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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Cultural consumer markets are, to a large degree, governed by processes of social stratification, distinction, and the symbolic properties of cultural taste. Especially Bourdieu’s field theory has been influential, but in recent years criticized—often for its emphasis on cultural hierarchies and consecration agents. This chapter argues that it would be naive to conclude that symbolic differences no longer matter in contemporary cultural markets. Drawing on empirical material in the domains of globalization and digitalization—arguably two of the most important developments in cultural markets in recent decades—this chapter shows how symbolic inequalities remain important for understanding markets. It compares audience preferences with consecration outcomes and concludes that cultural mediators and consecrators often offer more cultural diversity than audience markets. Also digitalization is—so far—not the great equalizer: digital access to cultural content differs across countries, age groups, and educational levels.

Keywords: cultural markets, cultural consecration, globalization, digitalization, symbolic inequalities

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