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Distinction (Routledge Classics) Paperback – 12 Mar 2010
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'In this rich and probing guide to the strategies of pretension in contemporary France, Bourdieu describes how class segments separate from each other by their contrasting attitudes towards art and beauty.' - The Observer
From the Back Cover
This is at once a vast ethnography of contemporary France and a dissection of the bourgeois mind. The subject is the study of culture, and the objective is most ambitious: to provide an answer to the problems raised by Kant's Critique Of Judgment by showing why no judgment of taste is innocent.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In a nutshell, the book describes how a person's taste is a product not just of their own innate desires, but is actually something that comes from that person's position in the social field. A central concept employed by Bordieu is that of 'habitus': this is essentially a distillation of our own objective social position, which fundamentally determines the choices we make as we go about the business of living our lives. Another central concept is that of capital. Bourideu argues that different types of groups are generally in possession of different types of capital; some groups possess economic capital (i.e.Read more ›
The thesis in brief: Aesthetic judgment as such is intended to construct a mystified form of social superiority. High culture defines itself by devising endless baroque unsatisfying "aesthetic" pleasures. Angry professors play the game harder than anyone, and resent the fact that it doesn't make them rich. The workers know they can't really play at all, but must give it a go, and look silly. Even the most angry leftists fail to recognise the cultural machine of their alienation, and find themselves helpless in its grip. The bureaucratic and professional Top Cats (this is France, after all...), the products of the grandes e'coles, know (without realising) that it's all a game for their benefit, and escape the trap by not being serious about what they make everyone else worry over - thereby establishing their "natural" right to inherit everything and rule the world.
The book is nostalgic for "pure" class politics (precisely as a guarantee of Bourdieu's purity of heart, to be proven to a purely academic audience). Thus, we have direct, deeply reverent, appeals to Marx (and hardly anyone else), and gush about the "realism" of the working class, the Worker as Noble Savage, deprived and oppressed and confused but mysteriously In Touch with Really Important Stuff. Mysticism is predictably derided.
The annoying thing is that Bourdieu is very, very penetrating and intelligent.Read more ›
The text contains not one redundant word, but does not devalue itself by brevity. It states, without apology, the factors that militate upon taste in social classes. Whilst the analysis is broadly of the Marxist discipline, the author factors in opinions upon developing trends in taste, particularly in regard to fast food, that display original thought not corralled by slavish adherence to doctrinaire requirements.
As a trained Chef and a qualified Social Scientist, I found this book to be perceptive from both viewpoints. Furthermore, the intensity of the arguments, the quality of language employed and the cogency of the authors intellectual debate put to shame the rambling, inconclusive and theory-riddled works of Sociological Post-Modernists who apologetically paw at truth like an elderly bachelor feeling middle-aged cabbages in a dowdy market.
Thoroughly and totally recommended. An academic gem in these days of fudge.
The non workers drink strong lager, the middle classes drink strong wine but all get drunk on the meaninglessness of the system they have created. The non workers listen to rap the middle classes listen to something unstructured. Holidays in Spain, holidays in Thailand, Peckham and Barking becomes Clapham and Notting Hill. Areas of geography and taste intertwine to demarcate "us and "them."
The problems with MC Culture, as Bourdieu points out is its inherent sterility. "Culture" is composed of a collection of sterile facades masquerading as roles that need to be imbibed to create the habitus. Ultimately all is ersatz and fake. The middle class habitus also co-exists in a tension with the upper class culture. Whilst the middle classes have morality, the upper classes have none. They are the despoilers and live a life like the poor, except they have "class" and money, but are equally morally dysfunctional, according to the middle class habitus. The middle classes are entrapped in a strange dynamic of fawning and anatogonism when compared to the upper classes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Book came in perfect condition like described! The context itself is very complex but very interesting and perfect for my dissertation!Published 20 months ago by Danielle
if the publishers (who expect you to pay GBP 16.55 for this facsimile) really valued this work, they could have invited the translator to correct some of the errors in translation... Read morePublished 23 months ago by R. A. Nice
A classical sociological reading. However, it is very difficult and you might want to search for interpretations of different authors as well, to come to an understanding of the... Read morePublished on 7 Sept. 2013 by alex zeeuw
bought as a gift, for someone who specifically wanted to read it.
As I haven't read it myself yet, I've been asked for a review, and I feel I should make an... Read more
This book is a unique piece of sociological literature. I am not a big fan of french thinkers, but this books allows a deep knowledge of the sociology of taste. Read morePublished on 3 April 2012 by So many books, so little time