Omnivores Versus Snobs? Musical Tastes In The United States And France
AbstractTwo major theories structure debates on the relationship between socioeconomic status and aesthetic tastes. The distinction hypothesis, developed by French scholars with French data, claims that high-status people with highbrow tastes shun popular culture. The “omnivores” hypothesis, developed by U.S. sociologists with American data, states that highbrow respondents have on the contrary more tolerant and omnivorous musical attitudes than other respondents. Do these propositions reflect real differences between the United States and France with regard to socioeconomic variation in musical tastes, or differing theoretical traditions in the two countries? This research provides some support for both views. An examination of data on musical tastes (Survey of Public Participation in the Arts 2002, Enquête sur les Pratiques Culturelles des Français 2008) reveals a very similar organization of aesthetic judgment in the U.S. and France: in both countries highbrow respondents are omnivorous. But significant differences between the two countries are also documented for older cohorts. Older cohorts follow a pattern of distinction in France, but not in the United States. This finding delineates how once-real differences between the two countries in the relationship between socioeconomic status and aesthetic tastes may have been blunted by historical change.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1246.
Date of creation: Jul 2010
Date of revision:
aesthetic tastes; distinction; omnivorousness; France;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
- H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
- O52 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statistics
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Long).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.