Summary: In his often densely worded prose, Bourdieu discusses how those in power define aesthetic concepts such as taste. Referring to surveys of French citizens from different economic and educational backgrounds, he shows how social class tends to determine a person's likes and interests, and how distinctions based on social class get reinforced in daily life. He observes that even when the subordinate classes may seem to have their own particular idea of good taste, "the working-class 'aesthetic' is a dominated 'aesthetic' which is constantly obliged to define itself in terms of the dominant aesthetics..." In this clip, a wealthy businessman (Elaine's boss) is observed eating a candy bar using a knife and fork. Elaine tells her friends about this unusual behavior, but George sees it as being "proper" or culturally polished. He later eats his candy bar the same way in a public place. As more people see this behavior, more people begin practicing the behavior. This spreading cultural practice illustrates how the society, and conceptions of proper behaviors, are shaped and dominated by the social elite.
Submitted By: Julie C.