- Choose a cultural practice
We have explored some cultural practices over the course of the module this term already (taking selfies, attending the opera). A cultural practice could be defined as an activity that manifests norms; that constructs a sense of belonging within a culture of subculture; that connects up with your identity and sense of who you are.
Choose your practice carefully, because the level of depth that you will reach in your analysis also depends on your practice. Part of this assignment consists in making an appropriate choice!
You can check with the module convenor/your seminar tutor to check if your chosen practice is a suitable one.
- Essay Question - How useful is it to theorise culture as a form of capital?
Using Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital as your starting point, examine a contemporary cultural practice.
Your essay should include an account of Bourdieu’s key concepts, and should use this work to analyse your chosen practice. You should explain the concepts and apply them. You are welcome to supplement your essay with other tools from the field of critical cultural theory but Bourdieu should be the principle theorist you use. You can draw on the work of other cultural scholars who have researched/written about your practice. You may include images. Remember to reference your essay fully – and to answer the question!
- Some possible starting points
- In week 13 we explored a cultural practice of self-portraiture (taking selfies) –what are the debates and controversies around selfie culture? What are the debates and controversies around your chosen cultural practice?
- In week 14 we read an article by John Storey on the social life of opera – what kind of social life does your chosen cultural practice have? Through what processes is it legitimated (or not) and what kind of cultural value does it have?
- How does Pierre Bourdieu theorise capital? What is it? How does it work?
- What are the connections between capital and taste?
- How does culture connect to class? To power? To value?
“What we like to have in our living rooms, what music we hear or books we read, the style of clothes we wear, are not simply expressions of a ‘personal preference’ but declarations of class membership and status. The pleasures of taste are never innocent of class. The exercise of taste is constantly drawing and redrawing of boundaries within and between classes – it is a continuous and subliminated form of class struggle”(Jon Cook, 2000, p100)
The word count for Essay Two should be between 2500-3000 words. It is worth 30% of your NCS200 grade.
The assignment is due Monday 12 noon, week 21, Summer Term