Genres, Objects, and the Contemporary Expression of Higher-Status Tastes
Are contemporary higher-status tastes inclusive, exclusive, or both? Recent work suggests that the answer likely is both. And yet, little is known concerning how configurations of such tastes are learned, upheld, and expressed without contradiction. We resolve this puzzle by showing the affordances of different levels of culture (i.e., genres and objects) in the expression of tastes. We rely on original survey data to show that people of higher status taste differently at different levels of culture: more inclusively for genres and more exclusively for objects. Inclusivity at the level of genres is fostered through familial socialization, and exclusivity at the level of objects is fostered through formal schooling. Individuals’ taste configurations are mirrored in and presumably reinforce their adult social-structural positions. The results have important implications for understanding the subtle maintenance of status in an increasingly diverse and putatively meritocratic society.
Childress, C; Baumann, S; Rawlings, CM; Nault, JF
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