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"It's not about good taste. It's about tastes good": Bourdieu and Campbell's Soup … and Beyond

Gallegos, D. and McHoul, A. (2006) "It's not about good taste. It's about tastes good": Bourdieu and Campbell's Soup … and Beyond. The Senses and Society, 1 (2). pp. 165-181.

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We begin with a general discussion of the ways in which the concept of taste has been treated, moving on to what is sometimes taken as a (if not the) controversy in the field. That controversy centers on the apparent differences between socio-political accounts (Bourdieu) and psychological-emotional accounts (Campbell) of taste. What we then show is that the distinction is just that: apparent, on the surface only. What it conceals is a more deep-seated agreement between the two schools about what it is to be a human subject. Here we take our cue from Foucault and Foucault scholarship (Hunter; Rose; Coveney) and make the argument that what appear to be "theories" of taste are, from a pragmatic point of view, in fact rhetorical exercises of the self akin to cookbooks, advertisements and TV cookery shows. This paper, then, problematizes the emergent field of taste studies and presages an approach beyond those predicated on an essentially Kantian version of human being. That approach takes its cue from ethnomethodological insights about techniques of ordinary practical actions and from Hannah Arendt's idea of the disclosure of the self as fundamental to social being.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Media, Communication and Culture
Centre for Social and Community Research
Publisher: Berg Publishers
Copyright: 2006 BERG
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