Cross-national cultural consumption research: inspirations and disillusions

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This paper provides a review of research conducted on the cultural consumption compo-nent of lifestyle with a cross-national emphasis. Following a summary of existing research on cul-tural consumption patterns and their major correlates, I point to the issues that are underdevel-oped in the literature. I highlight methodological issues that hinder the development of cross-national lifestyle research, with an emphasis on measurement problems and neglect of context. Finally, I propose several directions for future research: outlining theoretical hypotheses that should be tested cross-nationally; a renewed interest in non-highbrow cultural consumption; a fo-cus on non-traditional axes of social differentiation; developing research in non western countries; and exploring the consequences of cultural consumption. My main contention is that cultural con-sumption research is not really comparative and that it is characterized by a stagnation that pre-vents further development. The reason for this is twofold. First, comparative research was mainly conducted in western industrialized societies. Second, Bourdieu’s formulation of cultural lifestyles has been dominant to the degree of stifling competing configurations of cultural hierarchies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-360
Number of pages22
JournalKölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011


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