Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bourdie - "Artistic Taste and Cultural Capital"

Bourdieu, Pierre. "Artistic Taste and Cultural Capital." From Alexander, Jeffrey C., and Steven Seidman. Culture and Society: Contemporary Debates. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Originally published 1968

Bourdieu describes how elite art becomes elite art, creating a separation between those who can appreciate and access meaning within art and those who cannot. Education is the separating factor. Those who have been educated to appreciate fine arts - the canon of artists, periods, schools, movements, etc - are the only ones who can fully appreciate them.

The museum offers free entrance, but this is "false generosity" because it is also optional entrance, and only those with the privilege to enjoy the experience are likely to use this option. Thus, culture itself becomes a force which legitimizes certain classes.

Key Quote
"The school in fact is the institution which, through its outwardly irreproachable verdicts, transforms socially conditioned inequalities in regard to culture into inequalities of success, interpreted as inequalities of gifts which are also inequalities of merit." (212)

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