Finding a clue for Unit 2 assignment

  • Theories of Culture, Theories of Production (Bourdieu, Becker and Hesmondhalgh)
    • <The Field of Cultural Production> Bourdieu P. (1993)
    • <Art World> Becker H. 2008
    • <Cultural Studies Approaches>> Hesmondhalgh D.  (2012)
  • Makers and Consumers of Culture (Richard Florida)
  • The Value of Culture (Dave O’Brien, Robert Hewison, L. MacDowall et al.)
    • O’Brien D. (2014)
    • Hewison R. (2014)
    • MacDowall (2015)
  • Creative Economy (Hesmondhalgh, Davies & Sigthorsson, Howkins, DeFillippi, R. and P. Wikström, WiI )
    • Howkins J. (2013)
  • Art Market (Anna Dempster, Georgina Adam)
    •  Dempster A. M. (2014)

“Given that works of art exist as symbolic objects only if they are known and recognized, that is, socially instituted as works of art and received by spectators capable of knowing and recognizing them as such, the sociology of art and literature has to take its object not only the material production but also the symbolic production of the work, i,e, the production of the value of the work or, which amounts to the same thing, of belief in the value of the work.  (Bourdieu, 1993)

What is capital? and what is cultural capital? 

  • Capital poses power: Economic power is not simply assessed by material indicators; its true power derives from its symbolic power within
  • Economic and cultural capital are interrelated, and can be converted into each other;
  • Capitals can be converted from one field to another, though the rate of conversion varies. The notion of culture as “currency”, which can also be viewed as economic capital that reproduce or change positions, is particularly related to the practice of the arts and cultural industries.
  • Cultural capital can be a quality that has been embedded into one’s habitus (one’s appreciation for art) or take the form of objectified resources (cultural goods, books etc.) or scholastic/cultural credentials (e.g., the prestige of ivy league)
  • In the arts and cultural industries, cultural or symbolic goods are consumed not only physically, but by apprehending their meanings. Thus appreciation and understanding of the goods are needed, which can be achieved thru the possession of cultural capital.
  • However, the transmission of cultural capital is not automatic, and it must be activated by agency to facilitate the understanding of the meanings of goods

For Becker, “works of art can be understood by viewing them as the result of the co-ordinated activities of all the people whose co-=operation is necessary in order that the work should occur as it does. Consequently the inquiry must extend to all those who contribute to this result, i.e, the people who conceive the idea of the work; people who execute it; people who provided the necessary equipment and material; and people who make up the audience for the work.

What is habitus? 

  • Habitus predisposes a class to certain goods, practices and people, and provides a unity of style to these activities and opinions. It is a product of differences from occupation, income and education levels etc.
  • Habitus is a sphere that directs our “cultural choice”; it lies beyond rule and norm, and enables us to classify, relate to or distance from ourselves the dispositions.  However, our ability to assess or elect the dispositions does not always define or finalise our cultural practices
  • People are not only driven by habitus in their patterns of consumption and decisions making. people engage in the pursuit of distinction in an attempt to achieve status and prestige. But they aren’t simply driven by material interests. ” Playing Sports”
  • Social life as a game: social practices can be interpreted as actions in relation to “exchanges and cultural meanings/symbolic games, and form the logic of practices, though not strictly driven by rules or cultures.
  • Social practices are similar to “symbolic gymnastics”; for the practices to develop, training, observance of rules, and external factors are required
  • Habitus enables people to have both vision and division; things we know we like, and things we consider different because they are above or below us
  • All “players” in the game have schema to tell the differencxes between material and cultural goods of at different levels

What is a field

  • A field is constituted of a hierarchy of perceptions and conceptions of the social world. Numerous agents that affect different forms of capital exist within a field
  • Field can be perceived at both individual & group levels; at the group level, fields are viewed as being composed of group interactions that are governed by their possession of capitals specific to the fields
  • A field is also characteristed by dominant types of capital, and follows the logic of capital, by which individuals compete, struggle and strategize for capital, though such acts depend on distinctive interests, power and conflicts
  • The literary or artistics field is a field of forces, but it is also a field of struggles tending to transform or conserve this field of forces. The network of objective relations between positions subtends and orients the strategies which the occupants of the different positions implement in their struggles to defend or improve their positions, strategies which depend for their force and form on the position each agent occupies in the power relations
  • When we speak of a field of position -takings, we are insisting that what can be consitituted as a system for the sake of analysis is not the product of a coherence-seeking intention or an objective consensus… but the product and prize of a permanent conflict; or, to put it another way, that the generative, unifying principle of this system is the struggle.
  • The struggle in the field of cultural production over the imposition of the legitimate mode of cultural production is inseparable from the struggle within the dominant class (with the opposition between artists and bourgeois to impse the dominant principle of domination (P. 41)
  • In other words, the field of cultural production is a site of struggles in which what is at stake is the power to impose the dominant definition of the writer and therefore delimit the population of those entitled to take part in the struggle to define the writer. (p. 42)
  • A field can be viewed as a social microcosm, where practices are entangled with habitus & capital
  • There could be a conflict between the hierarchies of capital within the field since different forms of capital could co-exist in the field. the agents who possess or govern the forms of capital would also face conflicts (p. 39-43)
  • Fields can be represented in the form of (i) artistic production and (ii) high fashion. Such fields, in a state of flux, engendered the players adaptive attitudes and practices to the social world. (adapting to trends, patterns of demands)

What is Class

  • Class is viewed as a ‘space’ where objective positions coexist with symbolic goods (cultural capital) and habitus
  • a real class, as opposed to theoretical classes largely based on occupations, exist in superimposed spaces of objective conditions, symbolic goods and habitus.
  • A class takes into account “differences in materials conditions, market position and position in the relations of production”.
  • “Although there is no question of denying the specific determination exercised by the possibilities inscribed in a given state of the space of position takings… it is not possible, even in the case of the scientific field.. to make the cultural order (episteme) a sort of autonomous, transcendent sphere, capable of developing in accordance with its own laws. “

Class as distinction

  • Classes are not only defined in terms of their objective positions within a social space, but also with regards to relational properties: between groups within the same class; between different types of classes
  • The space of objective positions coexists with the space of lifestyle: both spaces are affected by the matrix of economic and social capital. within the overlap of these spaces, items of cultural consumption tend to group together even though they are from different domains.
  • Different types of cultural products do not separate classes: such degree of separation depends on their extent (number of production), material values, symbolic consumption, and fashioning of lifestyle.
  • Therefore, objective class positions and social origins, as well as factors like income or age, are important to the discussion of distinction.
  • The upper class is more geared towards consumption and appreciation of works of art rather than hobbies or pursuits of arts. what the upper class likes and practices presuppose a culture, which cannot be instilled in people overnight or solely by education.
  • Distinction encompasses what is consumed and practiced, and how such consumption/practices take place. instead of an innate character property, it’s a manner/ a means of showing oneself to the world.
    • Even if two classes consume the same goods, their styles will differ
    • The meaning of a work (artistic, literary, philosophical, etc. ) changes automatically with each change in the field within which it is situated for the spectator or reader.
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