Bourdieu, cultural intermediaries and good housekeeping 's George Marek: A case study of middlebrow musical taste

  • Doane R
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This article explores the nexus of class, gender, and musical taste for the white middle-class family in the USA from the late 1940s through the mid-1950s. Cultural intermediaries in the western concert music field embraced an upper-middlebrow aesthetic and, in the anomic age of the reconversion era, buttressed the symbolic boundaries of whiteness for their middle-class readership. Using Bourdieu’s work on fields and taste, I examine the representation of the classificatory schemes of western concert music in George Marek’s music column in Good Housekeeping, one of the era’s most popular magazines. I also examine how musical practices were gendered in the familial embodiment of cultural capital. This study concludes with an elaboration of Bourdieu’s work on fields and Negus’s work on cultural intermediaries, in order to highlight the connections between the privileges of musical taste and racialization in the USA, at mid-century and today

Author-supplied keywords

  • Class
  • Cultural capital
  • Field
  • Gender
  • Habitus
  • Music
  • Whiteness

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  • Randal Doane

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