Contemporary Application of Bourdieu’s Distinction in Musical Taste

In his famous book Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Pierre Bourdieu reports findings from a French survey of cultural tastes fielded in 1967-68. Of particular note is a figure showing the distribution of preferences for three musical works by class fractions. Bourdieu reports that Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier” represents “legitimate taste” andContinue reading “Contemporary Application of Bourdieu’s Distinction in Musical Taste”

Teaching the Frankfurt School on the Culture Industry and Standardization of Cultural Products

In my sociological theory class recently, I was teaching about critical theory (i.e., “the Frankfurt School”). Specifically, students were reading excerpts from Theodor Adorno’s and Max Horkheimer’s work on “The Culture Industry,” excerpted from their 1944 book The Dialectic of Enlightenment. We talked about how the production of mass cultural commodities (books, films, TV, music)Continue reading “Teaching the Frankfurt School on the Culture Industry and Standardization of Cultural Products”

What’s wrong with Jay-Z?

I haven’t had alot of time to listen to Kanye West’s much anticipated sophomore album, Late Registration, but I have been intrigued by the remix of the song “Diamonds from Sierra Leone.” In the first half of the song, West makes very astute observations about the relationship between “bling” in America and the trade inContinue reading “What’s wrong with Jay-Z?”