The omnivore thesis revisited: Voracious cultural consumers

Oriel Sullivan, Tally Katz-Gerro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We augment measures of cultural omnivorousness, based theoretically on the breadth of cultural tastes, with a new but related dimension of voraciousness. This reflects a 'quantitative' dimension of leisure consumption based upon both the range and the frequency of leisure participation. Voraciousness is theoretically interpreted in relation to notions of cultural repertoires, to the changing pace of work and leisure in late modernity, and to the 'insatiable' quality of contemporary consumption. From British time use data, voraciousness proved to share many relationships found in the analysis of omnivorousness, for example, with educational qualifications and job's social status. Moreover, these relationships persisted over time irrespective of individuals' time and money resources. Since voraciousness is associated with high status individuals, and since it is not primarily about the availability of time or money, we argue that it is a symbolic status marker associated with notions such as being harried, keeping busy, multitasking, and embracing a diverse cultural consumption pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-137
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


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