Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste

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Routledge, Apr 15, 2013 - Philosophy - 640 pages
No judgement of taste is innocent - we are all snobs. Pierre Bourdieu's Distinction brilliantly illuminates the social pretentions of the middle classes in the modern world, focusing on the tastes and preferences of the French bourgeoisie. First published in 1979, the book is at once a vast ethnography of contemporary France and a dissection of the bourgeois mind. In the course of everyday life we constantly choose between what we find aesthetically pleasing, and what we consider tacky, merely trendy, or ugly. Taste is not pure. Bourdieu demonstrates that our different aesthetic choices are all distinctions - that is, choices made in opposition to those made by other classes. This fascinating work argues that the social world functions simultaneously as a system of power relations and as a symbolic system in which minute distinctions of taste become the basis for social judgement.
 

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User Review  - le.vert.galant - LibraryThing

It's dated, overlong, and the prose is convoluted; however, the insights into the social construction of taste are thought provoking. Why do we like what we like? How much of our preferences are due ... Read full review

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User Review  - jonsweitzerlamme - LibraryThing

This is a slog. It was not encouraging, when it was assigned, that my professor assured me that it was just as incomprehensible in French. Read full review

Contents

Part II The Economy of Practices
91
Part III Class Tastes and LifeStyles
255
Classes and Classifications
468
Towards a Vulgar Critique of Pure Critiques
487
Appendix 1 Some Reflections on the Method
503
Appendix 2 Complementary Sources
521
Appendix 3 Statistical Data
527
A Parlour Game
538
Notes
554
Index
599
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