Bryson, B. 1996. “‘Anything But Heavy Metal’: Symbolic Exclusion and Musical Dislikes.”

Bryson, Bethany. 1996. “’Anything But Heavy Metal’: Symbolic Exclusion and Musical Dislikes.” American Sociological Review 61(5): 884-899.

Discusses musical dislike in connection with taste, racism, democratic liberalism  how people use cultural tastes (such as music) to reinforce and maintain symbolic boundaries between themselves and social categories of groups they dislike. Political tolerance associated with musical tolerance, controlled for education; racism increases chance of dislike in “non-white” fan genres. Gospel, country, rap, and heavy metal as genres with least educated fans – also most likely to be rejected by those who are musically tolerant.
Musical tastes (taste in general) has been a source of preventing access to resources, delineating belonging and non-, creating barriers and social stigmas associated with “distinction”- rejection of nonelite cultural patterns.
“Music has long been considered an important part of social life. Its symbolic and ritual powers are used to explain both social cohesion and cultural resistance” (885 – Willis 1997; Hebdige 1979; Rose 1994), as an important cultural and communicative social element, demonstrates community, solidarity, unity, displays of belonging and markers of membership. Music as multi-dimensional – sounds, lyrics, visual cures, social relations, physical acts (DeNora 1991, Dowd 1992), multiple levels of engagement – solitary, mass engagement with thousands of people.
Social exclusion as closure of social relations, monopolization of interactions and processes that order those interactions through the scope of taste. Done through “boundary-work” (Gieryn 1983; Lamont 1992) that reinforces attitudes toward non-/memberships within groups and cultural cues/definitions that come with- aid in prejudice and discriminatory acts
Cultural taste as shaped by resonance with cultural orientations of listeners, applicability (Griswold 1992); use of music in different formats, volumes, instances may be utilized as tools to gain control, discern boundaries (Anderson 1990).

Anderson, Elijah. 1990. Streetwise. Race, Class and Change in an Urban Community. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press
DeNora, Tia. 1991. “Musical Patronage and So-cial Change in Beethoven’s Vienna.” American Journal of Sociology 97(2):310-46.
Dowd, Timothy J. 1992. “The Musical Structure and Social Context of Number One Songs, 1955-88: An Exploratory Analysis.” Pp. 130- 57 in Vocabularies of Public Life: Empirical Essays in Symbolic Structure, edited by R. Wuthnow. London, England: Routledge
Gieryn, Thomas F. 1983. “Boundary-Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science: Strains and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists.” American Sociological Review 48:781-95.
Griswold, Wendy. 1992. “The Writing on the Mud Wall: Nigerian Novels and the Imaginary Village.” American Sociological Review 57: 709-24.
Hebdige, Dick. 1979. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. New York: Methuen
Lamont, Michele. 1992. Money, Morals and Manners: The Culture of the French and Amer-ican Upper-Middle Class. Chicago, IL: Univer-sity of Chicago Press.
Rose, Tricia. 1994. Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Hanover, MA: Wesleyan University Press.
Willis, Paul. 1977. Learning to Labor: How Working-Class Kids Get Working-Class Jobs. Farnborough, England: Saxon House.


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