SOC281 Study Guide
Compare and contrast (a) the impact of class on culture with (b) the impact of age
and generation on culture.
The similarities between the impact of class on culture and the impact of age and
generation on culture are that they produce stratifications.
Class position can be defined as the common “location” certain individuals hold in
the economic and power structure of a given society.
Social locations can be intersected with physical appearance, which is a source of
o In class structure, Bourdieu would classify economic capital priority.
However, attractiveness could be a boundary for whether you have the
ability to attain such economic capital or not.
When it comes to age in North American culture, there is a cult of youth that
favours young over old and that suggests being young is to be vibrant, happy, and
energetic whereas to be old is to be tired, unattractive, and grim
o These cultural views do not take away from the status and power of the
middle aged, however they are detrimental to older adults.
o Just like dominant groups can define their culture as superior, those of
middle-age „attractiveness‟ can also define their culture as superior as well.
o Age structure serves the interest of dominant social classes
o Power does not seem to be derived from relations between age groups
but rather from relations between classes.
o They too can use „attractiveness‟ to legitimate their superior positions
with greater life chances
1 The reason why ageism based on physical appearance occurs is very much related
to power relations because „attractiveness‟ matters.
o For example, women are considered as old earlier in their lives because
their value is based on their attractiveness to men and their reproductive
abilities. Women age more quickly than men in workplaces where they
deal with money, power, and public achievement. This is especially true if
they work jobs that deal with the public or working for (predominantly
white) male supervisors.
o Whereas, for men, attractiveness stems from other sources. Sometimes
age can enhance a man‟s attractiveness especially if associated with public
achievement, money, and power.
Note that these issues are shaped differently in different societies.
Youtfulness in Finland and attractiveness in Finland is not as
important for women as they are in the U.S.
Class plays an important role in another way as well. Through economic resources,
lass can play a critical role in denying or providing resources that allow the old to
choose the ways in which they will manage growing old.
o Remodelling and stalling an adding body is expensive and time
consuming, hence, beyond the reach of the working-class or poor.
o Just like within class structure, if you have more money, you have more
choices. For instance, the more money you have, the more choice and
freedom you have to get a „face lift.‟ If you are at the bottom of the level,
you get the most grief.
o However, if you look at the situation on the basis of diversity and you
are more diverse (i.e. having grey hair, wrinkles), there tends to be less life
chances in Western culture. However, those with more diverse sets of
culture in class structure, like both high and low-brow culture, you have a
higher chance of advancing in your social or economic situation
Hagar Shipley recognizes that certain privileges in society are distributed on the
basis of age.
2 o Distinctions are made between the old, the middle-aged, and the
o Observes a connection between the young and the old because of their
relationships to the more privileged “middle ones”
There are also more privileges and more social solidarity for
people at the with higher class status than those are the bottom.
These people tend to be in the middle class. However, you cannot
discount those who are older.
the privileges that are distributed on the basis of age relations extend to ____ in
o status and power and wage scales are established for teenagers not on
the basis of their maturity, intellectual ability, but by their chronological
People and roles are differentiated by an age structure, the elements of which are
age strata, age-related acts, age structure of roles, and age-related expectations and
Moore and Lowe shows the importance individuals assign to age norms in
determining appropriate behaviour is a function of the age of the respondent.
o For example, older adults tend to hold stronger convictions about age
norms than those younger than them.
o However, some argue that boundaries between culturally specified age
categories are becoming increasingly blurred as active lifestyles, and
related consumer products are being marketed to the aging baby
o The usefulness of this conceptualization comes from the idea that age
distinctions are fundamental in our society and that they influence
patterns of resource distribution for the youth, the middle-aged, and the
The fundamental processes in age stratification theory are cohort flow, individual
aging, allocation, and socialization.
3 o Allocation and socialization are the processes that intervene between
the social structures relating to people and those relating to roles.
Like social networks in class structure, cohorts play a crucial part in further
stratification. Cohort centrism is a term that refers to the error of assuming that older
cohorts age in the same way as ones one.
o Age tends to be treated in static rather than dynamic terms. Hence,
most literature on the cultural meanings that individuals attribute to age
casts doubt on the assumption that there are clearly defined age norms
for different age strata.
However, in the class structure some people are mobile, upward
Cohort differences in education have strengthened the age stratification system.
o For example, baby boomers started their lives early after WWII.
Therefore, the majority did not enter post-secondary education, instead
they had families. When their children grew up, economic times were a lot
different. Post-secondary education became more important, thus the
increasing levels of education and better jobs. Not to mention the time of
industrialization and commerce (You‟re welcome to expand or use
o Within a class structure, people use their superior knowledge of kinds
of culture defined as relevant to doing their jobs well. It may not
necessarily be education, but it could be part of education. People tend to
use culture as a tool kit. Those who have higher class families tend to have
a better toolkit that can advance their life chances.
In class structures, people with better education and higher class
work careers build up much more diversified networks and social
capital, both on and off the job.
With the rise of industrialization and the state, labour-force entries and exits are
allocated by age, both directly through labour laws and indirectly by educational criteria,
for job entry, and by perceived age-related performance abilities, for job exit.
o People of different ages also influence the kinds of jobs people hold.
4 o Younger workers tend to work more bad jobs that are poorly paid and
have few benefits. Therefore, very rarely are young children or teenagers
afforded higher levels of status and power than middle aged adults
In contrast, the dynamics of class relations play out with minimal
interference from government policies and rules
The political-economy organizes Western capitalist societies on
the basis of whether one is old, middle-aged, or young.
Some are advocating that the terms teenager and adolescent and
the corresponding lack of legal rights and citizenship privileges be
Instead of assuming your chronological age
determines what you are capable of, if we recognize the
social construction of age like we recognize skills in the
workforce or mastery of culture, there will be less inequality
between age structures.
Impact of class on culture those of the dominant class are granted the power to determine the
culture most valued in society. People in different social locations will get different degrees of
exposure to different of the cultural scene.
Impact of age and generation on culture: Mannheim, discusses stratification of consciousness:
the things learned very early in life are deeply embedded and very hard to change. Just like
Bourdieu‘s definition of HABITUS. Mannheim goes on and says that we learn culture at
different life stages. He argues that people form their worldviews during the transition from
youth to adulthood because this is the period of fresh encounters with the wider world of history
and politics. Before this children live in a homogenous social world. They learn more about the
wider world through the transition to bigger schools. Thus, with age comes a wider range of
cultural understanding. Much is new to them; culture is generally not fixed yet.
Generationally- they are likely to pick up orientations prevalent at the time. Mannheim argues-
like Bourdieu with habitus that once our views are formed they stick with us and shape our later
5 reactions. Though Mannheim puts more of an emphasis on how these views are subject to
change with time.
Age and culture- McMullin- structural and relational forces- Young (or mid aged) people
encompass the culture, which is most valued in society- older people are then disadvantaged.
Chronological age means a lot in society culture changes over life course stages. Think older
people and high culture tastes. Though there are certain cultures that remain constant throughout
generations, think BABY BOOMER culture.
Generational differences- Generations are not homogenous People react to cultural elements of
their time in different ways. People are divided into generational units, which are related to
subgroup cultures and generational experience.
FB study- counters Mannnheims approach in defining generational units.
―our fav melodies reading‖ -little impact of family class on musical taste- contrary to what
Bourdieu would expect- contrary to the more SES based understanding he creates.
Culture of the workplace- age is a huge factor here. Age structures in industries- different
composition of young, mid aged and old, this will shape the culture in the organization.
Education- changing over generations, we see now an education expansion, education is
becoming increasingly important also increased involvement over time.
Different classes and different ages both create different cultural exposure. They are both
subject to change over time.
Age is a definite change in a single direction, where class may or may not change.
Compare and contrast (a) the impact of class on culture with (b) the impact of gender
The impact on class and culture in regards to the impact on gender and culture:
weber- property classes
-status- unequal groups of people because they are unequally rich, not all about wealth, its
about standing in society
-different ethnic groups can be seen as status groups and all these groups are unequally
-position in the life course
-bourdieu said cant think of it as homogenous class groupings
6 -fundamental thing is class
-what did Bourdieu do with class?
-people acquire their fundamental cultural orientation (their habitus) through their
families, shapes their culture, middle class parents, you start soaking up middle class culture
from an early age.
-when did people start learning about gender?
-babies pick up more and more of the existence of men and women
-you can change your ideas what men and women are like, but you cannot unlearn that
there are not men and women. Learned it so long ago it sticks to you
-parents act differently themselves- domestic division of labour
-many different ways of being a man/woman in society- masculinities and femininities
- Masculinity- hegemonic- dominant idea of what a man is and should be like; among
-manly- being able to work with your hands- being physically strong and powerful
-disadvantage of being a female adds up
-a lot of different ideas about what is typical in a man and what is typical in a woman
-little girls less physically assertive
-girls are outsmarting guys in high school and etc
-in schools, schools are dominated by what’s considered worthy
-art- harder for a woman artist to get critical respect/to get fame even if she’s really good
-embroidery and quilt making have been called just crafts
-West and Zimmerman state that “gender is constructed through psychological, cultural and
social means.” West and Zimmerman conducted a study on hermaphrodites and concluded that
by age five, gender was fixed. Also, they found that certain structural arrangements i.e., work
and family, enable women to possess a distinct motherly quality with how they behave with
their family. “In one sense, of course, it is individuals who “do” gender. But it is a situated
doing, carried out in the virtual or real presence of others who are presumed to be oriented to
its production” (West and Zimmerman). Social institutions play a vital role in how women and
men are perceived such as hospitals with male doctors and female nurses being apparent. This
shows how gender is socially constructed and how society determines what gender the person
is and the roles associated to that particular gender.
(Paid Work: Chapter 9)
Inequality in types of job: women are more concentrated in service, clerical and social
Early childhood gender culture: girls are encouraged to be more obedient,
quiet and helping others while guys are learned to be more bossy and active
this feminine/masculine culture plays in their later lives when they pick their
Unemployment: more women unemployed than men. A lot of women call themselves
Early childhood gender culture: girls learn that woman should stay at home,
man goes to work. Habitus shapes their gender experience.
Inequality in income: Women earns less than men
Masculine culture dominates workplace. Men are more likely to do better
(move up higher in their status, etc.) than women because of the better access
to masculine culture.
Feminine culture, which is picked up in family and at school, encourages
women to pursue the lower-status jobs such as social work and nurse.
(Education: Chapter 10)
Underperformance of boys in comparison to girls in schools: boys less likely to complete
high school than girls
Early childhood gender culture: Girl’s are taught to be quiet, obedient while
boys are taught to be active and bossy their different characteristics lead to
their different performances at school. Feminine culture is more fit to
education than men.
Lower educational returns for women than men
Occupational segregation: feminine culture encourage low paid jobs for
Feminine culture encourages housework. Stay at home, men will work
Impact of Gender on Culture Impact of Class on Culture
Causes differences in cultural attainment, Causes differences in cultural attainment,
amounts of culture, and types of culture. amounts of culture, and types of culture.
Leading to differential life chances Leading to differential life chances
between men and women. between classes (high-class and low-class).
Men and women are considered Specific Classes are considered
independent status groups, which are independent status groups, which are
ranked or ordered on the basis on culture. ranked or ordered on the basis on culture.
Causes identification of groups and again Causes identification of groups and again
differences in cultural attainment (less differences in cultural attainment (less
culture for those ranked lower). culture for those ranked lower).
This system is built on stereotypes, which This system is built on class relations.
directly influence an individuals cultural Higher classes suppress the culture of
attainment levels. Men and women try to those lower classes and use culture as a
“fit into” their stereotype. means to control.
Women more arts centered culture High-class more arts centered as well as
(stereotypically feminine) omnivores (highbrow culture)
Men more sports (stereotypically Low-class limited to popular culture like
masculine) sports (low-brow culture)
Gender causes cultural differences within The class system causes differences
socio-economic classes. between socio-economic classes.
8 Cultural differences based on gender Cultural differences based on class can be
cannot be escaped. escaped/changed.
Cultural implications of gender are learned Cultural implications of class are also
early in life. Children often learn in school learned early in life, yet not as over
what males and females are good at or bearing. Differences between classes are
like. Causes direct categorization. not directly visible to children. Greater
categorization begins later in life.
Cultural differences cause differences in Cultural differences cause differences in
education to be emphasized. education to be emphasized.
Compare and contrast (a) the impact of class on culture with (b) the impact of
ethnicity on culture.
- Ethnic inequality is related BUT distinct from class inequality
- Wimmer hypothesized that those who were in elite groups try to define themselves as
members of distinct (and superior) ethnic groups and thus, try to emphasize the
difference between themselves and other ethnic groups- which supports their higher
- By doing so, they legitimize their power and maintain their social positions
- Thus, ethnic stratification, within society, affects the accessibility to cultural capital that
impacts one‘s ability to move into higher social classes
- As mentioned, those who have higher social positions use their ethnicity as a
weapon in legitimizing their status. The ethnicities of the powerful become a
form of high culture. Thus, individuals who are enriched with such forms high
culture have better chances for upward mobility and attaining high statuses.
- Therefore, while the powerful ensure that their ethnic cultures are superior and
valued in society values, lower classes strive to get ahead in the working world
by becoming familiar with the dominant culture set by the powerful
- Different societies have different ethnic hierarchies
- The culture of society thus impacts the ethnic status of individuals which affects
their life chances in socioeconomic achievements.
- Typically, when one ethnicity is classified as inferior, it jeopardizes their chance of
socioeconomic status and upward mobility
- This can lead to culture of poverty like demonstrated amongst the First Natives
- The promotion of high culture in social institutions can inhibit upwards mobility and
thus affect their class positions.
- E.g., schools teach dominant views and thus, children of working class
populations have a harder time learning or doing well in schools because they
are not accustomed to such culture (e.g., difference in habitus/cultural/social
- Ethnicity is only one of the many factors that contribute to the cumulative
9 - Thus, other factors, asides ethnicities, contribute to culture such as gender, class,
age that provide each individual differing life chances
- The effects of ethnicity in the culture of society does not only impact their chances of
socioeconomic achievements, but also relates to the discrimination and oppression in
- This is portrayed in Bonnie‘s lecture where she describes the conditions of
Aboriginals that were driven out of their lands and their kids were kidnapped for
- E.g., attempt to annihilate their culture by converting their children‘s
cultural heritage to white, European culture through residential schools.
Loss of land, power, etc.
- Effects of marginalizing ethnic minorities are far beyond just those relating to economic
- Cultural loss, Psychological trauma, powerlessness
- Also, ethnicity has played a role that is mutually exclusive to class on culture
- That is, it heightens social solidarity and ethnic identity among members of an
- This is done through living together and institutional completeness (which refers
to institutions implemented within a community that provides individuals of the
same ethnicity to come together and interact. E.g., work, churches, schools, etc)
- Therefore, ethnic minorities may take on a popular cultural strategy called cultural
- They take on both high culture as well as the culture from their own heritage for
- The former helps them with upward mobility, do better in school and class
attainment while the latter helps maintain relationships and social standing
within one‘s ethnic group
- Pierre Bourdieu explains efficiently the role of class on culture (RECALL)
- Habitus/social/economic/ cultural/ symbolic capital maintains class positions
- Ethnicity is only of one fragment that affects one‘s class position
- Thus, other factors come into play that help maintain dominant social positions
- Dominant social positions play a role in shaping what culture should be valued
within the society and the criteria necessary for prospects of upwards mobility
- Based on differing societies, they can formulate high culture or cultural
omnivorism to maintain their social positions
- These are the kinds of culture within society that is valued highly of and
largely represented within social institutions
Consider some of the important AGE inequalities described and discussed in
McMullin. What roles does culture play in these inequalities?
1.1 general theories
10 Certain privileges in society are distributed on the basis of age. The age distinctions are
made between the old, the middle-aged and the young. The middle-aged occupy a more
privileged position while the young and the old are underprivileged, thus a connection is built
between the young and the old.
Power relations result in some groups being more likely to become dependent than
others. For example, the teenagers depend on their middle-aged parents to pay for their education
and living expenses while the older depend on middle-aged policy-makers to provide them with
enough pensions, physical care and other services the powerful middle age offer.
1.2 examples of inequalities
The inequality is especially distinct in labor markets and families. (1)First, wage-scales
are established for teenagers not on the basis of what they do, but by their chronological age. For
example, a 17-year-old working at the same job as 20-year-old can legally be paid less for doing
the same work. (2)Also, young workers participate in the workforce less and are less well-
represented in all job categories except consumer services. (3) Moreover, when older workers
lose their jobs, they are unemployed longer than younger workers because the younger averagely
receive more education than the older (admittedly, this is more like a generation perspective) and
also because older workers will encounter more difficulties participate adult training and
education as they are less intelligently competent and bear more family burdens than their
younger counterparts. (4)In families of precreation, parents have more power and economic
control than their children. And paid employment in the families (the middle-aged) are more
valued than the other two groups.
Besides, physical appearance is also critical source of ageism. Older people are more
likely to be seen as deviant as a more conservative dressing culture is expected among them.
Generally speaking, the culture of age assigns different age groups different age-related acts,
expectations and sanctions.
2. culture’s role
2.1 culture in a social sense
In North American culture, there is a cult of youth that favors the young over old and that
suggests that to be young is to be vibrant, beautiful and happy whereas to be old is to be tired,
unattractive and grim. These cultural views do little to take away from the status and power of
middle-aged people. They are, however, especially detrimental for older adults because,
combined with loss of youthful appeal and the resultant difficulties with self-image and self-
*From a political economic view, age inequality is constructed in the distribution and
allocation of resources and opportunities for the middling is considered more contributing to the
11 society and to the maintenance of social order whereas the old is no longer productive.
Specifically, the capitalist culture leads to the perception that the paid family members (the
middle-aged) are considered valuable while the young and the old are devalued.
Anthropologically speaking, health and fitness is valued cross-culturally. Therefore, the
younger group and especially the older group who are more likely to encounter diseases and
disabilities are culturally unvalued and thus strengthen the age inequality.
2.2* culture as in cultural capital
In terms of culture acquired by individuals rather than societal culture, culture can affect
the kind of youth, middle age, or old age that you have. Consider education, which expands
cultural capital greatly: (1)more highly educated people do everything later: they are older when
they start work, start a family, stop working, develop old age disabilities, and die. (2) they have
longer and pleasanter periods of youth, mid-life, and old age. (3)they are much healthier in old
age. In this way, the age inequality can be reduced if people gain more cultural capital.
Besides, class, race and gender also play important roles in age inequality. For example,
middle class people have more resources that allow them to choose the ways in which they will
manage growing old.
*not closely related to topic or to the textbook
Consider some of the important GENDER inequalities described and discussed in
McMullin. What roles does culture play in these inequalities?
- McMullin explains that all aspects of daily life, whether it be the family, labour market, or
states are gendered
- Males and females have different experiences and opportunities in most institutions
- Taking on the work of feminist sociologists, McMullin illustrates that inequality begins with
the simple definitions of ‗sex‘ and ‗gender‘
- Whereas sex is a term differentiating biological makeup of individuals, gender focuses on the
cultural and social construction of what it is to be male or female
- With the definition of gender applied to individuals, comes the basis of adopting a
- Gender is constructed around an individuals sex, which inevitably pushes them to abide
by a certain type of lifestyle
- Since McMullin addresses gender as a social construct, our opportunities, constraints,
advantages and disadvantages are all put into place by our gender
- One of the main areas where gender inequality exists is in the workplace
12 - The labour market segmentation perspective holds that men tend to be concentrated in jobs that
are characterized by higher salaries, more benefits, and higher statuses
- McMullin calls these male-dominated professions ‗core sector‘ jobs which are powerful
companies that have little competition for their products
- On the other hand, there are ‗periphery sectors‘ of the economy that are much smaller
firms and have a lot of competition within them
- McMullin holds that women have such a hard time keeping up financially with their
male counterparts because they are segregated into these lower-level industry sectors;
creating further inequality among men and women within the labour force
- For those women lucky enough to be in the same work industry as men, they are still met with
another form of gender inequality
- Women experience the ‗glass ceiling‘ in their careers meaning that they are much less likely to
progressive economically compared to their male counterparts
- Erickson says that this is because male forms of cultural capital (things such as sports
knowledge and interests) create more advantage in the workplace
- Because men master this dominant culture more often than women, this creates an
inequality in regards to the upward mobility within the work environment
- Those women who are too aggressive in trying to associate with male culture run the
risk of being seen as gender inappropriate by participating in things not normally
associated with women
- Unlike other forms of inequality, gender disparity, according to Erickson, is pervasive within
- Childhood is the most important time for acquiring culture related to gender inequality. Young
children learn that all people are divided into two categories: male and female.
- Children learn what men and women are supposed to be like from watching their
parents. Parents model the differences between men and women. Women on average do
more housework and fathers earn more money for the family. The idea of a gender
based division of labor is subtly transmitted to children.
- Parents also influence their children‘s acquisition of gender in more obvious ways by
teaching their children different skills. For example, mothers teach their daughters skills
that revolve around housework, while fathers more readily teach their sons more
aggressive disciples such as sports or how to be tough.
- Moreover, the biological family, according to McMullin, plays a key role in creating inequality
within the domestic sphere
- Biological families are characterized by four aspects:
- Women reproduce and carry offspring, and as a result are dependent on men for
- When children are born they take a long time to become independent
- Mothers must spend time with their kids to create bonds, and focus much more
on emotional values as apposed to economic values
- Therefore, what creates a gap in power between men and women is the
reproductive biology of women itself. Due to the fact that women are assumed
to spend most of their lives around nurturing kids, it is up to men to provide
economically for the family. This in turn gives males more power because they
13 are the providers, and allows them to exercise their power and dominance over
the women they support
- Another theory related to domestic gender inequality is the dual-systems theory, which suggests
that patriarchy and capitalism interact and influence the oppression of women
- Patriarchy holds that men create inter-dependence and solidarity with one another,
which enables them to unite over the common goal: to regulate women
- In this sense, McMullin shows that the dual-systems theories main premise is that
because men hold all the economic and domestic power, they control how women
structure their lives
- Men are in control of women‘s economic and sexual activity, which leads to women in
a sense, working for men
- They raise the kids, clean the house, and cook for the males, who in return bring home
the money needed to support the family
- Inequality is driven by many factors, one of the main ones being gender. Gender drives
inequality in the workforce as well as domestically. Gender influences the culture which we
acquire from a young age, and these cultural differences further drive inequality.
Class and culture Gender and culture
Similarities Determine by birth
Cultures are classified into gender and class (omnivore-masculine or feminine
Learn from parent- habitus and masculine/feminine activities (also see the
School curricula emphasize forms of culture valued by the dominant groups
that have influence over education.
People with similar class background tends to stay together while outside the
classroom, boys hang out with boys and girls hang out with girls further
develop class and gender differences
Connection with cultural capital- male often dominate upper status jobs where
women are excluded from workplace conversation- Erickson security industry
Differences People can grow up without knowing People grow up with gender and
what classes are like, what their class categorize other into the gender
positions are binary. It is hard to escape gender
Bourdieu: cultural orientation is Children learn how male and female
formed early in life, in one’s family should behave and they learned the
and shaped by the family’s class expectations attached to gender.
situation- parents unconsciously Parents treat boys and girls
passed their habitus to their children differently- activities, skills and
Relationship Think men and women as status group- class as status group
Members of same group share sense of hounour and what is good or bad
Men are ranked higher for the same performance and their cultural capital
14 brings them advantage in the workplace –Erickson’s security industry
McMulin’s gender inequalities and culture:
- Gender typical culture learn from parents- male should be involved in masculine
activities while female should be involved in feminine activities- learned from a young
- We categorize people into the gender binary system and its hard to escape from it. We
learned how to behave according to our gender
- Sex-based gender is the most original and basic form of oppression. Unequal gender
power relationships make women economically dependent on men material based of
patriarchy is the control of women’s labour power by men
Gender is socially constructed. It is used to express the view that there is nothing innate about
men or women that makes one sex more suitable for performing a particular task than another.
It refers to the social construction of difference that is largely organized around biological sex.
We were taught at a young age that the world is divided into two different kinds of people,
male and female. We learned to categorize everyone and have different expectations on men
and women in different aspects of social life including education and work.
Gender differences in education:
- Girls tend to do better in primary and secondary education and more often go to
postsecondary education because they are better at reading, sitting quietly, following
the teacher’s instruction (learn from their parents or the society that girls are more
passive and quiet).
- The society also teaches that male and female are good at and like different subjects.
Male are good at science and math while female are good at art subjects and social
science- affect by traditional ideologies and student pick subjects according to it
- The school curricula emphasizes forms of culture valued by the dominant groups that
have influence over education- great historians or scholars are mostly male and
activities associated with men are more likely to be on the curriculums- embroidery vs.
- Outside the classroom, boys play with boys and girls play with girls- further develop
class differences in all sorts of culture.
- The textbook: 70 of young women and 60% of young men were expected, by their
parents, to complete a university degree girls are rated very well more often in all
15 In work
- Social network- same sex
- Male domination and women are unable to participant in workplace conversation
because they do not know much about sports
- Female earn less than men at all levels of education because of occupational
segregation and child-care responsibilities where women tend to participate in part-
time and other non-standardize employment
Consider some of the important ETHNIC/RACIAL inequalities described and
discussed in McMullin. What roles does culture play in these inequalities?
What makes it easier or harder for minority ethnic or racial groups to resist cultural
domination by more powerful people?
Education and elite cultural capital are the most active and effective tools groups may possess or
use, in order to resist domination from more powerful people.
Education can be seen in Shively‘s example of movie stereotypes of aboriginals. She showed
Indian men on reservations, Indian men who are in college and white men, a John Wayne movie.
John Wayne is highly racist toward the Indians in the movie.
The viewers interpreted the movie differently and enjoyed different aspects of it because they
viewed it through their different cultural frameworks. The Indian men were more inclined to
code characters as good or bad guys, and went with the good guys, accepting the narrative frame
of the movies, not understanding that the bad guy portrayed in the movie was ―them‖. However,
when shown to the college Indian students. The college Indians were much more critical than
Indians on reserves.
-they complained that portraits of Indians are often negative, e.g. shown as faceless
-they noted John Wayne‘s sometimes racist remarks off the screen
-they criticized inauthentic details, e.g. speaking the wrong language or wearing the
wrong kinds of clothing for the tribe they are supposed to be
-college Indians also liked Westerns, but preferred ones that show an Indian point of
view, or that show Indians more accurately and positively
-their resources and education gave them more skills to be critical and conscious of the
Education teaches both more accurate information and more conscious and astute critical skills,
and hence is a powerful means of individual resistance.
Elite cultural capital is another tool in determining the ability for a group to resist cultural
16 capital. An example is black identity in art. Black people are using their skills to change the
nature of upper status, to include black people in fine arts. By emphasizing the demand for black
cultured art pieces through formal organizations such as museums and galleries; for example
donating distinguished art works to major museums and museums deliberately collecting black
artist work for display. Also, emphasizing the demand for black cultured art pieces through
informal networks such as collectors, artists, and gallery owners. The more involved these social
networks are in dominant culture, the more they are able to change or validate the ―low status
culture‖ into the dominant culture.
The resistance from the domination of other more powerful cultural groups is possible by
education and elite cultural capital. It was shown in the examples between aboriginals on
reserves and educated aboriginals and also successful black Americans promoting black identity.
People in higher status groups emphasize ethnicity and their differences with people in lower
classes to protect themselves and exclude lower status people. This also includes the cultural
differences between themselves and other ethnic groups.
This can be seen in Canada, with Aboriginals and other immigrants. Even non-English
Europeans were racialized and were seen as racially distinct and inferior to white English people
in Canada. An example is the Irish.
Although what ethnic groups are does change over time, people in inferior ethnic groups have a
difficult time achieving socioeconomic success and thus an upward re-evaluation of their ethnic
group‘s status. Because people in higher status ethnic groups becomes higher status culture,
according to Bourdieu, they dominate powerful institutions and more powerful social positions,
and this becomes cultural capital.
Resulting from this, the higher status culture shapes the curricula in schools, and children from
lower classes have a hard time achieving success because they were not naturally given the type
of cultural capital that is needed in these schools at home. Therefore, it becomes important that
these children learn both their own ethnic culture and the culture of the higher status ethnic group
in order to succeed.
Moreover, education is a powerful means of individual resistance but because it is heavily
influenced by the higher status ethnic group culture, it is significantly less effective for children
in lower statuses.
Because there are negative stereotypes that are associated with the struggle for cultural capital
and higher status, people in lower ethnic classes have to work to change the Eurocentric nature
of North American dominant cultural capital, using their own command of that very dominant
cultural capital. This is hard because it is not learned naturally at home. An example of this is
Bank‘s study of Black Americans and the art work displayed in their homes.
17 Discuss the findings from the study of musical tastes among Toronto teens by
Tanner, Asbridge, and Wortley. Discuss these findings in the context of the debate
over the nature of cultural capital today: highbrow exclusiveness versus cultural
Musical tastes can be used to measure status characteristics and cultural dispositions
Bourdieu believed that music (a form of culture) was a way of representing social
stratification and a way that people exhibit distinctiveness
o Music is a resource used by powerful groups to establish, maintain and
reproduce their social status. Music is used by oppressed groups as a form of
resistance and a way of distinguishing themselves from the elite
o Saw that there were distinct differences in music preferences of the different
classes and a clear definition of elite/highbrow musical tastes and
lowbrow/common/popular tastes. Ex. Highbrow music included classical and
opera while lowbrow music was folk, country, rock.
o Saw sharp, distinct boundaries between the classes as well as between their
musical tastes (upper classes did not associate with lower class culture and vice
o Cultural and ethnic inequality is created when the culture of higher status ethnic
groups becomes higher status culture, and comes to dominate powerful
institutions and more powerful social positions, and hence becomes cultural
capital - a form of cultural capital that provides advantages to the dominant
ethnic groups that have better command of (their own) culture. (the culture of
the elite becomes high status culture and a form of cultural capital).
Peterson saw the distinctions between upper and lower classes in terms of omnivorism
o Omnivores like many types of culture, in Petersons case they enjoy both high
status and low status culture, in Ollivier’s case they enjoyed many forms of low
status culture but no forms of high status culture. They tolerate all forms of
music and don’t hate other types. Their cultural variety is what makes them
distinct and exclusive.
o Univores only like a certain type of culture and reject all others (narrow tastes).
Univores tend to be lower status people and only participate in low status forms
Tanner found that although there was a cultural hierarchy in musical preferences
(dominant and subordinate tastes), the musical tastes of the higher status students
were not completely aligned with either Bourdieu’s or Peterson’s classifications if
o Students were classified as either high or low status by their level of educational
achievement and expectations (level of school absences, suspensions from
school, expectation of high grades). High levels of educational achievement
showed greater levels of cultural capital
High cultural capital was found in New Traditionalists, Ethnic Culturists
and Hard Rockers. High levels of cultural capital (high educational
18 expectations) did not mean that they were all cultural omnivores though,
so it does not completely correspond to Peterson’s model.
o Although higher status students in Toronto tend to display a cultural omnivorism
when it comes to musical tastes (engage in typically highbrow and popular forms
of music) they also exclude and reject some forms of music (opposing Peterson’s
and Bryson’s belief that higher status people have greater tolerance for all forms
Ex. New Traditionalists enjoyed a multitude of different music genres
(enjoyed typical highbrow genres like classical and opera, as well as
popular culture genres like blues, pop and country) but did not like rap.
They displayed the highest amount of cultural omnivorism and also the
highest academic success
o Lower status students (depicted mainly by their lack of academic achievement
and educational futures) tended to be more of cultural univores
Ex. Black Stylists liked mainly lower status music (rap, hip hop, reggae,
soul) and disliked all other types and had low educational expectations
and achievements and high levels of peer group delinquency (suspended
from school, skipped school, didn’t get high grades)
o But the omnivorous model doesn’t quite work on some groups
Ex. the Hard Rockers exhibit musical univorism by having a very narrow
taste preference, but continue to have high levels of educational
attainment and low delinquent peer activities
The actual group labelled as the Musical Omnivores did like all 11 genres,
but they were the smallest group (other than the musical abstainers).
They also had no real definable educational achievement characteristics,
and so did not exhibit high cultural capital and could not really be
considered high or low status groups.
Overall I would say that Toronto students display a more omnivoristic style of music
preference and are more open about enjoying different types of music. This may be
because they have not formed a concrete identity that will later guide their decisions
and tastes, and may be playing around with different ones. Also, with the wide range of
diversity in Toronto, there is greater exposure to different types of music, and so people
end up have greater amounts of likes and dislikes.
That being said, having greater cultural capital does not necessarily mean that you will
be a cultural omnivore. The groups that had high cultural capital (greater educational
achievement and expectations) still had varying degrees of musical preferences, ranging
from broad and omnivoristic (New Traditionalists) to narrow and univoristic (Hard
Gender differences in education
Since girls are socialized from birth to accept a more docile and subordinate role, they
are more aligned with the dominant way of education and schooling (the student is in
the subordinate role and follows the teacher’s rules and curriculum)
Girls are socialized in a way that their cultural habitus matches the one of education and
19 so they are better primed to get more from the education system and actually learn
o Girls exhibit a greater “readiness to learn”, displaying stronger communication
skills, abilities to use symbols, independence, self-control and attention. Girls are
also seen to exhibit more pro-social behaviour
Boys are now being seen as underrepresented and are viewed negatively in the school
o Many boys are viewed as hyperactive and inattentive, and are more likely to be
classified as “at risk” or special needs (ex. ADHD/ADD). This means that they are
problemized and do not fit well with the education model, and so do worse in
o Boys are now more likely to drop out of high school than girls
Educational policies have historically emphasized women’s caregiving roles, reinforcing
the subordinate placement of women and barring them from entering many of the
educational programs available to boys
o Nowadays, women’s access to post-secondary education in Canada is equal to
that of men’s
o The level of education for women has surpassed men’s at every level but the
o But, women are still underrepresented in certain male-dominated programs
such as: technical trades, math and engineering
Women entering post-secondary education still adhere to traditional gender roles.
Some fields of education are feminized, and seen as the proper place for girls (education
is not gender neutral, and it acts to stream children into careers based on their
genders). These are typically extensions of the homemaker’s role; like teaching,
nursing/health or the humanities (caring and nurturing positions). Some positions also
represent the dominant view that men are dominant and women are subordinate, so
the pink collar jobs such as secretaries and welcome desk positions are typically
occupied by females because they act to reinforce gender stereotypes by putting
women into roles where they are under men (subordinate)
Despite earning the same degrees as men, women continue to experience occupational
segregation and receive less for their educational investments than men
o Women still earn less than men in the same jobs, are less likely to be picked for a
promotion or raise and are less likely to occupy higher up supervisor positions
(glass ceiling effect)
o Women still enter health care and caring jobs in higher percentages than men,
and tend to not enter occupations based on the applied sciences or math
Discuss the findings from the study of musical tastes among Toronto teens by
Tanner, Asbridge, and Wortley using Mannheim’s theory. In what ways do the
findings support Mannheim’s ideas, contradict them, or suggest modifications and
additions to them?
Mannheim‘s definition of generation
20 - a group of individuals of similar ages whose members have experienced a noteworthy
historical event within a set period of time
- social consciousness and perspective of youth reaching maturity in a particular time and
place is significantly influenced by the major historical events of that era
- major historical event has to occur, and has to involve the individuals in their young age
(thus shaping their lives, as later experiences will tend to receive meaning from those
early experiences); a mere chronological contemporaneity is not enough to produce a
common generational consciousness
- Mannheim in fact stressed that not every generation will develop an original and
distinctive consciousness.Whether a generation succeeds in developing a distinctive
consciousness is significantly dependent on the pace of social change
Mannheim notes also that social change can occur gradually, without the need for major
historical events, but those events are more likely to occur in times of accelerated social and
cultural change. Mannheim did also note that the members of a generation are internally
stratified, thus they may view different events from different angles and thus are not totally
homogenous. Even with the "generation in actuality", there may be a differing forms of response
to the particular historical situation, thus stratifying by a number of "generational units"
Mannheim argues that, once our views are formed, they stick with us and shape all our later
-for example, once a person has a taste for diversity, he/she will pursue and value
culturally diverse experiences for the rest of her/his life
If so, different generations have different typical cultural repertoires, with the possibility of
cultural conflicts between generations.
Though Mannheim also notes that people of different generations interact, and there is a lot of
inter-generational taste transfer too.
Critics towards Mannheim‘s idea
1) People in different social locations will get different degrees of exposure to different parts of
the current cultural scene
-e.g. those with more education will encounter more of the kinds of culture that schools
encourage, such as current literature and avant-garde cinema
2) People react to the cultural elements of their time in different ways.
Mannheim argues that generations are divided into ―generation units‖ or sets of people, who
interact, react and discuss, and gradually build up their own orientations in different ways
specific to each subculture.
21 -historical example: the 60s generation stereotype features ―sex, drugs, and rock and roll‖
plus political activity for civil rights and against the Vietnam War. Some young people in
the 60s were doing all that, while others were doing the opposite.
Musical Taste among Toronto Teens by Tanner, Asbridge and Worley
- Tanner and other 2 authors identify several kinds of musical taste, and then report on
the age/gender/ethnicity and class of the students who share each taste package.
- They find little impact of family class on musical taste, contrary to what Bourdieu
- They have a wonderful sample of Toronto high school students and can show their
different patterns of tastes, and which students tend to have which taste patterns. Since, this is a
survey so we do not have any information on HOW all this happens
- In the conclusion, the authors ask whether high school subcultures have implications for
success in later life – including success in education and work.
- Initial analysis thus suggests that musical tastes are largely differentiated by race and
ethnicity and to a smaller degree by gender and age
- Unsure whether to question Bourdieu‘s emphasis on social class as a differentiator of
musical taste or to flag its waning influence
- The socioeconomic status characteristics of parents are not particularly noticeable
predictors of their children‘s musical preferences
- Students‘ own educational achievements appear to exert a stronger influence on their
Divided sample into 7 categories
Club Kids - above average enjoyment of techno and dance, mainstream pop, and hip-hop and
Black Stylists - enthusiastic listeners of soul, rhythm, and blues, hip-hop, and reggae and dance
hall, and are considerably less enthusiastic about everything else
New Traditionalists - above average liking of classical music and opera, jazz, soul, rhythm, and
blues, country music and mainstream pop
Hard Rockers - sizeable number of heavy metal and hard rock, alternative, punk and grunge fans
Musical Abstainers - no specific interest in music genres
22 Ethnic Culturists - dominant preference for a quite wide range
of ethnic music, as well as a greater than average liking for soul and R&B, jazz, classical music
and opera, country music techno and dance, and mainstream pop
Musical Omnivores - composed of those who have an above average appreciation for all eleven
- Black Stylists and Club Kids are relatively unambitious, planning for no more than an
undergraduate education. Likewise, they were the only two groups for whom musical
taste and educational plans correlated significantly
- Partial support for this proposition is found when we examine links between cultural
capital, our final independent variable, and musical taste. We find that students in
possession of cultural capital are significantly more likely to be Musical Omnivores, New
Traditionalists, and Hard Rockers; those bereft of cultural capital are likely to be Club
Kids and Black Stylists, while being an Ethnic Cultureless or Musical Abstainer is
unconnected to cultural capital
This suggests that at least some of our respondents‘ cultural capital resources had been acquired
from parents, and that therefore some of the relationship between cultural capital and musical
taste can be understood as an indirect parental legacy. At the same time, the link between
students‘ cultural capital and their musical tastes are net of their status origins – suggesting
relatively autonomous effects of cultural capital as well
Overall, findings confirm that musical preferences give focus and definition to certain peer group
activities. Black Stylists and Club Kids are heavily involved in peer leisure and hedonistic
leisure, whereas New Traditionalists and Ethnic Culturalists are comparatively uninvolved. Some
of this activity has the potential to influence the course of school to work transitions. A criminal
conviction for illicit activities or drug use, for instance, is likely to lead to lowered educational
and occupational attainments. In this regard, it is interesting to note the willingness of the Hard
Rockers, a group reasonably well stocked with academic and cultural capital, to jeopardize their
– and their parents‘ – investment through their pursuit of risky leisure practices.
Findings suggest that the musical preferences of Toronto high school students are both varied
and structured, though not necessarily in ways envisaged by theoretical sources, and are linked to
forms of, and degrees of, involvement in peer group activity.
Bourdieu is primarily concerned with the impact of social class on cultural consumption. Among
our adolescents, however, their own educational experiences and cultural capital are more
important immediate influences on musical taste
The weak direct effects of parental social class and stronger independent effects of schooling and
cultural capital suggest that current musical preferences more likely foreshadow their future
status destinations than reflect their status origins, and that the school is therefore not just a site
of class reproduction, as Bourdieu supposes. Moreover, while race and ethnicity play little part in
23 Bourdieu‘s analysis of cultural stratification, those factors emerge as important determinants of
taste in their research
A limitation of the present research is this research has a little firsthand information about
how young people acquire knowledge about, and evaluates, different musical genres – in a
word, how they use subcultural capital. Questions of this sort are probably better
addressed with more qualitative research designs; and indeed more recent studies of
young people, music, and youth culture have employed qualitative methods
Tanner, Asbridge and Wortley hypothesize that high status origins, academic achievement,
educational ambition and cultural capital lead to preferences of socially acceptable for adult
approved musical genres. On the other hand, low status origins, academic underachievement,
modest educational plans and lack of cultural capital, will result in music preference that the
adult world and school devalues and disapproves. They also mention that peer group activity is
linked to musical taste.
Findings suggest that the musical preferences of Toronto high school students are both varied
and structured, though not necessarily in ways envisaged by our theoretical sources, and are
linked to forms of, and degrees of, involvement in peer group activity. Adolescents own
educational experiences and cultural capital is a more important immediate inﬂuence on musical
taste than social class. That parental social class shows a weak direct effect and schooling and
cultural capital show a stronger independent effect suggest that that current musical preferences
more likely to foreshadow future status destinations than reﬂect their status origins, and that the
school is therefore not just a site of class reproduction. Mannheim mentions that as a child one
lives in a culturally homogenous world. Relatives, friends and school mates have similar social
and cultural statuses than the wider society; as one ages and starts to enter the larger society
(bigger schools, work force, etc.) do they learn new things. That one‘s high school musical
preference is in accordance with one‘s peers and cultural capital rather than one‘s parent‘s makes
sense as these kids are in larger schools compared to elementary schools and are thus exposed to
a more diverse peer group allowing them to develop culture and tastes they are otherwise not
exposed to. Even those that did show a liking for classical music and opera, while they are the
academic elite, their taste in music cannot be classified as highbrow as they like popular music
more and there is no evidence of distancing or rejection from popular music. Omnivores in this
study like all musical genres equally, with the exception of country music. These students, while
well-resourced with cultural capital, are not part of the academic elite. Studies of musical
preference should be conducted as these students‘ age into their university and work force
careers, as according to Mannheim individuals continue to learn throughout the life course and
one‘s preferences really grow and change as an individual grows into adulthood (roughly the
ages of 17-24). During this time individuals may pick up different social groups, and culture that
24 influences their musical taste, which may then project future social status to a greater extent.
Mannheim argues that people form their world views during the transition from youth to
adulthood, because this is a period of ―fresh encounter‖ with the wider world of history and
Mannheim is primarily concerned with the impact of generation (time-specific social locations that are
similar to social-class locations and that might give rise to group conflict and consciousness) on cultural
consumption. In the transition to adulthood, young people encounter the wider world (bigger schools,
meet a wider range of people, learn about a wider range of cultural possibilities; acquire more rights and
responsibilities, so paying attention comes to seem important and worthwhile; interest in politics begins to
grow; will get a job, so the economy and the worlds of work attract new attention; can consume more and
more, more at one‘s own will, so consumer tastes develop at an accelerating rate).
--Generations are heterogeneous:
-People growing to adulthood at the same time are potentially exposed to the same
prevailing cultural climate, but:
1) People in different social locations will get different degrees of exposure to different
parts of the current cultural scene (e.g. those with more education will encounter more of the
kinds of culture that schools encourage, such as current literature and avant-garde cinema)
2) People react to the cultural elements of their time in different ways.
-Mannheim argues that generations are divided into ―generation units‖ or sets of people
who interact, react and discuss, and gradually build up their own orientations in different
ways specific to each subculture (e.g. the 60s generation stereotype features ―sex, drugs,
and rock and roll‖ plus political activity for civil rights and against the Vietnam War.
Some young people in the 60s were doing all that, while others were doing the opposite)
DIFFERENT TASTE GROUPS IN TANNER ET AL. STUDY:
The largest group (n = 616) is composed of those who report an above average enjoyment of
techno and dance, mainstream pop, and hip-hop and rap. We refer to these adolescents as the
Next is a similar-sized (n = 605) group of adolescents who are enthusiastic listeners of soul,
rhythm, and blues, hip-hop, and reggae and dance hall, and are considerably less enthusiastic
about everything else. We refer to them as Black Stylists.
Then there is a fairly large (n = 482) grouping of youth who have an above average liking of
classical music and opera, jazz, soul, rhythm, and blues, country music and mainstream pop.
Because classical music and opera are constituents of this cluster, we refer to this group as the
New Traditionalists, although it is the Omnivores, to be discussed in a moment, who are the
most appreciative of those genres.
The fourth largest (n = 425) group comprises a sizeable number of heavy metal and hard rock,
alternative, punk and grunge fans – designated by us as Hard Rockers.
Then there is a surprisingly large (n = 384) group of adolescents who are generally only
marginally interested in any kind of music. Needless to say, not much attention has been paid to
Musical Abstainers, as we will call them, in previous research, the usual assumption being that
music is a uniformly high priority for all adolescents.
The group we call the Ethnic Culturalists are so described because of a dominant preference for
a quite wide range of ethnic music, as well as a greater than average liking for soul and R&B,
jazz, classical music and opera, country music techno and dance, and mainstream pop.
25 The smallest group (n = 338), referred to here as the Musical Omnivores, is composed of those
who have an above average appreciation for all eleven musical genres.
--As Mannheim might predict, people tend to share tastes with their friends. The overlap is not
huge, but the tendency is very strong statistically.
-Overall, their findings confirm that musical preferences give focus and definition to
certain peer group activities. Black Stylists and Club Kids are heavily involved in peer
leisure and hedonistic leisure, whereas New Traditionalists and Ethnic Culturalists are
comparatively uninvolved. Some of this activity has the potential to influence the course
of school to work transitions. A criminal conviction for illicit activities or drug use, for
instance, is likely to lead to lowered educational and occupational attainments. In this
regard, it is interesting to note the willingness of the Hard Rockers, a group reasonably
well stocked with academic and cultural capital, to jeopardize their – and their parents‘ –
investment through their pursuit of risky leisure practices.
- High school is a catalyst for adolescent peer group activity
What additions or modifications to Mannheim’s ideas do the findings suggest?
Their findings suggest that people tend to share tastes with their friends because the
activities they are involved in with their peers are likely to affect their academic
achievement, educational ambition and cultural capital, which in turn lead to preferences
for musical genres. (e.g. low status origins, academic underachievement, modest
educational plans and lack of cultural capital result in a preference for musical forms that
school and the adult world disapproves of and devalues). Musical taste is linked to
peer group activity. Musical consumption is related to subcultural
behaviour. There is an inverse relationship between musical clusters that include
legitimate or respectable genres and peer leisure activity, particularly its most delinquent
manifestations. Preference patterns that revolve around rap are directly related to peer
leisure activity, especially its more disreputable versions.
Students‘ own educational achievements appear to exert a stronger influence on their
musical preferences. Table III demonstrates that this is particularly the case with those
students least likely to be regarded by the school as good ones. Black Stylists report
school suspension, frequent absence from school, and a paucity of ‗A‘ grades, more so
than other musical clusters.
--The dynamics of taste formation seem to be different in different subgroups.
In what ways do the findings contradict Mannheim’s ideas?
--While race and ethnicity play little part in Mannheim‘s theory (more so interested in world
events and trends, and politics), those factors emerge as important determinants of taste in
Tanner‘s, Asbridge‘s, and Wortely‘s findings.
Club Kids are younger, mainly white, with smaller numbers of black and Asian students.
Black Stylists are also younger, largely, though not exclusively, black, with some South
Asian representation. New Traditionalists are older, more likely female than male (in
fact, they are the musical cluster most dominated by females), with a substantially high
proportion of Asian students. Ethnic Culturalists have a similar profile: older, but with a
significantly larger Asian and South Asian membership. The Hard Rockers are younger,
predominately male, and overwhelmingly white, with Black students conspicuously
absent from this group. Most studies of young people and music note that music
devotees tend to be male (Frith 1978b). However, our findings suggest the opposite pattern as
well: abstainers are predominantly male and largely white, though not significantly so.
26 Discuss the findings from the study of musical tastes among Toronto teens by
Tanner, Asbridge, and Wortley How are musical tastes related to gender, ethnicity,
and school success? What do we learn about gender, ethnic, and scholastic
Bourdieu depicts culture as a resource used by powerful individuals and groups to
establish, maintain, and reproduce their social status.
High school is a competitive, status conscious arena where rank and standing matter
Cultural capital (important for school success) is less strongly tied to parental background
than Bourdieu supposes
Gendered media usage – girls like teeny bop boy bands, romance, softer mainstream; boys
like to reinforce masculinity
Musical Taste Ethnicity Gender, School Success
Club Kids White young -Modest with goals,
Techno/dance, Some Asians and unambitious
mainstream pop, Blacks - Higher rates of absence
hiphop/rap -Greater involvement in
Dislike everything else delinquency
- unlikely to be “A”
Black Stylists Black young -Modest with goals,
Likes: Hiphop/rap, Some South Asians unambitious
reggae/dancehall, soul/ -Higher rates of suspension and
Dislike everything else -Greater involvement in
- unlikely to be “A”
- More likely to have working
New Traditionalist Asian Female -uni-educated mom
Classical, opera, jazz, Older -Possesses cultural capital
soul/ r&b, country, -“A” students
mainstream -No delinquent activities, never
skips, never suspended
Hard Rockers White Male Possess cultural capital
Heavy metal, rock, No Black Young -don’t get good grades but
alternative, punk, think education is important
Dislike everything else
Music Abstainers White Male -Good attendance
27 (marginally interested -no connection with cultural
in any music) capital
-Less likely to have uni-
Ethnic Culturalist Asians and South Older -less likely to have a working
Ethnic, soul, r&b, jazz, Asians and uni-educated mom
classical, opera, -no delinquent activity
Omnivores Asians Older Possess cultural capital
appreciation for all
Club Kids and Black Stylists were the only groups where education correlated significantly.
School variables have a scattered taste for remaining group. Can’t use school to predict
other tastes, especially for omnivores and ethnic.
Criminal conviction for illicit activities is likely to lead to lowered educational and
occupational attainment. CK and BS engage in the most leisure time and hedonistic activity
like drug use.
Parental effects are not salient, but they exert some influence.
Tanner, Asbridge, and Wortley Paper;
This is used as a prelude to the actual study and is relevant to the discussion
Musical likes and dislikes are usually understood as matters of personal taste,
connections between social stratification and cultural stratification have been made
Most famous proponent of this position is now Pierre Bourdieu
o Depicts culture as a resource used by powerful individuals and groups to
establish, maintain, and reproduce social status
Paper is concerned with the sources of variation in musical tastes among young people
and takes Bourdieu‘s ideas and legacy as a starting point
Sample of 3400 highschool students in Toronto
Stratifying effects of music may be especially pronounced among young people (prime
consumers of popular music), and those most attuned to the often quite nuanced stylistic
differences between and within musical genres
According to Bourdieu, schools are shaping highschool student‘s musical tastes
This paper provides the observation that peer groups provide their members with an
identity and sense of belonging different from, and sometimes in conflict with, that
bestowed by the family or sponsored by the school
o Academically successful students eschew peer group activity or orient themselves
towards adult approved versions of it
28 o Less successful embroil themselves in anti-school subcultures in which popular
music is used as a symbolic expression of rebellion or resistance
o British research on social bases of adolescent musical taste cultures began in
1960s and 70s
o Class background and school experiences were crucial influences
Older, academically oriented, middle class students preferred progressive
Younger, ordinary adolescents from varied backgrounds and academic
abilities preferred mainstream pop
o The same patterns were being reported among Canadian adolescents
Identification of an association between a taste for heavy metal rock and
low school achievement
These findings indicate an emerging cultural hierarchy within popular
music – a legitimate preference for progressive rock juxtaposed to a more
oppositional interest in heavy metal
Consistent with Bourdieu‘s depiction of dominant and subordinate cultural
Roe has deployed Bourdieu‘s ideas to chart connections between young people‘s status
origin‘s, educational experiences, and patterns of media use
He reports in this study:
o Students who anticipate and achieve more education, align themselves with
o Those whose background and especially school experience had worked to
suppress educational ambition preferred heavy metal
Musical preferences and occupational expectations are similarly linked
Adolescents who envisage high status as adults prepare for that outcome by aligning
themselves with the cultural traits they believe are most appropriate for their future status
destination – a process that happens in reverse for heavy metal fans
Recasting Bourdieu: omnivores and univores in North America
Michelle Lamont found in a comparative study of the US and France, that, Americans,
instead of restricting themselves to traditional elite culture, they display their superiority
by a willingness and ability to engage with both highbrow and popular artforms
o As a result, the boundaries of legitimate culture have broadened
Richard Peterson‘s work best illustrates this:
o As well as supporting the aforementioned, he contends that low status individuals
and groups, rather than immersing themselves in an undifferen