Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste

Distinction A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste No judgement of taste is innocent In a word we are all snobs Pierre Bourdieu brilliantly illuminates this situation of the middle class in the modern world France s leading sociologist focusses here

  • Title: Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste
  • Author: Pierre Bourdieu Richard Nice
  • ISBN: 9780674212770
  • Page: 493
  • Format: Paperback
  • No judgement of taste is innocent In a word, we are all snobs Pierre Bourdieu brilliantly illuminates this situation of the middle class in the modern world France s leading sociologist focusses here on the French bourgeoisie, its tastes and preferences Distinction is at once a vast ethnography of contemporary France and a dissection of the bourgeois mind In the cou No judgement of taste is innocent In a word, we are all snobs Pierre Bourdieu brilliantly illuminates this situation of the middle class in the modern world France s leading sociologist focusses here on the French bourgeoisie, its tastes and preferences Distinction is at once a vast ethnography of contemporary France and a dissection of the bourgeois mind In the course of everyday life people constantly choose between what they find aesthetically pleasing and what they consider tacky, merely trendy, or ugly Bourdieu bases his study on surveys that took into account the multitude of social factors that play a part in a Frenchperson s choice of clothing, furniture, leisure activities, dinner menus for guests, and many other matters of taste What emerges from his analysis is that social snobbery is everywhere in the bourgeois world The different aesthetic choices people make are all distinctions that is, choices made in opposition to those made by other classes Taste is not pure Bourdieu finds a world of social meaning in the decision to order bouillabaisse, in our contemporary cult of thinness, in the California sports such as jogging and cross country skiing The social world, he argues, functions simultaneously as a system of power relations and as a symbolic system in which minute distinctions of taste become the basis for social judgement The topic of Bourdieu s book is a fascinating one the strategies of social pretension are always curiously engaging But the book is than fascinating It is a major contribution to current debates on the theory of culture and a challenge to the major theoretical schools in contemporary sociology.

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    1 thought on “Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste”

    1. Bourdieu is getting high praise here on and, no offense, but did you read the whole thing?Now, don't get me wrong, if I were to teach a class on aesthetics, the first chapter, an absolute masterpiece, would be required reading. But for crying out loud, read the whole thing and read it critically. There's no point in reading philosophy or sociology if you don't read it critically. Part I, "The Aristocracy of Culture" is a masterpiece, if you ignore Bourdieu's crappy methodology. Or near-masterpi [...]

    2. God, how I hate this bastard. And, god, how smart he is. I have quibbles with his methodology and instrument and the wholesale applicability of his findings outside L'Hexagone, but fuck. I might prefer Thorsten's Midwestern flair and more straightforward style, but Bourdieu has a lot of potent things to say about the myth of the natural eye and the way taste encodes and propagates social, cultural, and educational capital. You will never look at your preferences, favorites, and consumption the s [...]

    3. تا اونجا که لازم داشتم، حدود یک‌سومش، رو خوندم.خدا هیچ‌کس رو اسیر این مترجم‌ها و ترجمه‌های چپندرقیچی‌شون نکنه! بلند بگید آمین!

    4. Bourdieu’s distinction offers a lot. By a lot, I mean 600 pages of analyses, graphs, and studies, in some of the densest prose imaginable. Bourdieu seems to be able to expand a simple sentence’s worth of information into entire paragraphs that flow like dense molasses. Distinction does have a lot to offer, though. I am reading it as a part of a look into hipster subcultures in the United States—obviously far removed from the 1980s French society that Bourdieu analyzed; most of the figures, [...]

    5. Only read the beginning and conclusion. Lots of interesting ideas here, but my internal statistician is wondering how he could draw such wide-reaching conclusions from a single set of surveys.

    6. This book not easy in the slightest. As one reader previously wrote: "sometimes I wish Bourdieu knew what a simple sentence was." Or something like that. The point is, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste is ridiculously dense and stuffed the very brim with analyzation and graphs and information, and reading it can be hell, but also really interesting. Just a few pages is enough to give the reader perspective and allow them to think a little differently about things. There is [...]

    7. Damn, it's better than you'd think to have someone tell you how bullshit the way you and everyone you know does life and how you need to watch out for internal fascism!

    8. Bourdieu looks at cultural productions--- art, music, books ---and asks which social groups regard particular authors or painters or composers as "theirs": in other words, defining points for membership in a certain class. Aesthetic sensibility, he argues, is the means by which educational and cultural capital are converted into class markers. An aristocratic bloodline has been replaced by the 'aesthetic sensibility' as a way to define entitlement to deference in society. "Distinction" thus has [...]

    9. It's dated, overlong, and the prose is convoluted; however, the insights into the social construction of taste are thought provoking. Why do we like what we like? How much of our preferences are due to class envy, education, or economic circumstances? The final chapter, on Kant'sCritique of Judgment, shows how even so-called pure aesthetics is "grounded in an empirical social relation," how pleasure itself becomes part of the way "dominant groupsride roughshod over difference, flouts distinction [...]

    10. Pierre Bourdieu in Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste offers an ethnography of 1960s French taste. Largely, based on interviews, the research illustrates how taste is inherently judgemental and a product of, to use, Bourdieuan terms, the habitus and individual agency acting within the ‘cultural’ field. Intervieews answered questions based on preferences in taste, opinions, and something close to Bourdieu’s heart- institutional pedadgogies and knowledge, regarding mo [...]

    11. When I first read this it gave me a trauma from how smart a man can be and how stupid I could get struggling with every sentence, graph, example trying to understand it within an everyday context. But hey, it's not any "everyday life" it's a Middle Eastern one. I used this guy to theorise the power of a Saudi media Mogul, his empire, his prince field, and the "others" around the same empire. Distinction is about the individual and his strategies in every single field of life. In defining the ter [...]

    12. No es un libro fácil. Este tratado francés de sociología se presenta como tal, con cuadros y encuestas, y una prosa de frases largas y palabras inventadas (como la recurrente enclasante y sus derivados). Pero el tema que aborda es tan familiar que incluso su foco francés y ochentero (en casos y en ejemplos) resulta cercano. No podemos escapar a los criterios del gusto, ya sea observándolos en nosotros mismo o por cómo determinan a las personas a nuestro alrededor. El gusto levanta negocios [...]

    13. This book is rather shoddy in many respects. The sociological methodology is poor in several aspects and presented even more poorly - unintelligibly, at times. In general it seems that Bourdieu actually doesn't know what he's talking about. He doesn't seem to be able to pin down any classifications and when he elaborates he relies on his own shifting impressions rather than the (paucity of) data that he presents. He starts by identifying the aristocratic social order as aesthetes but seems to dr [...]

    14. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste is a both dense and interesting book. Due to how long the book is it covers a lot of good points, as well as go into great detail. This could be seen as both positive and negative. It was nice because while reading this you won't feel cheated from any information but in my opinion, it was a little much. Usually out of a whole paragraph, I feel that everything could be summed up in just a few sentences. Surprisingly it wasn't as hard to rea [...]

    15. This is my second exposure to Bourdieue writing is a little rough, but the ideas are really quite provocative and interestinghis general way of looking at the world is to suggest that we have dispositions that come from our class upbringing (he calls this the "habitus") and that these dispositions define our tastes. This is interwoven into his two-by-two matrix that talks about the difference between cultural capital and economic capital.So in the book he is describing the results of a massive s [...]

    16. It's impossible to read this book and not see the social world differently. You'll find yourself thinking about the world around you in terms of the book's analytical imagination. Its effect is deep and lasting, and sometimes revolting. The reading has the consistency of peanut butter-sticky and dense. The abstractions come fast and the clunky prose is unrelenting. But the effort is rewarded many times over in deep disclosures of the social world around.

    17. A little hard to get into at first, but it speeds up as you delve into Bourdieu's research. You will likely question the relevancy of his theories in modern society, and at times feel uncomfortable with what he is saying. He really does come off as a smug elitist, but - for better or worse - some of his points still hold true today.

    18. My reasons for liking this book are probably unusual. I am interested in an American Christian rehabilitation of the arts, which I think must begin with a complete divestment of ourselves from Kant's third critique. Kant's specter haunts every corner of all of our theories of art and he desperately needs exorcising. Insofar as Bourdieu does this, I think this book is hugely important and another in a long list of Marxist critical theory that desperately needs a thorough treatment in Christian cu [...]

    19. "What is at stake is indeed 'personality', i.e the quality of the person, which is affirmed in the capacity to appropriate an object of quality. The objects endowed with the greatest distinctive power are those which most clearly attest the quality of the appropriation, and therefore the quality of their owner, because their possession requires time and capacities which, requiring a long investment of time, like pictorial or musical culture, cannot be acquired in haste or by proxy, and which the [...]

    20. This book is the reason that I started learning sociology. I read a small part of it, in a class during a school visit to the university, and I fell in love. Five years later and I'm in my last year of my bachelorate studies in sociology, hoping to get into a position in the sociology department of some university. In other words, this book is my childhood, I grew up on it and with it. Although, for this reading, it was rather long, it did live up to the expectations. I can't recommend this book [...]

    21. Self-awareness never felt so invigorating and disparaging. This work is incredibly dodgy statistically, as explained by other reviewers, yet it is a compelling representation of the way that academics see the world and, most likely, justify their place within it.

    22. Truly, deeply awful writing. However, really useful, expansive theory that is going to be relevant to my own research.

    23. Selamlar Simmel, Schutz, Adorno, Bourdieu,Herkesler, müzik büyülü/sihirli/gökten indi dedi. Bende bir sorun var sanırım, hayatımın bir bölümünü müziksiz geçirdim ve ölmedim. O yüzden:Biraz müzik sosyolojisi okumasına ihtiyacım vardı. Müzik soyolojisinin soruları nelerden başladım. Şunlara denk geldim: Kitlesel popülarite açısından müziğin gücü, popüler müziğin yansımaları, tüketim ilişkilerinde müziğin rolü, internet, medyanın müzik kapsamındaki etk [...]

    24. Well, this definitely reinforced my tendency to feel somewhat deterministic about social class, but/and I really liked it and have thought about my own social world differently ever since reading it. It goes well beyond simply discussing the narrow definition of 'aesthetic' (though it does that brilliantly) and also touches on topics such as larger questions of modes of acquiring knowledge (in particular the intellectual élite's not-disinterested distaste for pedantry and book-learning); the qu [...]

    25. Distinction is truly a monumental read and a must, I think, not only for sociologists, but for anyone interested in the cultural, in how taste works and how class is involved. I’ve felt partly dismayed by it, partly amazed. As it’s often stressed, the correspondence analysis Bourdieu draws between cultural consumption, class and taste, can be applied to any society, not just the French. It’s really a refreshing read for keeping your opinions at bay and a case in point for seeing through an [...]

    26. This book is a classic for sociologists, but not many have been able to read the entirety of it.Bourdieu's ideas on the concept of 'taste', and the driving force behind it (spoiler: the economic field and the struggle of the classes within), were (and still are) quite revolutionary, despite the clear influences he refers to (Marxism, Robert Merton, etc). Bourdieu sprinkles many examples throughout the book to help you grasp his deeply theoretical book. Despite these many examples, you might have [...]

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