Taste

“Taste classifies, and it classifies the classifier” — Pierre Bourdieu

In the course of everyday life people constantly choose between what they find aesthetically pleasing and what they consider tacky, merely trendy or ugly. Bourdieu established his study on surveys that took into account, the large quantity of social factors that play a part in a French persons choice of clothing, furniture, leisure activities, dinner menus for guests and many other matters of taste. The different aesthetic choices people make are all distinctions — that is, choices made in opposition to those made by other classes. Taste is not pure.

Non chav holiday: Paris, Japan, cultural holiday, theme parks, class. An example of a chav would be a character from the tv series Little Britain, Vicky Pollard. She is shown a working class, because of her language as she didn’t go school, the way she dresses wearing bright hoodies and tracksuits, necklace and earrings.

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Taste is not fixed, it changes through history. The changing ‘tastes’ for brown bread. Associated with working class originally, using whole-grain flour, white flour had previously been more expensive (coloured with alum), this is now reversed — brown bread is seen as middle class consumable. From brown bread to brown skin — sun tan. Now seen as vulgar – it had been a status symbol – a marker of wealth. However trends keep changing. Royalty would associate tans with the working class — labourers who work the fields. Aristocracy would keep out of the sun or use white face paint to remove any trace of tanning.

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The National Trust is a conservation organisation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The colours in their houses are dull colours and elegant looking, that are not too eye catching. Symbolising their wealth and class, instead of using bright colours which is considered working class.

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Taste is a battleground of ideology, marked by distinction and difference. It’s inadequate t say people merely have different taste — these tastes are the product of intersecting power relations that seek to valorise those that articulate them.

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