Journal Article

Deconstructing Cultural Omnivorousness 1982–2002: Heterology in Americans' Musical Preferences

Ercilia Garía-Álvarez, Tally Katz-Gerro and Jordi López-Sintas

in Social Forces

Published on behalf of University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Department of Sociology

Volume 86, issue 2, pages 417-443
Published in print December 2007 | ISSN: 0037-7732
Published online December 2007 | e-ISSN: 1534-7605 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/sf/86.2.417
Deconstructing Cultural Omnivorousness 1982–2002: Heterology in Americans' Musical Preferences

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This research examines heterogeneity in Americans' musical tastes by separating breadth and level of taste, taking into account the structural constraints such as cohort, period, social class, gender and racial composition, which have shaped Americans' musical preferences over the past 20 years. We identify four types of respondents who share similar taste patterns that correspond to different degrees of omnivorousness: omnivores, limited, temperates and moderates. We argue that taste patterns deviate from the usual elitist basis in that omnivores are depicted as both highbrow individuals with lowbrow taste and non-highbrow individuals with lowbrow taste. We also find that structural constraints have little impact on breadth of tastes among omnivores and a relatively high impact on breadth of tastes among limited, temperates and moderates. Heterology is emphasized (rather than the Bourdieuvian homology) in an examination of the equivalence between the social structure and the cultural sphere. Heterology recognizes that breadth and level of taste are two independent dimensions of cultural consumption.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Sciences

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