The 's Musical Taste During The Decade Of 1982 And 1983 Essay

The 's Musical Taste During The Decade Of 1982 And 1983 Essay

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According to Bourdieu, knowledge of highbrow culture increases with the level of education and social status, and the more highbrow one is, the more he/she is likely to reject lowbrow culture as vulgarity. In other words, people with higher education are more likely to be cultural exclusive.

Peterson and Kern, however, find a tendency of increasing “omnivorousness” in highbrow’s musical taste during the decade of 1982 and 1983. That is, highbrows reported liking more lowbrow genres, which consists of country music, bluegrass, gospel, rock and blues in their study, in 1983 than they did ten years before. This finding contradicts with Bourdieu’s idea of higher status leading to more cultural exclusiveness, or “snobbishness”. Peterson and Kern argue that “omnivorousness” in taste, as opposed to “snobbishness”, does not mean to assign equal amounts of preference to every genre liked, but rather an open attitude towards a wide range of genres. They argue that the reason for this transformation is due to a change in symbolic boundaries between status-groups. Symbolic boundaries, a concept proposed by Emile Durkheim, are lines people draws among themselves to form conceptually distinct groups and categories in order to understand one’s position in the society and relations with other people. Peterson and Kern suggest that, instead of the abolishment of distinctions, the increasing “omnivorousness” is a new way of drawing symbolic boundaries between highbrows and non-highbrows. The fundamental difference lies not in the expression of preference but in the content of preference. To be specific, the ways in which highbrows and non-highbrows respectively appreciate a particular genre are different. For example, a highbrow may express prefe...


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... capital, which is a set of beliefs, institutions, and capabilities inherited from the family that ensures privilege in society. Cultural capital could at some point guarantees one’s entrance to a privileged social group that has access to exclusive social relations and resources, thereby transferred to social capital. Accordingly, Bryson argues that multicultural capital could be considered as a form of cultural capital that marks one’s high status through holding cultural knowledge that is unevenly distributed among educational levels. Furthermore, linking the last factor Peterson and Kern identify as the driving force of “omnivorousness”, multicultural capital is more easily transferred to useful social capital in the global market. Again, Bryson proves that omnivorous taste reinforces existing social and cultural hierarchy that privileges the high-status people.

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