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Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion in Britain Mike Savage, (Sociology & CRESC), University of Manchester.

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Presentation on theme: "Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion in Britain Mike Savage, (Sociology & CRESC), University of Manchester."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion in Britain Mike Savage, (Sociology & CRESC), University of Manchester

2 Researching Cultural capital The concept of cultural capital has been used since the 1960s, especially by educational sociologists, to explain the success of middle class kids in the educational system through their possession of the dispositions and capacities to outperform their peers. Most British sociologists have two very different takes on cultural capital 1. Old-school stratification sociologists have generally been critical of Bourdieu though they have not systematically measured cultural capital directly Halsey and educational inequality (parental education taken as surrogate for cultural capital) Goldthorpe and class inequality (premised on RAT approaches) 2. British cultural sociologists have emphasised (some) theoretical aspects and not his methodological and empirical endeavours Featherstone, Lash & Urry on post-modernism and the new petty bourgoisie the almost exclusive use of qualitative case studies (Charlesworth, Skeggs etc) Tony Bennett, Elizabeth Silva, Alan Warde & I set out to measure cultural capital through emphasising the need to place habitus and cultural capital within the contexts of cultural fields, namely music, reading, film, TV, sports, art, leisure, eating out. (Researchers, Yaojun Li, Modesto Gayo-Cal and Dave Wright)

3 What is cultural capital? Bourdieu sees cultural capital as implicated in the reproduction of class privilege. It involves a distance from everyday life, and some kind of tension between high and low culture, but there are different forms this might take:.. The Kantian aesthetic, distance from the necessary Snob culture or the leisured aesthetic The institutionalised canon (through familiarity with cultural artefacts legitimised in education curriculum) The cultural omnivore (Petersen, Bryson, Erickson) national cultural capital (Hage) These definitions relates to different understandings of the middle class. Is there a divide between industrialists and intellectuals, or can we see them united in a broader service class.

4 CCSE research Project includes 25 focus groups, 60 in depth interviews, and national survey of 1564 respondents, plus ethnic boost of 200. Survey questions on 8 cultural subfields, tapping taste, participation and knowledge TV – stations watched, programmes (dis)liked, frequency of viewing Film - genres & directors (dis)liked, frequency of attendance Music - genres & artists (dis)liked, attendance at musical event Reading – genres and writers (dis)liked, books read, Visual arts – genres & artists (dis)liked, works possessed, Eating out – kind of venues (dis)liked Embodiment – sport, body modification, clothes, household style Also questions on economic and social capital; domestic division of labour; parents cultural interests and background; respondents social, cultural and political attitudes

5 How do we analyse this data? Recent cultural sociology increasingly applies orthodox modelling procedures in recent work, seeking to predict specific kinds of cultural outcomes (see examples in Poetics) The danger is that this uses crude indicators, and the complexity of cultural taste, participation and knowledge is not examined. We were therefore attracted to Abbotts (2001) call for the revival of descriptive quantitative approaches (e.g. factor and cluster analysis, social network analysis) over explanatory methods (e.g regression) which rely on problematic assumptions of general linear reality. This tallies with Bourdieu (1984) and Petersons (1983) call for descriptive quantitative methods as a means of understanding the patterning of culture

6 Using orthodox modelling approaches…. 1. (Pre?) define variables which indicate high culture and see which groups are predisposed to them? Table 1 indicates some of the predictable relationships that can be delineated in this way…..

7 Table 1: Logistic Regression on liking of musical genres RockJazzWorldClassicCountryElectronicHeavy MUrban Female.535*** ***1.302 Age.952*** ***1.063***1.051***.928***.958***.921*** Ethnic minority.226*** ***1.867*1.935* **1.672 O level ***.563** City & Guilds * ** *1.433 A level ***.575*.466** University1.740**1.834* ***.498** Employers3.404**2.775* Self employed * **.856 Hi professional Lo professional * Lo managers Hi supervisor Intermediate Lo supervisor Lo technical1.881* Routine

8 Using orthodox modelling approaches…. 1. (Pre?) define variables which indicate high culture and see which groups are predisposed to them? Table 1 indicates some of the predictable relationships that can be delineated in this way age effects are the most powerful education effects are more powerful than class effects the middle classes like most genres, ethnic effects are powerful in several cases But, lots of odd results, consider Heavy Metal & self employed, Rock music and employers, ethnic minorities liking classical music, etc: 2. We dont get an easy sense of the overall patterning of culture through such methods. Therefore we are keen to describe the nature of cultural taste more fully so that we can interpret inductively which cultural practices, if any, are relationally demarcated from others…. Which explains why we turned to Geometric Data Analysis

9 Geometric Data Analysis (GDA) Aided by Johs Hjellbrekke (Bergen), Brigitte LeRoux, and Henry Rouanet (Paris V). Adapts a form of principal components analysis to locate responses as coordinates in geometric space according to categorized responses to 165 modalities, (derived from 41 questions) covering taste for, and participation in, music, reading, eating out, sport, We can then inductively interpret the axes to empirically assess which cultural practices are related and to consider what forces separate practices out. By superimposing socio-demographic variables on this space of lifestyles we can assess how far the cultural patterns revealed appear to socially structured ….We can read the figures as cultural maps

10 Axis 1 Axis 2 Axis 3 Axis 4 Axis 5 Axis 6 Eigenvalues Variance rates Modified cumulated rates Table 3 Contribution by domain, participation and taste for first four principal axes Axis 1Axis 2Axis 3Axis 4 Partici pation TastePartici pation TastePartici pation TastePartici pation Taste TV Film Books Music V. Art Eating Sport

11 Table. MCA cloud of contributing modalities, axis 1 and 2.

12 The cultural field Mostly likes and engagement Electronic, urban & rock music, modern art, science fiction, TV comedy, playing football, eating Indian and Chinese food Overwhelmingly dislikes and avoidances Especially established cultural forms Watch 5+ hours TV each weekday Mostly likes and engagement Impressionist painting, modern literature, French restaurants, Opera, art galleries, museums, orchestral concerts, stately homes Mostly dislikes and avoidances Especially modern music and art. Also sport and going out. Likes country and western music, musicals, fish & chips

13 Table. MCA cloud of individuals: preferences for classical music lit up, axis 1 and 2.

14 Table. MCA cloud of individuals: frequency of opera attendance lit up, axis 1 and 2.

15 Cultural capital/education/ class

16 The cultural field Mostly likes and engagement Electronic, urban & rock music, modern art, science fiction, TV comedy, playing football, eating indian and chinese food Overwhelmingly dislikes and avoidances Especially high cultural forms Watch 5+ hours TV each weekday Mostly likes and engagement Impressionist painting, modern literature, French restaurants, Opera, art galleries, museums, orchestral concerts, stately homes Mostly dislikes and avoidance Especially modern music and art. Also sport and going out. Likes country and western music, musicals, fish & chips Professional/managerial, well-educated, young Professional/managerial, well-educated, older Routine jobs, poorly educated, young Routine jobs, poorly educated, older

17 So, is there cultural capital in the UK? There are powerful structural divisions within the cultural field, though these vary between domains. But, no primary divide between the Kantian (intellectual) and the leisured (industrialist) aesthetic. The middle classes are increasingly attracted to omnivore taste, meaning that the divide between high and popular culture is replaced by that between multiply engaged and disengaged. Age effects are powerful, and neglected. This is all bounded within a white ethnic framing.


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