• Adrian Leguina Ruzzi

Student thesis: Phd


From different traditions, research in the field of sociology of cultural taste and consumption has argued that contemporary societies are symbolically stratified through cultural engagement. These theoretical frameworks differ mainly in their explanations of the mechanisms that shape the relationship between culture and social stratification. Motivated by concepts from Pierre Bourdieu, Richard A. Peterson, and other key scholars, this thesis is focused on addressing the relationship between music consumption and social stratification. Due to its peculiar characteristics, music provides a good illustration of how people, through cultural engagement, draw boundaries that symbolically differentiate social groups. Although literature in the area has made great progress, there are still theoretical and empirical gaps. It is possible to find some passionate views which deny the relevance of some operationalisations and methods over others (Wuggenig, 2007; Chan, 2010a). From a comparative point of view it is questioned whether different dimensions of cultural practices can deliver consistent results (Peterson, 2005; Purhonen, Gronow and Rahkonen, 2011; Yaish and Katz-Gerro, 2012). Research which focuses on comparisons between societies frequently lacks detailed theoretical conceptualisations regarding how cultural items are distributed in different social settings (Katz-Gerro, 2011; Purhonen and Wright, 2013). Other important gap in the literature is the lack of understanding about how technologies act as an element of social distinction (López-Sintas, Cebollada, Filimon and Gharhaman, 2014). The main objective of this research is therefore to review how research has defined and studied the relationship between culture and society across several perspectives and to offer new insights which significantly contribute to the advancement of knowledge of the sociology of cultural taste and consumption. This is motivation for the development of four research articles which use several quantitative methods to analyse survey data from Austria, England, Chile, Finland, Israel and Serbia. This thesis shows that musical engagement, regardless of how and where it is measured, remains socially stratified. Age is the primary stratifying factor for musical engagement, highlighting the distinction between popular music preferred by the younger age cohorts, and the classical or traditional music of the older. Both are reinforced by educational level and social class. Individuals displaying broader musical preferences are more likely to be in advantageous positions. This concurs with arguments about omnivorism as a manifestation of cultural homology in the classic Bourdieusian sense (Lizardo and Skiles, 2012). Thanks to the innovative analysis of available data and the use of more specific cultural indicators it is possible to elaborate research questions to address the study of musical engagement and its place in society, integrating research methods, theory of practices, local and global contexts, and technologies as salient analytical dimensions.
Date of Award31 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGindo Tampubolon (Supervisor), David Cutts (Supervisor) & Paul Widdop (Supervisor)


  • Taste
  • Practices
  • Music
  • Social statistics
  • Cultural omnivore
  • Homology
  • Distinction

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