took me about three or four days to get
  those pictures for in here [pointing to the
  wall]. Do you know what I mean, I just
  didn’t go out and get the first thing that I
• Beverley: … I’m not overly keen on modern art, I mean my
  husband, my current husband is a fully trained artist at university so
  we have a lot of paintings at home.
• Interviewer: That he did or he buys?
• Beverley: That he did. I buy paintings -
• Interviewer: You do, what sort of painting does he do? What sort of
• Beverley: He prefers to do watercolours but he can do anything
  …at various times people have… commissioned him to do
  something, we have all kinds of different things in the house.
• Interviewer: And what sort of paintings do you buy?
• Beverley: I have some paintings that I buy, a chap called [name]-
  ..a-u-h-m, he lives locally but… he sells well all over the UK and he’s
  a friend of ours… I obviously like the paintings but that’s the other
  reason why we’ve bought them.
• Interviewer: What’s his style?
• Beverley: His style is naive.
• […]
• Interviewer: Is he the only one or is there any other -
• Beverley: …My brother who died was very artistic as well and I
  have some of his work… that was exhibited. […]- we also have a
  good friend, [name] […] who’s a sculptor so we have some of her
  wall hangings,… as well.
• Cynthia: A great friend who was in the art
  world, …she was a 19th century expert
  and through her, I got to like [name]…
  was… ‘My God!’, and we’ve got one
  picture of his and that has gone up mad in
  value as you can imagine, wonderful. […]
  But the ones I really really like, Turner [...]
  he was actually a friend of my father’s and
  I was taken to see his studios and things
  like that and I’ve got quite a lot of not
  original [inaudible] tiny little thing when he
  scribbled something to my father, but
  that’s about all.
           some conclusions
• understand the relationship between the
  structure of taste, knowledge and participation in
  visual art
• individuals positioned predominantly according
  to possession of cultural capital -- inflections
  linked to demographic [divisions of gender, age
  and ethnicity] and biographical patterns
• connections between class and cultural practice
  where the more educated and those in higher
  occupations prevail
• new? - involvement of women and of younger
  members of ethnic minorities
          More Conclusions
• Class matters.
• Class society continues to transmit privilege
  across generations.
• Divisions between professional, intermediate
  and working class.
• Educational qualifications homogenise the
  professional class.
• Cultural capital as basis of social cohesion
  within professional class?
• No simple distinction between high and
  popular culture but attendance at Arts
  performances continues to show hierarchical
  class gradient.

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