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What Does it Mean to Be a Cultural Omnivore? Conflicting Visions of Omnivorousness in Empirical Research

de Vries, Robert and Reeves, Aaron (2020) What Does it Mean to Be a Cultural Omnivore? Conflicting Visions of Omnivorousness in Empirical Research. Working paper. SSRN (KAR id:80783)

Abstract

The ‘omnivore’ thesis is currently the dominant academic theory of the social patterning of taste. It argues that cultural elites no longer resemble the traditional stereotype of an elitist snob. Instead they are more likely to be ‘omnivores’ with broad tastes encompassing both elite and popular cultural forms. This theory has been researched and debated for more than two decades without a clear resolution.

In this paper we argue that progress in the omnivore debate has been impeded in part due to an elision of two distinct interpretations of the omnivore thesis: a strong interpretation, which holds that cultural elites are generally averse to class-based exclusivity; and a weak interpretation which holds that, while elites have broad tastes which encompass popular forms, they do not necessarily repudiate class-based exclusion. We demonstrate how drawing this distinction helps to clarify the existing empirical evidence concerning the omnivore hypothesis.

Item Type: Monograph (Working paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: Cultural taste, distinction, elites, exclusivity, omnivores
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Robert De Vries
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2020 06:51 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2020 17:12 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/80783 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
de Vries, Robert: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6776-836X
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