Seminar Week 5 – Chavs: Social Class and Taste Taste, Classification, Social Structure
Karl Marx – Social Class Theory• Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) developed the Social Class Theory• Influenced by the Industrial Revolution• According to Marx, the structure of society depends on the way production is organised (technology, division of labour)• The dominant class directs and owns the means of production while the other class produces and serves the dominant class
Your opinion• On a piece of paper or your laptop, write down a few words that you associate with the people in this picture.
Pierre Bourdieu: Practice, Habitus and Field• Tools to explain social structure and interaction• Social Practice – happens in space and time (context), not conscious (game), is often improvised according to individual goals (no written rules; adaptation)• Habitus – an acquired system of values, shaped by one’s context and conditions; Hexis – the habitus embodied and practiced socially (ways of talking, dressing, etc.)• Field – ‘Structured system of social positions *...+ which defines the situation of their occupants. It is also a system of forces which exist between these positions’ (Jenkins 1996: 85)
Distinction• Published in France, 1979• There is nothing individual about taste: it is socially produced• ‘Cultural classification systems are rooted in the class system’ (138)• Taste and preferences correspond to education level and social class – class as lifestyle
Distinction: Habitus and Social Class• ‘Social class is not defined solely by a position in the relations of production, but by the class habitus which is ‘normally’ (i.e., with a high statistical probability) associated with that position. (Bourdieu, 1996: 372)
Distinction: Power Relations• Within this cultural taste model, the working- class aesthetic is dominated and it has to define itself in relation to the dominant one• ‘Taste unites all those who are the product of similar conditions while distinguishing them from all others’ (101)
QuestionsHow do these videos classify ‘chav’ taste?What power relations do you observe in the taste judgements expressed?How are these views different or similar to the views you expressed earlier?Finally, is Bourdieu’s theory still valid?
References• Jenkins, R 1992 Pierre Bourdieu. London, New York: Routledge• Bourdieu, P. 1996 Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. Paris, London: Routledge