Cultural Openness as an Emerging Form of Cultural Capital in Contemporary France
145 - 164 p.
Class, Cosmopolitanism, Cultural capital, Education, Inequalities, Multi-correspondence analysis, School expansion
This article explores the changing pattern of cultural privilege in contemporary France. Using French data on cultural practices, including variables on ‘highbrow’ culture, mass culture and cosmopolitan culture, we apply a multi-correspondence analysis (MCA). The findings first show that cultural privilege among French social and educational elites remains primarily a matter of cultural capital endowment, with a structuring contrast between ‘legitimate’ and ‘mass’ culture. The MCA also shows an additional divide between local and global culture underpinned by a strong age gradient. Yet the emergence of a changing pattern of cultural privilege among the youngest cohorts does not imply any clear reduction in cultural inequalities. Rather, it suggests a growing cultural distinctiveness of French elites. Finally, these tendencies should not be easily extrapolated to other contexts as they reflect strong French specificities related to the evolution of social and educational structures during the second half of the 20th century.