Why has looking at art in Britain become a snob’s rite of passage?

To have “taste” in art and know a bit about it is part of the battery of glib accomplishments that mark out the elite from ordinary folk. This hateful art snobbery has nothing to do with a true love of art – it is just about being able to talk the talk.

The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu produced a frightening analysis of culture and class. In his book Distinction he showed that in France when he was writing, cultural attitudes mirrored social positions not just broadly but minutely – for instance, people at the very top of the elite with the greatest “cultural capital” were more likely to like minimalism.


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