Sociology, aesthetics and 'bad taste'

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What is bad taste? Who is considered to have bad taste? Commonsense notions of taste maintain that some people have been born with a gift to understand beauty. Others lack this gift and are thought to have bad taste, and this bad taste is sometimes linked to a lack of morals just as good taste is associated with virtue. Sociologists have a quite different take on taste, arguing that it is rooted in our class backgrounds and is relational. Through our tastes, we align ourselves with certain people; we differentiate ourselves from others. In this paper, which will include reference to contemporary debates about sociology, aesthetics and taste, the following questions will be considered: to what extent is ‘bad taste’ synonymous with the tastes of the least powerful? How can social justice be assisted by the identification of offensive forms of ‘bad taste’? How do people define and categorize ‘bad taste’? Judgements of bad taste have social consequences and this lecture will explore these in relation to wider debates about cultural value.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015
Event12th European Sociological Association Conference - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 25 Aug 201528 Aug 2015


Conference12th European Sociological Association Conference
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


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