Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste

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Overview

Distinction is at once a vast ethnography of contemporary France and a dissection of the bourgeois mind. Bourdieu's subject is the study of culture, and his objective is most ambitious: to provide an answer to the problems raised by Kant's Critique of Judgment by showing why no judgment of taste is innocent.
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Editorial Reviews

Commonweal

A book of extraordinary intelligence.
— Irving Louis Horowitz

Partisan Review

One of the more distinguished contributions to social theory and research in recent years...There is in this book an account of culture, and a methodology of its study, rich in implication for a diversity of fields of social research. The work in some ways redefines the whole scope of cultural studies.
— Anthony Giddens

Vogue

Bourdieu's analysis transcends the usual analysis of conspicuous consumption in two ways: by showing that specific judgments and chokes matter less than an esthetic outlook in general and by showing, moreover, that the acquisition of an esthetic outlook not only advertises upper-class prestige but helps to keep the lower orders in line. In other words, the esthetic world view serves as an instrument of domination. It serves the interests not merely of status but of power. It does this, according to Bourdieu, by emphasizing individuality, rivalry, and 'distinction' and by devaluing the well-being of society as a whole.
— Christopher Lasch

Commonweal - Irving Louis Horowitz
A book of extraordinary intelligence.
Partisan Review - Anthony Giddens
One of the more distinguished contributions to social theory and research in recent years...There is in this book an account of culture, and a methodology of its study, rich in implication for a diversity of fields of social research. The work in some ways redefines the whole scope of cultural studies.
Vogue - Christopher Lasch
Bourdieu's analysis transcends the usual analysis of conspicuous consumption in two ways: by showing that specific judgments and chokes matter less than an esthetic outlook in general and by showing, moreover, that the acquisition of an esthetic outlook not only advertises upper-class prestige but helps to keep the lower orders in line. In other words, the esthetic world view serves as an instrument of domination. It serves the interests not merely of status but of power. It does this, according to Bourdieu, by emphasizing individuality, rivalry, and 'distinction' and by devaluing the well-being of society as a whole.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674212770
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1987
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 640
  • Sales rank: 560,884
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.19 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the English-Language Edition

Introduction

PART I A SOCIAL CRITIQUE OF THE JUDGEMENT OF TASTE

1. The Aristocracy of Culture

The Titles of Cultural Nobility

Cultural Pedigree

PART II THE ECONOMY OF PRACTICES

2. The Social Space and Its Transformations

Class Condition and Social Conditioning

A Three-Dimensional Space

Reconversion Strategies

3. The Habitus and the Space of Life-Styles

The Homology between the Spaces

The Universes of Stylistic Possibles

4. The Dynamics of the Fields

The Correspondence between Goods Production and Taste Production

Symbolic Struggles

PART III CLASS TASTES AND LIFE-STYLES

5. The Sense of Distinction

The Modes of Appropriation of the Work of Art

The Variants of the Dominant Taste

The Mark of Time

Temporal and Spiritual Powers

6. Cultural Goodwill

Knowledge and Recognition

Education and the Autodidact

Slope and Thrust

The Variants of PetitBourgeois Taste

The Declining Petite Bourgeoisie

The Executant Petite Bourgeoisie

The New Petite Bourgeoisie

From Duty to the Fun Ethic

7. The Choice of the Necessary

The Taste for Necessity and the Principle of Conformity

The Effects of Domination

8. Culture and Politics

Selective Democracy

Status and Competence

The Right to Speak

Personal Opinion

The Modes of Production of Opinion

Dispossession and Misappropriation

Moral Order and Political Order

Class Habirus and Political Opinions

Supply and Demand

The Political Space

The Specific Effect of Trajectory

Political Language

Conclusion: Classes and Classifications

Embodied Social Structures

Knowledge without Concepts

Advantageous Attributions

The Classification Struggle

The Reality of Representation and the Representation of Reality

Postscript: Towards a 'Vulgar' Critique of 'Pure' Critiques

Disgust at the 'Facile'

The 'Taste of Reflection' and the 'Taste of Sense'

A Denied Social Relationship

Parerga and Paralipomena

The Pleasure of the Text

Appendices

1. Some Reflections on the Method

2. Complementary Sources

3. Statistical Data

4. Associations: A Parlour Game

Notes

Credits

Index

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