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Cultivating Differences

Symbolic Boundaries and the Making of Inequality

How are boundaries created between groups in society? And what do these boundaries have to do with social inequality?

In this pioneering collection of original essays, a group of leading scholars helps set the agenda for the sociology of culture by exploring the factors that push us to segregate and integrate and the institutional arrangements that shape classification systems. Each examines the power of culture to shape our everyday lives as clearly as does economics, and studies the dimensions along which boundaries are frequently drawn.

The essays cover four topic areas: the institutionalization of cultural categories, from morality to popular culture; the exclusionary effects of high culture, from musical tastes to the role of art museums; the role of ethnicity and gender in shaping symbolic boundaries; and the role of democracy in creating inclusion and exclusion.

The contributors are Jeffrey Alexander, Nicola Beisel, Randall Collins, Diana Crane, Paul DiMaggio, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Joseph Gusfield, John R. Hall, David Halle, Richard A. Peterson, Albert Simkus, Alan Wolfe, and Vera Zolberg.

364 pages | 14 tables, 1 figure | 6 x 9 | © 1992

Culture Studies

Rhetoric and Communication

Sociology: Individual, State and Society, Social Institutions

Table of Contents

1 Introduction, Michele Lamont and Marcel Fournier
Part One: The Institutionalization of Cultural Categories
2 Cultural Boundaries and Structural Change: The Extension
of the High Culture Model to Theater, Opera, and the Dance, 1900-1940, Paul DiMaggio
3 High Culture versus Popular Culture Revisited: A
Reconceptualization of Recorded Cultures, Diana Crane
4 Nature’s Body and the Metaphors of Food, Joseph R. Gusfield
5 Constructing a Shifting Moral Boundary: Literature and
Obscenity in Nineteenth-Century America, Nicola Beisel
Part Two: High Culture and Exclusion
6 The Audience for Abstract Art: Class, Culture, and Power, David Halle
7 How Musical Tastes Mark Occupational Status Groups, Richard A. Peterson and Albert Simkus
8 Barrier or Leveler? The Case of the Art Museum, Vera L. Zolberg
Part Three: Resources for Boundary Work: The Case of Gender and Ethnicity
9 Women and the Production of Status Cultures, Randall Collins
10 Tinkerbells and Pinups: The Construction and Reconstruction
of Gender Boundaries at Work, Cynthia Fuchs Epstein
11 The Capital(s) of Cultures: A Nonholistic Approach to
Status Situations, Class, Gender, and Ethnicity, John R. Hall
Part Four: Exclusion of the Polity
12 Citizen and Enemy as Symbolic Classification: On the
Polarizing Discourse of Civil Society, Jeffrey C. Alexander
13 Democracy versus Sociology: Boundaries and Their Political
Consequences, Alan Wolfe

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