Cultural Capital and Social Stratification in Britain. Mike Savage, (Sociology & CRESC), University of Manchester. The fall and rise of class in Britain. During the 1980s and early 1990s, British class analysis becomes increasingly marginalised and loses its way….
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Mike Savage, (Sociology & CRESC), University of Manchester
Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital raises a host of difficult issues….
Most British sociologists have two very different ‘takes’ on Bourdieu:
1. ‘Old-school’ stratification sociologists have generally been critical of Bourdieu but have never systematically sought to measure cultural capital directly
2. British cultural sociologists have emphasised (some) theoretical aspects and not his methodological and empirical endeavours
Tony Bennett, Elizabeth Silva, Alan Warde & I set out to measure cultural capital through emphasising the need to place habitus and cultural capital within the contexts of cultural fields, namelymusic, reading, film, TV, sports, art, leisure, eating out.
Bourdieu sees cultural capital as implicated in the reproduction of class privilege. It involves a distance from ‘everyday life’, and some kind of tension between high and low culture, but there are different forms this might take:..
These definitions relates to different understandings of the middle class. Is there a divide between ‘industrialists’ and ‘intellectuals’, or can we see them united in a broader ‘service class’.
TV – stations watched, programmes (dis)liked, frequency of viewing
Film - genres & 7irectors (dis)liked, frequency of attendance
Music - genres & artists (dis)liked, attendance at musical event
Reading – genres and writers (dis)liked, books read,
Visual arts – genres & artists (dis)liked, works possessed,
Eating out – kind of venues (dis)liked
Embodiment – sport, body modification, clothes, household style
1. (Pre?) define variables which indicate ‘high culture’ and see which groups are predisposed to them? Table 1 indicates some of the predictable relationships that can be delineated in this way…..
1. (Pre?) define variables which indicate ‘high culture’ and see which groups are predisposed to them? Table 1 indicates some of the predictable relationships that can be delineated in this way
age effects are the most powerful
education effects are more powerful than class effects
the middle classes like most genres,
ethnic effects are powerful in several cases
But, lots of odd results, consider Heavy Metal & self employed, Rock music and employers, etc:
2. We don’t get an easy sense of the overall ‘patterning of culture’ through such methods. Therefore we are keen to describe the nature of cultural taste more fully so that we can interpret inductively which cultural practices, if any, are relationally demarcated from others…. Which explains why we turned to ‘Geometric Data Analysis’
….We can read the figures as cultural maps
Table . MCA cloud of individuals: preferences for classical music lit up, axis 1 and 2.
Table . MCA cloud of individuals: frequency of opera attendance lit up, axis 1 and 2.
Professional/managerial, well-educated, young
Routine jobs, poorly educated, young
Professional/managerial, well-educated, older
Routine jobs, poorly educated, older
We can distinguish three main classes: a professional class of 24% of population, an intermediate class of 30% and a large working class, including supervisors and technicians, of 46%
palen 1-2 1 :no education