Unravelling the omnivore: a field analysis of contemporary musical taste in the United Kingdom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Mike Savage
  • Modesto Gayo


Publication details

DatePublished - Oct 2011
Issue number5
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)337-357
Original languageEnglish


This paper offers a comprehensive field analysis of the structure of British musical taste, drawing on the unusually detailed survey questions and qualitative interviews carried out as part of the Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion project in 2003–04. We argue that concepts of the cultural omnivore, whilst recognising the importance of fluid and hybrid musical taste, can better be conceptualised as forms of ‘expert’ taste by those occupying dominant positions in the musical field. Using multiple correspondence, and cluster, analysis the paper demonstrates subtle differences between ‘classic fans’ and ‘classic omnivores’ and between ‘pop-oriented’ and ‘pop-voracious’ clusters. We thus provide a way of understanding musical taste in ways that go beyond genre labels. The paper concludes by emphasising the need to recognise the continued importance of powerful, contested musical enthusiasms in contemporary cultural life.

Discover related content

Find related publications, people, projects, datasets and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations