Thursday, July 6, 2017

1520 schedule

Schedule of Assignments, Tests, and Activities

Week 1
July 10 – Chapter 1
July 11 – Chapter 2
Complete zip code survey
July 12 – Chapter 3
Weekly discussion forum original response due by 5 pm
July 13 – Chapter 4
Weekly discussion forum response to other students’ posts due by 5 pm
Week 2
July 17 – Chapter 5
July 18 – Chapter 6
July 19 – Chapter 7
Weekly discussion forum original response due by 5 pm
July 20 – Exam 1
Exam 1 opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 5 pm
Weekly discussion forum response to other students’ posts due by 5 pm
Week 3
July 24 – Chapter 8
July 25 – Chapter 9
July 26 – Chapter 10
Weekly discussion forum original response due by 5 pm
July 27 – Case Study due by 5 pm
            Weekly discussion forum response to other students’ posts due by 5 pm
Week 4
July 31 – Chapter 11
August 1 – Chapter 12
August 2 – Chapter 13
Weekly discussion forum original response due by 5 pm
August 3 – Exam 2
Exam 2 opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 5 pm
Weekly discussion forum response to other students’ posts due by 5 pm
Week 5
August 7 – Chapter 14
August 8 – Chapter 15
August 9 – Chapter 16
Weekly discussion forum original response due by 5 pm
August 10 – Chapter 17
Weekly discussion forum response to other students’ posts due by 5 pm
Last day to turn in all late work for half credit, due by 5 pm
August 11 – Final Exam

Final Exam opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 5 pm

Monday, April 24, 2017

Review Sheet for Final Exam at 8am Saturday May 6 in our classroom

Sociology of Culture
Prof. Gabe Ignatow

Review Sheet for Final Exam at 8am Saturday May 6 in class:

The final exam will cover the following course readings on the syllabus:

You should be able to define and discuss all of the following terms (this list is not exhaustive):

Symbolic boundaries
Boundary work
Moral boundaries
Cultural boundaries
Socioeconomic boundaries
Cultural specialists
For-profit workers

Musical dislikes
High-status exclusiveness
Educated tolerance
Symbolic racism
Patterned tolerance
Multicultural capital
tolerance line

dominant classes
petite bourdeoisie
difficult and obscure music
popularized “legitimate” music
simple, repetitive structures
passive, absent participation
hierarchies of legitimacy within genres

humor and social class
humor omnivorousness and divided habitus
dissonance and uneasiness
dryness and subtlety
“class racism”

Production of culture
Culture industries
Copyright law
Supply-side explanations
Demand-side explanations
Legal changes
U.S. Copyright Law
Technological changes
45 rpm record

Friday, April 21, 2017

missing lecture notes

Cultural Consumption

DiMaggio and Mukhtar, "Arts Participation as Cultural Capital in the United States" (bottom of page)

Richard Peterson and Roger Kern, "Changing Highbrow Taste: From Snob to Omnivore" (bottom of page)

Snobs and Cultural Omnivores

Richard Peterson and Roger Kern, "Changing Highbrow Tastes: From Snob to Omnivore"

When we read Bourdieu, we may sense that he’s not entirely right when it comes to the contemporary scene. Do ambitious people really sip wine, go to museums, etc to lift their status and distinguish themselves from others?

Isn’t that all a bit too Parisian, and too old?

Peterson and Kern discuss why this “snob model” is right for certain locations and certain historical periods, such as the late 19th century in the United States.

Anglo-Saxons wanted to distinguish themselves from recent immigrants from Italy, Russia, Ireland, Poland, Greece and so on. They wanted to distinguish their “highbrow” culture from immigrants’ “lowbrow” culture.

Sociologists interested in the arts, media, taste, status, high culture and so forth sometimes refer to Bourdieu’s approach as the “snob model”

But the snob model does not seem to capture the tastes and interests of elites in America today. Highly educated American elites today are likely to be involved in a wide range of low-status activities.

Rich white suburban teenagers listen to rap music. College students listen to world music, Latin music, Afro-Caribbean, rap, popular music.

P&K discuss highbrows, snobs, and omnivores.

Highbrows – like elite culture – classical music and opera

Snobs – highbrows who do not participate in lowbrow (cultures of poor marginal groups, such as blacks, youth, isolated rural people) or middlebrow (commercial, mass cultural) activities
– a perfect snob refuses to engage in any lowbrow or middlebrow activities
these are very rare in the USA – a study in Detroit in the 1960s of 1,400 people did not find one perfect snob

you could probably find a few in New York City, certainly in Paris

Omnivores – enjoy a wide range of lowbrow and middlebrow cultural activities

Remember Bethany Bryson’s article on Musical Dislikes -- patterned tolerance and multicultural capital

P&K find that “omnivorousness is replacing snobbishness”

Omnivores do not like everything, but they are open to appreciating everything

In a way it is opposed to snobbishness, which is based on rigid rules of exclusion

Discriminating omnivorousness replacing snobbishness reflects multiculturalism and relativism in society over ethnocentrism

Omnivores appreciate music differently than other people. They do not identify with it.

Why the shift from snobbishness and to omnivorousness

devaluation of snobbishness because of widespread availability of highbrow culture in the media

rising education levels
geographic migration and social class mobility have mixed people holding different tastes

mass media presents lots of cultural materials to many people

value change from group prejudice, supported by racist social science, to tolerance and diversity

art world change from 19th century European scene, where theorists in the European Royal Academies believed that there were absolute standards of beauty and vulgarity

This consensus was swept away by market forces and aesthetic entrepreneurs in the 20th century (impressionists, Picasso, expressionists, minimalists, postmodernists)

Obviously the value of art was a product of its social circumstances, not of the art itself

generational politics  Youth culture has become a viable alternative to “adult” culture

globalization and new elites for whom inclusion and omnivorous is probably a more useful way to create distinction than exclusion and snobbishness.

Bethany Bryson
“Anything But Heavy Metal”: Symbolic Exclusion and Musical Dislikes

Music has many roles in social life, creating solidarities and encouraging political resistance.

People engage with music in many different ways in different areas of life.

Music becomes part of people’s identities, the way they identify themselves and draw closer to or else distance themselves from other groups and individuals.

While social exclusion is a well-understood sociological phenomenon, “symbolic exclusion” is the topic of Bryson’s paper. Symbolic exclusion is, in a word, taste.

Symbolic exclusion is a form of Lamont’s boundary work, the work of drawing lines between ourselves and others so as to establish our place in the social world.

Bryson examines musical exclusion and musical tolerance

From Bourdieu, we expect that elites will behave in a snobbish manner regarding music and musical tastes, excluding, or discriminating against, certain types of lowbrow music

Yet the opposite seems to be true: highly educated people are more musically tolerant than are people with less education, that is they are more open to more different kinds of music

Yet she finds that educated people are more tolerant generally but also very intolerant to low-status music, or music associated with uneducated people, such as country or gospel music in the United States

She calls this patterned tolerance

She refers to multicultural capital


High Status Exclusiveness (wealth, education, occup prestige)→ dislike more genres (not confirmed)

Educated Tolerance Education→ fewer dislikes

Symbolic Racism: Racist Whites will dislike non-white music (confirmed)

Patterned Tolerance: People who dislike few genres will dislike those types of music associated with people with less education

College students don’t listen to, or they say they dislike: heavy metal, rap, gospel, country

There exists a “Tolerance Line” between high-statues cosmopolitanism and low-status group-based cultures.

Atkinson 2011

Examines the omnivore thesis in light of interview data with 55 people from Bristol, UK, ages 18-53, on their life histories and lifestyles

Theoretical background:

Focus is on music; for Bourdieu nothing affirms one’s class...and more infallibly classifies than taste in music.”

The dominant classes: express a taste for difficult and obscure forms of music, particularly classical

The petite bourgeoisie: aspirational, consume popularised forms of legitimate (difficult, classical) music

The dominated: prefer simple, repetitive structures; passive, absent participation

Omnivore thesis: the dominant classes will express a taste for variety and eclecticism, have a ‘cosmopolitan habitus’

Atkinson argues that these dynamics are evident within genres more than between them

There are ‘hierarchies of legitimacy’ within genres:

difficult versus light classical

underground versus pop rap music

In-depth interviews revealed:

  1. the importance of childhood musical experience, particularly learning to play ‘noble’ instruments
  2. a result of boureois parents’ ‘concerted cultivation’ of their children’s leisure time
  3. popular, rock music from their childhoods
    1. still stratified in terms of artistic rather than commercial
      1. e.g. Dylan, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Elvis Costello for the dominant class
      2. Bon Jovi, Shania Twain, Madonna, Eminem, Michael Jackson, Queen for the dominated
      3. The dominated expressed an ‘aversion to the alien’ (classical, abstract intellectual pop is terra incognita)
      4. The dominated expressed a desire for physical release
      5. “Cultural goodwill” of the petite bourgeoisie
        1. Like classical music compilations, film scores

Friedman 2012

Cultural consumption study of humor, which is understudied in sociology.

Is humor class-based? Are elites comedy omnivores?

SNL, Seinfeld, HBO comedy


Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy

Friedman used a survey of British comedy taste from a comedy festival and 24 follow-up interviews.

Only found omnivorousness among the upwardly mobile who had a ‘habitus clive’ or divided habitus.

Omnivorousness was less a purposeful choice than a results of lifecourse trajectories that left respondents with affinities to both lowbrow and highbrow comedy.

These upwardly mobile (first generation college graduates) were neither wholly comfortable with the comedy of their upbringing (too racist, crass) but also lacked the linguistic confidence to convert their new “legitimate” comedy tastes into cultural and social capital.

Combination of aspiration and status anxiety leads to “uneasiness” and “dissonance” due to “contradictory matrices of socialization” (from Bernard Lahire). They often placed themselves in uneasy social situations.

The dominated have an embodied disposition of ‘disinterestedness’ or a ‘disinterested aesthetic’ without emotional or moral “interest” in a work of art.

“culturally privileged respondents used their embodied reserves of cultural capital to read and decode comedy in ways that are knowingly inaccessible to those from less privileged backgrounds.”

Appreciate “dryness” and “subtlety” in humor.

The dominant engaged in what can be called “class racism” in “pathologizing” the dominated via a range of aggressive and disparaging  aesthetic, moral, and political judgments on the basis of lowbrow comedy taste