Bourdieu's theory of cultural change: Explication, application, critique

Sociological Theory 20 (2):255-277 (2002)
Abstract
Pierre Bourdieu's theory of cultural change is more powerful and comprehensive than other recent theories, which neglect one or another of the important dimensions of cultural markets. Bourdieu's theory conceptualizes both the supply and demand sides of the market, as well as specifying their interaction with external social factors. Two cases from American culture are developed to demonstrate the explanatory power of Bourdieu's theory of cultural change: the demise of tail fins in automobile design and the fall of modernism in architecture. These cases reveal, however, that Bourdieu's theory fails to account for the leveling of cultural hierarchies and the emergence of pluralized cultural fields. The general conditions for such leveling and pluralization are developed from a comparison of the two cases
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