Lizardo, O. 2006. “How Cultural Tastes Shape Personal Networks.”

Lizardo, Omar. 2006. “How Cultural Tastes Shape Personal Networks.” American Sociological Review 71(5): 778-807.

Examines relationships of cultural taste with density of social contacts of varying network orientation.  Builds on Bourdieu’s types of capital (economic, social, cultural), DiMaggio’s input of sociability and cultural tastes.  Finds that popular culture consumption increases weak tie network density, but not strong-tie network density.  Highbrow cultural consumption increases strong-tie density, but has little impact on weak-tie.  Culture as useful in denoting social boundaries, maintaining boundaries. Previous research demonstrates social networks’ impacts on tastes and consumption, but little research done in how consumption and tastes impact networks.

Discusses types of social capital, transfer of these by micro-interaction orders.  Popular as the pleasurable; highbrow as the moral aesthetic.

(I’m really, really tired of Bourdieu and quant methods.  How many times can we beat this horse? Just not my thing, I suppose.)

Those who do not consume these forms culture are more likely to be disconnected from networks. High-learning curves (that often come with specializing in highbrow culture) are used as gatekeeping mechanisms, creating dense networks; popular culture promotes interaction with all types of persons, with wider reach – weak social tie follow. Consumption of popular culture will bring more benefits, through the strength of weak ties, sustain diversity in social networks. Highbrow culture as specialist; popular culture as generalist. “Middlebrow” culture often creates specificity and strong-tie, dense networks similar to highbrow; use of consumption to construct identity discourses. Popular culture as a means to bridge social and spatial distance.

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