Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 201–219 | Cite as

The Production of Distinctions: Class, Gender, and Taste Work in the Lifestyle Management Industry

Article

Abstract

Drawing on participant observation and interviews, this paper analyzes the paid labor of lifestyle production. In particular, I look at jobs in the lifestyle management industry that involve making consumption-related aesthetic choices with and for clients. This is taste work, and workers are taste brokers, who mediate between clients and markets, between clients and other people, and between clients and their own desires. Taste brokers shape not only clients’ consumption decisions but also their class performances and dispositions. I argue that taste brokers also reproduce legitimate social differences in three ways: by fostering distinctions between “good” and “bad” taste; by reinforcing the association between particular tastes and particular class positions; and by casting women as both better at and responsible for making aesthetic decisions.

Keywords

Class Dispositions Taste Lifestyle management Gender 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyThe New SchoolNew YorkUSA

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