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Bourdieu’s research found that tastes bring people together with similar backgrounds and dispositions but they also provide a means of demarcation, highlighting inevitable differences between groups. Taste judgments are not merely subjective indicators of personal preferences. They are also a means of classifying the self and others in accordance with wider power relations. Bourdieu’s sociology of taste remains the dominant model in the twenty-first century but it has faced many criticisms and several alternative perspectives have been put forward. Three of them are considered here. The first, which argues that tastes have become omnivorous, provides a challenge to Bourdieu’s perspective while also being to some extent compatible with its general thrust. The second perspective, which is rooted in a new and different sociology of culture, radically challenges Bourdieu’s views on taste. The third considers taste in the context of globalization.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology
Publication statusEarly online - 22 Oct 2020

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