COST-2606EL Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Travie Mccoy, Body Odor, Cultural Capital

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Week 7:
Classed and Commodified Bodies
Social Class
What is social class?
Economic ranking in society, measured by the job, body type, one might have
Community, not just individual
Culture, status, identities
How do we hear about it?
When? Why?
Sudbury has a very bad unemployment rate that keeps increasing
Sudbury often defined as a 'working-class' city
Blue collars vs. White collars
Social Class
Social class, also called class, typically refers to a group of people within a society who possess
the same (or similar) socioeconomic status
Class must be considered as much more than simply our economic position
It is also a cultural construct, a representation, a value system, a matter of 'taste', and - what
Bourdieu calls "a struggle for distinction"
It is through class that we become individuals
Class and the Body
DeMello argues that "class is inscribed on bodies"
To inscribe something means to mark, write, or carve onto something
Softness of skin/hands representing using hands to work, clothing and makeup, brands, cultural
capital - you have information to identify certain objects/art/music/brands, how we carry
ourselves, posture, speaking
Representations of Social Class Through Music
Lorde - Royals
Travie McCoy ft. Bruno Mars - Billionaire
DeMello claims habitus refers to "how society, through social and cultural practices, is inscribed
on the bodies of its members"
"Habitus refers to socially acquired, embodied systems of schemes of disposition, perceptions
and evaluation that orient and give meaning to practices"
"...refers to how one's values, habits, taste and lifestyle are acquired through life experiences,
and become firmly entrenched as part of one's culture"
"even things like body posture, body odor, and the manifestation of disease are shared among,
and socialized into, social groups"
Habitus and The Body
Bourdieu claims that the body is the 'most indisputable materialization of class taste"
What might this mean? What is class taste?
In a study on women and representation, the author's found:
"upper class women attributed moral value to a well-groomed appearance, which created
distance between them and women whose appearance they perceived as neglectful"
Moral value - what is most important to them, value system attaching in terms of whether things
are right or wrong
Saw people who were well groomed as good people
Ex. Honey Boo Boo's family vs. The Royal Family
(Mis)Representations of Social Class
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