Class, culture, and structure: Stratification and mechanisms of omnivorousness
Cultural omnivorousness, Social classes, Culture consumption, Social stratification
In this article, I discuss cultural omnivorousness through a structural framework. Omnivorousness is one of two theoretical approaches to class and culture, together with homology. In its original formulation, the omnivore thesis postulates that diversity, rather than exclusion, becomes the principle of cultural distinction: while the upper classes combine legitimate and illegitimate tastes and lifestyles, the lower classes remain restricted to illegitimate culture. The recent literature conceptualizes and operationalizes omnivorousness in two ways: first, as indicators of cultural diversity, second, as the multiplicity of logics structuring cultural fields. Omnivorousness is stratified along lines of class, specifically, education and social mobility, age and generation, and gender. Lastly, omnivorousness is associated with major, yet ambiguous shifts in Western cultural and social structures, including transformations of cultural production, pathways to democratization, normative beliefs about cosmopolitanism, and educational expansion.