Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste

Front Cover
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

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

LibraryThing Review

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


Part II The Economy of Practices
Part III Class Tastes and LifeStyles
Classes and Classifications
Towards a Vulgar Critique of Pure Critiques
Appendix 1 Some Reflections on the Method
Appendix 2 Complementary Sources
Appendix 3 Statistical Data
A Parlour Game

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information