Human Studies

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 383–399 | Cite as

From Arbiter to Omnivore. The Bourgeois Transcendent Self and the Other in Disorganised Modernity

Special issue
  • 268 Downloads

Abstract

This article will examine the emergence of a distinct bourgeois identity in modernity which differentiated itself from comparable social groups through its desire to exert ‘virtuous’ control through engagement with reform and philanthropy, and through the symbolic construction of a transgressive, socially marginal but redeemable other as subject of this reform. The ontological insecurities of late modernity had a profound impact on the sources of bourgeois identity, and this article will explore the emergence of the cultural omnivore as a new form of social distinction which is no longer virtuous, but is still a manifestation of the desire to express identity through demonstrating control. It will outline the impact of the emerging omnivore on relationships between the bourgeois self and the marginal/deviant other, particularly in terms of the extent to which the reconceptualisation of ‘other’ as cultural univore exacerbates the exclusion and criminalisation of the marginalized other.

Keywords

Bourgeois identity Social exclusion Cultural omnivore Univore 

References

  1. Adam, T. (2009). Buying respectability: philanthropy and urban society in transnational perspective, 1840–1930. Bloomington: Indiana University press.Google Scholar
  2. Adorno, T., & Horkheimer, M. (2002). Dialectic of enlightenment; philosophical fragments. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Arnold, M. (2002). The complete prose works of Matthew Arnold: Volume 10—Philistinism in England and America. Michigan: Michigan University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Balibar, E. (2002) ‘Possessive individualism’ reversed: From Locke to Derrida. Constellations, 9(3).Google Scholar
  5. Bauman, Z. (2001). The individualised society. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  6. Benjamin, W. (1999). ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction’ in Illuminations. London: Pimlico.Google Scholar
  7. Bourdieu, P. (1966). The sentiment of honour in Kabyle society. In J. G. Peristiany (Ed.), Honour and shame: The values of Mediterranean Society. Chicago: Chicago Univ Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bryson, B. (1996). “Anything but heavy metal”: Symbolic exclusion and musical dislikes. American Sociological Review, 61(5), 884–899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bryson, B. (1997). What about the univores? Musical dislikes and group-based identitiy construction among Americans with low levels of education. Poetics, 25, 141–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Demerath, L. (2002). Epistemological culture theory: A micro theory of the origin and maintenance of culture. Sociological Theory, 20(2), 208–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Emsley, C. (1996). Crime and society in England, 1750–1900. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  12. Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  13. Garland, D. (2001). The culture of control: Crime and social order in contemporary society. Clarendon: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gatrell, V. (1993). Crime, authority and the policeman-state. In F. Thompson (Ed.), The Cambridge Social History of Britain (Vol. 3). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self identity—self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  16. Gripsgrud, J., Hovden, J., & Moe, H. (2011). Changing relations: Class, education and cultural capital. Poetics, 39, 507–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hayward, K., & Yar, M. (2006). The ‘chav’ phenomenon: Consumption, media and the construction of a new underclass. Crime, Media, Culture, 2(1), 9–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hendler, G. (2001). Public sentiments: Structures of feeling in 19th century American literature, University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  19. Jones, O. (2011). Chavs: The demonisation of the working class. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  20. Kidd, A. (1999). State, society and the poor in 19th century England. Houndmills: MacMillan.Google Scholar
  21. Kidd, A., & Nicholls, D. (1999). Gender, civic culture and consumerism: Middle-class identity in Britain, 1800–1940. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Lahire, B. (2008). The individual and the mixing of genres: Cultural dissonance and self-distinction. Poetics, 36, 166–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. MacCabe, C. (1974). Realism and the cinema: Notes on some Brechtian theses. Screen, 15(2).Google Scholar
  24. MacPherson, C. B. (1962). The political theory of possessive individualism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Marx, K. (1973). Grundrisse. Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  26. Nochlin, L. (1971). Realism. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  27. Ollivier, M. (2008). Modes of openness to cultural diversity: Humanist, populist, practical, and indifferent. Poetics, 36, 120–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Peterson, R. (1997). The rise and fall of high brow snobbery as a status marker. Poetics, 25, 75–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Peterson, R., & Kern, R. (1996). Changing highbrow taste: From snob to omnivore. American Sociological Review, 61, 900–907.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Peterson, R., & Simkus, A. (1992). How musical tastes mark occupational status groups. In M. Lamont & M. Fournier (Eds.), Cultivating differences: Symbolic boundaries and the making of inequality. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Pfeil, F. (1990). Making flippy floppy: Postmodernism and the baby-boom PMC. In Another tale to tell: Politics and narrative in postmodern culture. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  32. Read, J. (2010). The production of subjectivity: From transindividuality to the commons. New Formations, 70, 113–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sennett, R. (1999). The corrosion of character: Personal consequences of work in the new capitalism. New York: Norton and Co.Google Scholar
  34. Sennett, R. (2007). The culture of the new capitalism. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Simmel, G. (1950). The metropolis and mental life. In K. H. Wolff (Ed.), The sociology of Georg Simmel. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  36. Simmel, G. (1971). The transcendent character of life. In D. Levine (Ed.), On individuality and social forms—selected writings. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Skeggs, B. (2004). Class, self, culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  38. Tampubolon, G. (2008). Revisiting omnivores in America circa 1990s: The exclusiveness of omnivores? Poetics, 36, 243–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Veblen, T. (1953). The theory of the leisure class—an economic study of institutions. New York: New American Library.Google Scholar
  40. Warde, A., & Gayo-Cal, M. (2009). The anatomy of cultural omnivorousness: The case of the United Kingdom. Poetics, 37, 119–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Warde, A., Wright, D., & Gayo-Cal, M. (2007). Understanding cultural omnivorousness: Or the myth of the cultural omnivore. Cultural Sociology, 1(2), 143–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Warde, A., Wright, D., & Gayo-Cal, M. (2008). The omnivorous orientation in the UK. Poetics, 36(2–3), 148–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Williams, R. (1973). The country and the city. London: Chatto and Windus.Google Scholar
  44. Williams, R. (1977). Marxism and literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Young, J. (1999). The exclusive society. London: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sociology and Criminology and Institute for Social PolicyUniversity of KeeleKeele, StaffsUK

Personalised recommendations