Theories Of Taste

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In this essay, I will discuss the cultural relevance of taste and theories that define the certainty of the statement above. Firstly, the concept of taste will be examined, along with the definitions of the terms- agency and structure in accordance to taste. Secondly, an overview of the theoretical framework that supports the definition, presenting some of the main theorists for instance Pierre Bordieu, Herbert J Gans and Colin Campbell who aim to focus on cultural qualifications of taste that challenges and critiques the idea of mass culture as a result of consumer revolution. Thirdly, different aspects of taste enhanced by fashion/cultural related examples and their significance to the theories will be discussed. Finally, I will conclude…show more content…
In his book Distinction: A social critique of the Judgment of Taste (Bourdieu 1984), he conducted extensive research into the taste and preference of different social groups in France in the1960’s, known as the bourgeoises. The role of them had been taken over by “cultural intermediaries” who were certain to have “the importance in deterring the taste patterns for the rest of the society” (Strinati 1995:219). In other words he distinctively describes ways in which classes consume cannot simply be explained by economic inequalities, naming this disposition as “Cultural Capital”. The concept of taste is intractably linked with the notion of discriminations, social hierarchies and making judgements of accepting or rejecting which is a selective preferment. For instance, Bourdieu, who follows a ‘conventional tripartite classification’ refers to the universe of taste as legitimate taste (the taste for legitimate artefacts), middle taste which combines nor minor works in major art forms (‘profit in distinction’) and popular taste represented by choice of ‘light’” (Llyods, page 159). Therefore, this is informed by upbringing and the manner in which we discriminate and choose between good and bad taste is through habitus ‘a system of dispositions’ (David Bell & Joanne Hollows page 6). The idea of “habitus” and “symbolic capital” is reflected on…show more content…
In a television show What Not To Wear is a British Makeover Reality Television show originated by the BBC Two in 2001. Every episode features an "ambush" style confrontation and makeover of a woman, and sometimes a man, who has been nominated by their friends as particularly unfashionable. The subject has their current fashion sense evaluated. With consideration to the space of this reality television show, it is marked as class and taste separates. According to Bourdieu’s theory, habitus is a form of learning which is shaped by the history of an individuals social group. Indeed it embodies a collection of social practices that enhance our taste. ‘Middle class still set the standard of Taste’ (Bell and Hallows, 2006). However, Bourdieu argues that the new middle class are intermediaries who are classified as class makers. According to him, taste still seems to be linked to class and power through judgments in the consumption of power. In this reality television show, new forms of symbolic violence are evident as regards the public humiliation of people and their relegation to an inferior social standing within the social order. For instance, media theorist Angela
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