The Cultural Intermediaries Reader

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"A rich selection of readings that expose the shadowy underworld of critics, bloggers, tweeters and stylists who have become essential guides to the good life of cultural consumption... a long overdue examination of how cultural intermediaries work, and how their work supports the new capitalist economy."
- Sharon Zukin, Brooklyn College and City University

"An array of talented contributors, skilfully brought together by the editors, show how the concept of cultural intermediaries can cast light on cultural production, and on media, culture and society."
- David Hesmondhalgh, University of Leeds

Cultural intermediaries are the taste makers defining what counts as good taste and cool culture in today's marketplace. Working at the intersection of culture and economy, they perform critical operations in the production and promotion of consumption, constructing legitimacy and adding value through the qualification of goods. Too often, these are processes that remain invisible to the consumer's eye and in scholarly debates about creative industries.

The Cultural Intermediaries Reader offers the first, comprehensive introduction to this exciting field of research, providing the conceptual and practical tools needed to analyse these market actors. The book:
  • Surveys the theoretical terrain through accessible, in-depth primers to key approaches (Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Callon and the new economic sociology).
  • Equips readers with a practical guide to methodology that highlights the central features and challenges of conducting cultural intermediary research.
  • Challenges stereotypes and narrow views of cultural work through a diverse range of case studies, including creative directors of advertising and branding campaigns, music critics, lifestyle chefs, assistants in book shops and fashion outlets, personal trainers, bartenders and more.
  • Brings the field to life through a wealth of ethnographic data from research in the US, UK and around the world, in original chapters written by some of the leading scholars in the field.
  • Invites readers to engage with proposed new directions for research, and comparative analyses of cultural intermediaries’ historical development, material practices, and cultural and economic impacts.
The book will be an essential point of reference for scholars and students in sociology, critical management, cultural studies, and media studies with an interest in cultural economy, creative labour, and the past, present and future intersections between production and consumption.
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About the author

Jennifer Smith Maguire is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management, University of Leicester. Her work on cultural intermediaries has a specific focus on the cultural fields of fitness and wine. Her work has been published in such journals as Consumption, Markets & Culture, International Journal of Cultural Studies, and the European Journal of Cultural Studies, and she is the author of Fit for Consumption: Sociology and the Business of Fitness (2008).

Julian Matthews lectures in the Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester. His research interests include the cultural work of journalists, news production and the professional mediation of social problems. He is the author of Producing Serious News for Citizen Children: A Study of the BBC’s Children’s Programme , Newsround (2010). He convenes the British Sociological Association Media Study Group and is Communication and Media Section Editor of Sociology Compass.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SAGE
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Published on
Jul 14, 2014
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781473907393
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Communication Studies
Social Science / Media Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Policy-related, academic and populist accounts of the relationship between food and class tend to reproduce a dichotomy that privileges either middle-class discerning taste or working-class necessity. Taking a markedly different approach, this collection explores the classed cultures of food practices across the spectrum of social stratification. Eschewing assumptions about the tastes (or lack thereof) of low-income consumers, the authors call attention to the diverse, complex forms of critical creativity and cultural capital employed by individuals, families and communities in their attempts to acquire and prepare food that is both healthy and desirable. The collection includes research carried out in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Denmark, and covers diverse contexts, from the intense insecurity of food deserts to the relative security of social democratic states. Through quantitative and qualitative cross-class comparisons, and ethnographic accounts of low-income experiences and practices, the authors examine the ways in which food practices and preferences are inflected by social class (alone, and in combination with gender, ethnicity and urban/rural location). The collection underlines the simultaneous need for the development of a more nuanced, dynamic account of the tastes and cultural competences of socially disadvantaged groups, and for structural critiques of the gross inequalities in the degrees of freedom with which different individuals and groups engage in food practices. This book was originally published as a special issue of Food, Culture & Society.
Policy-related, academic and populist accounts of the relationship between food and class tend to reproduce a dichotomy that privileges either middle-class discerning taste or working-class necessity. Taking a markedly different approach, this collection explores the classed cultures of food practices across the spectrum of social stratification. Eschewing assumptions about the tastes (or lack thereof) of low-income consumers, the authors call attention to the diverse, complex forms of critical creativity and cultural capital employed by individuals, families and communities in their attempts to acquire and prepare food that is both healthy and desirable. The collection includes research carried out in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Denmark, and covers diverse contexts, from the intense insecurity of food deserts to the relative security of social democratic states. Through quantitative and qualitative cross-class comparisons, and ethnographic accounts of low-income experiences and practices, the authors examine the ways in which food practices and preferences are inflected by social class (alone, and in combination with gender, ethnicity and urban/rural location). The collection underlines the simultaneous need for the development of a more nuanced, dynamic account of the tastes and cultural competences of socially disadvantaged groups, and for structural critiques of the gross inequalities in the degrees of freedom with which different individuals and groups engage in food practices. This book was originally published as a special issue of Food, Culture & Society.
"A rich selection of readings that expose the shadowy underworld of critics, bloggers, tweeters and stylists who have become essential guides to the good life of cultural consumption... a long overdue examination of how cultural intermediaries work, and how their work supports the new capitalist economy."
- Sharon Zukin, Brooklyn College and City University

"An array of talented contributors, skilfully brought together by the editors, show how the concept of cultural intermediaries can cast light on cultural production, and on media, culture and society."
- David Hesmondhalgh, University of Leeds

Cultural intermediaries are the taste makers defining what counts as good taste and cool culture in today's marketplace. Working at the intersection of culture and economy, they perform critical operations in the production and promotion of consumption, constructing legitimacy and adding value through the qualification of goods. Too often, these are processes that remain invisible to the consumer's eye and in scholarly debates about creative industries.

The Cultural Intermediaries Reader offers the first, comprehensive introduction to this exciting field of research, providing the conceptual and practical tools needed to analyse these market actors. The book:
Surveys the theoretical terrain through accessible, in-depth primers to key approaches (Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Callon and the new economic sociology). Equips readers with a practical guide to methodology that highlights the central features and challenges of conducting cultural intermediary research. Challenges stereotypes and narrow views of cultural work through a diverse range of case studies, including creative directors of advertising and branding campaigns, music critics, lifestyle chefs, assistants in book shops and fashion outlets, personal trainers, bartenders and more. Brings the field to life through a wealth of ethnographic data from research in the US, UK and around the world, in original chapters written by some of the leading scholars in the field. Invites readers to engage with proposed new directions for research, and comparative analyses of cultural intermediaries’ historical development, material practices, and cultural and economic impacts. The book will be an essential point of reference for scholars and students in sociology, critical management, cultural studies, and media studies with an interest in cultural economy, creative labour, and the past, present and future intersections between production and consumption.
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