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Pragmatics of Taste

Antoine Hennion


In this chapter we consider the problems facing the sociology of culture with respect to taste. We us primarily to the case of music and its various genres but also include comparisons with other objects of passion such as cookery and wine, or sport. The aim of our research on different forms of attachment was to steer the sociology of taste away from a critical conception that had become dominant, in which taste is conceived only as a passive social game, largely ignorant about itself. How, without endorsing the concomitant reduction of real practices to their hidden social determinants, can we incorporate sociology's contribution? Various studies have proved the over-determined nature of tastes, their function as markers of social differences and identities, their ritualized functioning, relations of domination between high culture and popular culture, etc. (Hoggart, 1957, Toffler 1965, Williams 1982, Bourdieu 1984, Mukerji & Schudson 1991, Lamont & Fournier 1992, Crane 1994). But taste is first and foremost a problematical modality of attachment to the world. In terms of this pragmatic conception it can be analysed as a reflexive activity, "corporated", framed, collective, equipped and simultaneously producing the competencies of an amateur and the repertoire of objects that she/he values.
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halshs-00193146 , version 1 (30-11-2007)


  • HAL Id : halshs-00193146 , version 1


Antoine Hennion. Pragmatics of Taste. JACOBS M., HANRAHAN N. The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Culture, Oxford, Blackwell, pp.131-144, 2005. ⟨halshs-00193146⟩
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