Since Bourdieu (1984), the function of taste as a status marker has been widely recognized in western societies, but the investigations on the relationship between taste and symbolic social boundaries in China seem to be very limited, most of the studies failing to address the function of taste as a means of making social distinction. As the cultural market has rapidly developed since the Chinese Consumer Revolution (Davis, 2000), it is necessary to gain a better understanding of cultural consumption patterns and cultural taste of Chinese citizens. Therefore, this research focuses on highly educated Chinese who grow up during the initial rising period (i.e. the 1990s) of the cultural market in China and looks into how they distinguish themselves through cultural taste. With the research question "how do highly educated Chinese born after the Consumer Revolution describe their cultural consumption preferences, and what boundary drawing strategies can be observed in their discourse on cultural taste?” and a sub-question is “to what extent are their practices of cultural distinction in line with the findings of American and European researches?”, I collected data from 10 in-depth interviews, and looked into their diverse cultural consumption pattern. Most of the participants can be defined as cultural omnivores. A variety of cultural resources like ‘omnivorousness', 'openness’, ‘authenticity’, ‘uniqueness’, and other forms of cultural capital can be observed in young highly educated Chinese' discourse on cultural taste. These cultural resources they use can generally be linked to previous western scholars’ findings, but some particular variation can still be observed in the context of China.

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Keywords kunstwetenschappen, cultuurwetenschappen, Cultural capital, Bourdieu, Cultural consumption, Distinction, Highly, educated
Thesis Advisor D. Hoebink
Persistent URL
Series Master Arts, Culture & Society
L. Chen. (2019, June 14). Taste and Symbolic Boundaries in the Context of China:. Master Arts, Culture & Society. Retrieved from