Relationship Between Fashion, Taste And Class

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Fashion, taste, and class Many people have different ideas as to what the role of fashion and taste is, perhaps the most common thought among people today is it functions to express “personal style” or “individuality”. However, four distinct sociologists claim it is has a different, more societal role. Thorstein Veblen in “Dress as an expression of the pecuniary culture” (1899), Pierre Bourdieu in “Taste of Luxury, Taste of Necessity” (1979), Georg Simmel in “Fashion” (1957), and Kate Fox in “Watching the English” (2004) have come to the conclusion that fashion or taste’s role is to express class strata. In this paper, I will synthesize their approaches, simultaneously identifying the reason they converge and diverge. The sociologists can be split into two camps that will make understanding their claims easier. Fox and Simmel belong to the camp that analyzes the different relationships between the class strata and the theory of “imitation”. Whereas, Veblen and Bourdieu look at the behavior of people within each distinct class and focus on their differences. Brought together, their ideas develop a deeper understanding of fashion and taste as an expression of class strata and its limitations. Extending this knowledge to our own modern societies allows us to test their theories and see if fashion and taste still express class strata. The four sociologists agree that the role of fashion, or taste in Bourdieu’s case, is to express social class. For example, Simmel says that

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