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Pierre Bourdieu's Theory of Taste, Class and Classification in Modern Day Subculture

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Exploring and applying Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of taste, class and classification to modern day subcultures, and examining such results.



The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu was one of the earliest theorists to examine the question of symbolic consumption, outlining in particular the ways in which consumption, s an everyday practice, is implicated in ideology and capitalist hierarchies. (Lewis, J, 2008. P220)

Pierre Bourdieu, born and raised in France was a sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher. He was well educated and came from a modest social background. While working as a teacher he was deployed to Algeria during its War of Independence. After serving his time in Algeria, he stayed there and wrote his first book, Sociologie de l’Algeria. It was an instant hit.
Once he returned he worked in many Universities eventually taking over the Centre de Sociologie Européenne, which he directed until his death.
His work emphasized the social dynamics and the frameworks in which society was constructed. Bourdieu pioneered investigative terminologies such as the cultural, social and symbolic capital as well as the concepts of the habitus.
He looked to fellow theorists such as Karl Marx, Max Weber and Ludwig Wittenstein in his work. He also rejected the idea of the ‘total intellectual’ as embodied by Jean-Paul Sartre. (Wikipedia, 2014)
He is best known for his book, In Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (Bourdieu, P, 1984).
This book outlines the various ways in which people conduct their lives in reflection to one another and social institutions.
Bourdieu establishes his belief in how taste functions as a type of social structure, a guideline to society’s orientation in education, social ...


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...2nd ed. London: SAGE Publications. p3-20.
Lewis, J (2008). Cultural Studies The Basics. 2nd ed. London: SAGE Publications. P220-222
Lewis, J (2008). Cultural Studies The Basics. 2nd ed. London: SAGE Publications. P395-403

Alfrey, L,M. 2010, The Search for Authenticity: How Hipsters Transformed from a
Local Subculture to a Global Consumption Collective', MA thesis, Georgetown University, Washington DC, viewed 10 April 2014,

Shenkman, M. (2011). Bourdieu’s Theory and the Hipster in Society . Available: https://www.academia.edu/2007795/Bourdieus_Theory_and_the_Hipster_in_Society. Last accessed 12 April 2014.

Wikipedia. (2014). Cultural hegemony. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_hegemony. Last accessed 12 April 2014.

Wikipedia. (2014). Pierre Bourdieu. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Bourdieu. Last accessed 1st March 2014.



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