9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN05 Sociology of Consumption

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Cultural Consumption Building II, C5.01

Nordic Democracy of Taste: Cultural Omnivorousness in Finland

This paper addresses the thesis of cultural omnivorousness in two areas, music and literature, in the cultural context of Finland, one of the so-called Nordic welfare states. Drawing upon a nationally representative survey data, both areas are analysed in terms of likes and dislikes of different cultural genres. The omnivore thesis is first examined by measuring omnivorousness as a sum of liked musical and literature genres (?omnivorousness by volume?), and second, by counting only those combinations of likings that cross significant cultural boundaries as omnivorousness (?omnivorousness by composition?). Accordingly, different taste combinations are constructed and then explained by the major socio-demographic variables. Finally it is examined how the specified taste combinations in music and literature relate to more general cultural and political attitudes. The results suggest that no matter how omnivorousness is operationalised, in the case of literary taste it can be explained better by the socio-demographic factors than in the case of music. Also in the case of music, however, high education and female gender as well as older age were the main determinants of omnivorousness. If musical and literary genres are divided into ?highbrow?, ?folk? and ?pop? tastes, the omnivore type combining likings from all three categories was found to be the most typical of all taste combinations in both cases, whereas the hypothetical type of ?univore snob? (with likings exclusively limited to genres of the highbrow category) was practically non-existent.