Taste, with Irmak Karademir Hazir

Uncommon Sense

24-03-2023 • 48分

What makes “good” taste? Who decides? And what’s it got to do with inequality? Sociologist Irmak Karademir Hazir grew up watching women in her parents’ clothing boutique. She explains how her fascination for taste emerged from that and why talking about things like fashion, film and music is far from trivial – it’s how we distinguish ourselves from others; how we’re recognised, or dismissed.

Irmak tells Rosie and Alexis how sociologists such as Pierre Bourdieu have theorised “distinction”, showing how “highbrow” taste is decided by those with money and other kinds of capital. They also discuss the idea of the “cultural omnivore” and ask: Is what looks like broad consumption – of everything from opera to grime – just elitism in disguise?

Plus: Why are Marvel blockbusters Irmak’s “guilty pleasure”? Why is “symbolic violence” as scary as it sounds? And do we have a moral duty to be honest about our tastes?

Guest: Irmak Karademir Hazir
Hosts: Rosie Hancock, Alexis Hieu Truong
Executive Producer: Alice Bloch
Sound Engineer: David Crackles
Music: Joe Gardner
Artwork: Erin Aniker

Find more about Uncommon Sense at The Sociological Review.

Production Note: This episode was recorded shortly before the devastating earthquake in southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria.

Episode Resources

Irmak, Rosie, Alexis and our producer Alice recommended

  • The movies of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”
  • John Waters’ film “Hairspray”
  • Agnès Jaoui’s film “Le Goût des autres” (The Taste of Others)
  • The BBC documentary series “Signs of the Times”

From The Sociological Review

  • “Feminism After Bourdieu” – Lisa Adkins and Bev Skeggs [special issue editors]
  • “Aesthetic labour, class and taste: Mobility aspirations of middle-class women working in luxury-retail” – Bryan Boyle and Kobe De Keere
  • “Taste the Joy: Food, Family, Women and Social Media” – Smriti Singh

By Irmak Karademir Hazir

Further reading and viewing

  • “Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste” – Pierre Bourdieu
  • “Formations of Class & Gender: Becoming Respectable” – Bev Skeggs
  • “Reading ‘Race’ in Bourdieu? Examining Black Cultural Capital Among Black Caribbean Youth in South London” – Derron Wallace
  • “Stuart Hall: Selected Writings” – Catherine Hall and Bill Schwarz [book series editors]
  • “Cultural omnivores or culturally homeless? Exploring the shifting cultural identities of the upwardly mobile” – Sam Friedman
  • “‘Anything But Heavy Metal’: Symbolic Exclusion and Musical Dislikes” – Bethany Bryson
  • “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” – Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer
  • “Follow the algorithm: An exploratory investigation of music on YouTube” – Massimo Airoldi, Davide Beraldo and Alessandro Gandini
  • “Pretty Woman” – Garry Marshall [film director]
  • “Marvel's Defenders of The Status Quo” – Pop Culture Detective