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Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste

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Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

No judgement of taste is innocent. In a word, we are all snobs. Pierre Bourdieu brilliantly illuminates this situation of the middle class in the modern world. France's leading sociologist focusses here on the French bourgeoisie, its tastes and preferences. Distinction is at once a vast ethnography of contemporary France and a dissection of the bourgeois mind.

In the course of everyday life people constantly choose between what they find aesthetically pleasing and what they consider tacky, merely trendy, or ugly. Bourdieu bases his study on surveys that took into account the multitude of social factors that play a part in a Frenchperson's choice of clothing, furniture, leisure activities, dinner menus for guests, and many other matters of taste. What emerges from his analysis is that social snobbery is everywhere in the bourgeois world. The different aesthetic choices people make are all distinctions-that is, choices made in opposition to those made by other classes. Taste is not pure. Bourdieu finds a world of social meaning in the decision to order bouillabaisse, in our contemporary cult of thinness, in the "California sports" such as jogging and cross-country skiing. The social world, he argues, functions simultaneously as a system of power relations and as a symbolic system in which minute distinctions of taste become the basis for social judgement.

The topic of Bourdieu's book is a fascinating one: the strategies of social pretension are always curiously engaging. But the book is more than fascinating. It is a major contribution to current debates on the theory of culture and a challenge to the major theoretical schools in contemporary sociology.

Synopsis:

Distinction is at once a vast ethnography of contemporary France and a dissection of the bourgeois mind. Bourdieu's subject is the study of culture, and his objective is most ambitious: to provide an answer to the problems raised by Kant's Critique of Judgment by showing why no judgment of taste is innocent.

Table of Contents

Preface to the English-Language Edition

Introduction

PART I A SOCIAL CRITIQUE OF THE JUDGEMENT OF TASTE

1. The Aristocracy of Culture

The Titles of Cultural Nobility

Cultural Pedigree

PART II THE ECONOMY OF PRACTICES

2. The Social Space and Its Transformations

Class Condition and Social Conditioning

A Three-Dimensional Space

Reconversion Strategies

3. The Habitus and the Space of Life-Styles

The Homology between the Spaces

The Universes of Stylistic Possibles

4. The Dynamics of the Fields

The Correspondence between Goods Production and Taste Production

Symbolic Struggles

PART III CLASS TASTES AND LIFE-STYLES

5. The Sense of Distinction

The Modes of Appropriation of the Work of Art

The Variants of the Dominant Taste

The Mark of Time

Temporal and Spiritual Powers

6. Cultural Goodwill

Knowledge and Recognition

Education and the Autodidact

Slope and Thrust

The Variants of PetitBourgeois Taste

The Declining Petite Bourgeoisie

The Executant Petite Bourgeoisie

The New Petite Bourgeoisie

From Duty to the Fun Ethic

7. The Choice of the Necessary

The Taste for Necessity and the Principle of Conformity

The Effects of Domination

8. Culture and Politics

Selective Democracy

Status and Competence

The Right to Speak

Personal Opinion

The Modes of Production of Opinion

Dispossession and Misappropriation

Moral Order and Political Order

Class Habirus and Political Opinions

Supply and Demand

The Political Space

The Specific Effect of Trajectory

Political Language

Conclusion: Classes and Classifications

Embodied Social Structures

Knowledge without Concepts

Advantageous Attributions

The Classification Struggle

The Reality of Representation and the Representation of Reality

Postscript: Towards a 'Vulgar' Critique of 'Pure' Critiques

Disgust at the 'Facile'

The 'Taste of Reflection' and the 'Taste of Sense'

A Denied Social Relationship

Parerga and Paralipomena

The Pleasure of the Text

Appendices

1. Some Reflections on the Method

2. Complementary Sources

3. Statistical Data

4. Associations: A Parlour Game

Notes

Credits

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674212770
Translator:
Nice, Richard
Author:
Nice, Richard
Author:
Bourdieu, Pierre
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge, Mass.
Subject:
History
Subject:
Sociology - General
Subject:
Civilization
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Sociology - Social Theory
Subject:
France
Subject:
Europe - General
Subject:
Social conditions
Subject:
Social classes
Subject:
Aesthetics, French
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
33, pt. 1
Publication Date:
January 1984
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
20 halftones, 13 line illustrations, 55
Pages:
640
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 30 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Europe » France » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General

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Product details 640 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674212770 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Distinction is at once a vast ethnography of contemporary France and a dissection of the bourgeois mind. Bourdieu's subject is the study of culture, and his objective is most ambitious: to provide an answer to the problems raised by Kant's Critique of Judgment by showing why no judgment of taste is innocent.
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