Cultural resources and cultural distinction in networks
© 2014 Elsevier B.V. Though both cultural tastes and social networks have been of interest to sociologists for more than 25 years, investigations of the role that tastes play in shaping networks are relatively new. This paper follows recent research that considers the relationship between culture and social structure by focusing on the mechanism at work in the cultural matching process. We use the Cambridge College Network Dataset, a panel study of all graduate students who enrolled in one of the colleges at the University of Cambridge in the 2008-2009 academic year, to investigate how musical tastes influence relationship development. Our analyses yield two major findings: first, the shared non-consumption of musical genres is as important as the shared consumption of musical genres; and second, musical tastes are only associated with the formation and maintenance of strong relationships rather than of relationships in general. These findings suggest that an understanding of cultural tastes as "skills" is incomplete and that an understanding of cultural tastes as a "system of distinctions" matters for understanding the development of social relationships.
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