How do we arrive at our musical taste? Is musical taste an individual consideration or purely a product of our social circumstances? How do people acquire musical taste and what do they use the music for?
The pure intention of this essay is to decode and critically examine the meaning of taste in a sociological attempt, of how we acquire and arrive at our musical taste and what we use the music for, with the support of different arguments presented in intellectually defused articles of numerous sociologists like Pierre Bourdieu, David Hargreaves and Adrian North, Antoine Hennion and others.
Pierre Bourdieu (1984,p.1) brilliantly supports that “ whereas the ideology of charisma regards taste in legitimate culture as a gift of nature, scientific observation shows that cultural needs are the product of upbringing and education”. Empirical investigations establish that the level of education measured by qualifications or length of schooling is closely related with the frequency of participating in all cultural practices like museum visits or concert going and preferences in literature, painting or music. Home background and education are strongly attached with social origin and their weight on taste is a variable changing according to different cultural practices as taught in the educational system or built in social culture out of school.
Taste can be claimed as a clear element of cultural nobility which has to be earned through the family inheritance which consists of the chromosomes of earlier parental generation qualities and is determined by the family status and environment where the individual adjusts his abilities and judgments. Bourdieu (1984,p.2) strongly supports that “a work of art has meaning and interest only for someone who possesses the cultural competence, that is, the code , into which it is encoded”. This means that this symbolic code presupposes that the individual has to gain the proper kind of cultural capital. With this on mind, school plays a very important role and most of the times forms an irrevocable direction for taste based on their curriculums and their cultural demands. Taste is delicately sculptured and the individual develops an individual autonomous democratic right of choosing its own art products. The reflexive nature of taste is almost the definition of the influences and the stimuli of family and school which mark in an irrevocable manner, non excluding the taste evolution to specific modern art products within the society. The argument of Christenson and Peterson (1988,p.82) that there is not a direct adoption of parental preferences and tastes is not convincing as it is showed from their research that some teens look to their parents for musical influence or like the music their parents listen.
Michelle Olivier (2001) in Taste culture, the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences acknowledges that taste is the ability to make autonomous discriminating judgments about aesthetic and artistic matters. Socially examined subjects, one of which is the selection of the right product of art, or any other product that exists in the modern entity, are always classified by their classifications such as the sociology driving forces, the ideology by widely known as the charisma with regards to cultural legitimate products, the upbringing and education, the cultural nobility resulting from the individual education and its absorbance level of family and socializing incentives. Similarly the consumption through the autonomic and artistic production level which distinguishes someone from the “naïve” spectator and the popular ethos and ethnicity, plays a very important role on individuals circumstances and the “like” in contrary with “dislike” concept.
A major argument of Distinction (Pierre Bourdieu, 1984) is that the aesthetic sense as appeared in different groups, and the lifestyles affiliated with them define themselves when they are opposite to one...
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