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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

  • Mike Savage
  • Modesto Gayo

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalPoetics
DatePublished - Oct 2011
Issue number5
Volume39
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)337-357
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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.

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