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CULTURAL CAPITAL AND VISUAL ARTS Elizabeth Silva PowerPoint Presentation
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  2. Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion: A critical investigationESRC funded Mar 2003 Mar 2006Tony Bennett, Mike Savage, Elizabeth Silva and Alan Warde

  3. Web site address for CCSE • Details and some publication, as well as publication list can be found at: •

  4. the project: 1. our research questions 2. our methods, and some procedures, of investigation 3. some of our analytical procedures in connection to these methods and procedures

  5. 1. to assess whether we can detect cultural capital in contemporary Britain. If so, what form does it take? • 2. to consider whether different cultural fields are explored along similar principles. If so, what is the nature of these similarities? • 3. to what extent we can see a process of socio-cultural reproduction in existence in contemporary Britain. If so, how ‘open’ are the cultural hierarchies to outsiders and the upwardly mobile?

  6. Focus groups • 25 focus-group discussions between 4 and 8 participants per group, involving a total of 143 participants, including 74 women and 69 men. • between March and July 2003 • a diversity of social backgrounds: middle-class and working-class groups - African-Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and white - different groups of specific occupational statuses - professionals (male and female), managers, landowners and farm managers, agricultural workers, skilled and unskilled workers, and the unemployed – class, age, gays and lesbians • 6 areas in the UK

  7. The survey • November 2003 and March 2004 • applied to a nationwide representative sample of adults (18+) resident in Britain • 1,781 respondent: main sample 1564, ethnic boost sample 227 (Indian, Pakistani and African-Caribbean) • questions asked – grouped under 29 different headings

  8. Household interviews + observation • 44 - Sep 2004 and Mar 2005 - 28 survey respondents, 2 from focus groups + partners = 14 partnered interviewees. • theoretical sample: (i) cultural capital composition, (ii) the presence/absence of dependent children, (iii) geographical location, (iv) division between ‘white’ and minority ethnic composition and (v) types of households • 7 themes: (1) housing, (2) kind of job/work, (3) cultural capital and leisure activities in selected fields, (4) involvement in household activities, (5) ideals of style/ appearance and desire for social position, (6) visual exploration of taste, (7) embarrassing situation • observation and participation notes - location, housing, garden, decoration, collections, furniture, dress and comportment + rapport

  9. Elite interviews • April and July 2005 • eleven people - positions of particular prominence in business, politics, or other professions • Template based on the household partner interview + observation and participation notes

  10. Multiple Correspondence Analysis • plotting people’s cultural preferences in Euclidian space • graphically represent an unusually wide range of cultural tastes and practices • method is ‘inductive’ and ‘descriptive’ and does not presuppose any particular ordering of practices will be found

  11. MCA – highlights: • the cultural maps we produce do not smuggle assumptions about the social determinants of taste into them • once we have constructed our cultural map, we are able to superimpose social categories onto it • we can also locate every single individual in our survey uniquely - we can link our qualitative interviews to the cultural map

  12. MCA - axes • the first axis differentiates on the basis of participation • the second axis distinguishes ‘contemporary/commercial’ from ‘established’ cultural tastes • the third axis distinguishes types of likes and dislikes for mediatised representations of ‘outwards’ pursuits from ’inwards’ ones • the fourth axis distinguishes ‘voracious’ from ‘moderate’ cultural users

  13. MCA - patterns • Firstly, we can see that the four figures do allow us to pull out certain homologies between the fields. • Secondly, what do we make of the fact that the prime division, on our first axis, relates to issues of participation? • Thirdly,our data suggest significant differences in the organization of British contemporary cultural life from that identified by Bourdieu.

  14. Visual Art • In the MCA, visual art is the second most dominant field on axis 1 and by far the greatest contributor to axis 4. • . The intensity of participation in visual art is highly relevant for social position, as shown by the levels of attendance (and of non-attendance) at art galleries and museums by different groups of people, together with indicators of ownership of original and high quality reproductions of art works, all of which were included as modalities in the MCA.

  15. Margaret: …if I put that boat picture up there, like that wouldn’t do anything for my kitchen... I’m sort of trying to get things that would suit my kitchen you know and that does… you know, you have – […] It took me about three or four days to get those pictures for in here [pointing to the wall]. Do you know what I mean, I just didn’t go out and get the first thing that I saw.

  16. Beverley: … I’m not overly keen on modern art, I mean my husband, my current husband is a fully trained artist at university so we have a lot of paintings at home. • Interviewer: That he did or he buys? • Beverley: That he did. I buy paintings - • Interviewer: You do, what sort of painting does he do? What sort of style? • Beverley: He prefers to do watercolours but he can do anything …at various times people have… commissioned him to do something, we have all kinds of different things in the house. • Interviewer: And what sort of paintings do you buy? • Beverley: I have some paintings that I buy, a chap called [name]- ..a-u-h-m, he lives locally but… he sells well all over the UK and he’s a friend of ours… I obviously like the paintings but that’s the other reason why we’ve bought them. • Interviewer: What’s his style? • Beverley: His style is naive. • […] • Interviewer: Is he the only one or is there any other - • Beverley: …My brother who died was very artistic as well and I have some of his work… that was exhibited. […]- we also have a good friend, [name] […] who’s a sculptor so we have some of her wall hangings,… as well.

  17. Cynthia: A great friend who was in the art world, …she was a 19th century expert and through her, I got to like [name]… was… ‘My God!’, and we’ve got one picture of his and that has gone up mad in value as you can imagine, wonderful. […] But the ones I really really like, Turner [...] he was actually a friend of my father’s and I was taken to see his studios and things like that and I’ve got quite a lot of not original [inaudible] tiny little thing when he scribbled something to my father, but that’s about all.

  18. some conclusions • understand the relationship between the structure of taste, knowledge and participation in visual art • individuals positioned predominantly according to possession of cultural capital -- inflections linked to demographic [divisions of gender, age and ethnicity] and biographical patterns • connections between class and cultural practice where the more educated and those in higher occupations prevail • new? - involvement of women and of younger members of ethnic minorities

  19. More Conclusions • Class matters. • Class society continues to transmit privilege across generations. • Divisions between professional, intermediate and working class. • Educational qualifications homogenise the professional class. • Cultural capital as basis of social cohesion within professional class? • No simple distinction between high and popular culture but attendance at Arts performances continues to show hierarchical class gradient.