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Бакалаврская программа «Социология и социальная информатика»

Research Seminar “Culture and Inequality”

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс по выбору
Когда читается:
3-й курс, 1-4 модуль


Course Syllabus


This seminar is created for students interested in studies of cultural production, consumption and reproduction with special emphasis on art and fashion worlds, creative labor and networks, contemporary art institutions and status reproduction through parenting practices. We will discuss (1) classical works on social history of art, on art worlds and fields of fashion and of cultural production, (2) contemporary empirical papers on art institutions and art participation, (3) empirical papers with various types of research design (surveys, network analysis, historical sociology, participant observation, organizational analysis etc.). The seminar is intended for students who have previously attended research seminars of the BA in Sociology and Social Informatics in the previous years.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • be able to explain culture preferences through social stratification perspective
  • be able to understand the link between cultural production cultural consumptio
  • be able to generate research hypothesis
  • be able to develop academic skills in reading, writing, and presentation.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • be able to understand and discuss topics related to culture and inequality and improve skills in developing research design in the framework of culture and inequality studies
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Culture and Inequality (Course introduction)
    Why does art and cultural consumption matters. Status symbols and status groups. Schools, labour market and marriage markets as spaces of exclusion.
  • Taste cultures
    Art perception as decoding process (Bourdieu original thesis). Code and legitimate culture. Abstract and contemporary art as specific objects for decoding. Upper classes as main consumers of legitimate art. Disinterested vs. Interested involvement: decoding or decorative qualities of art objects.
  • Art as a profession
    Development of artistic educational institutions & art museums. Art academies and challengers in art education. Dominating and competing groups: curators, trustees, managers. Conflict between curatorial and educational functions inside museums. Neoliberal turn and stimuli for marketization.
  • Cultural production and urban milieus
    Distinction and reproduction of symbolic boundaries. Consumer “sets” or repertoires. Symbolic boundaries and negative choices (dislikes). Symbolic exclusion and musical taste. Contradiction between Bourdieu statements and contemporary political cultures. Preferences for democracy and tolerance. Race VS. status intolerance.
  • Сultural production as labour
    Concept of creative labour. Creative careers. Cultural and creative industries. Inequality and precariat in creative industries.
  • Art-world structure: producers, consumers, prosumers
    H. Backer’s circular model of art world. Professionals vs. mavericks. Professionals, art institutions and definition of creativity. Conventions. Who creates genius? Prosumers as recent phenomenon.
  • Networks and creativity
    Art-production as two-mode data. Core-periphery structure of cultural industries. Advantages and disadvantages of periphery positions. Weakness and strength of core positions. Team position and composition. Small-world phenomenon in creative industries. Legitimacy vs. innovation dilemma.
  • Class cultures and inequality reproduction
    Class cultures and cultural capital. How to measure cultural capital. How cultural capital influence educational attainment and chances on marriage markets.
  • Artistic careers and prestige
    Traditional bureaucracies and single-projects organizations. Pareto-distribution and Matthew effect. Creative, technical and managerial careers. What roles are good starting positions in creative industries? How to measure creative prestige?
  • Migration, ethnicity and cultural capital
    Adaptation of migrant children and transmission of cultural patterns. Ethnic capital vs. taste for legitimate culture. Schools and transmission of cultural capital.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Homework assignments
    Student prepares and presents projects during the course. Based on the group grades each student has the average grade for homework assignments
  • non-blocking Group presentation of research proposal
    Student prepares and presents the project proposal in group. This proposal is based on the material covered during seminar discussions. The approximate content of this proposal: research problem/question(s), definition of object of study & units of analysis, hypotheses (driven from the literature), sampling strategy, type of data, methods of data gathering & analysis.
  • non-blocking Exam
    Student prepares and presents the project proposal (individual project and presentation). 2nd year students present research proposal, 3rd and 4th year students present their term papers. In case if the student could not prepare the homework assignment with group and missed the seminar because of the valid excuse there is a possibility to perform group task and send it to the teacher no later than a week before the exam. In case if the student prepared homework assignment with group but could not present it because of the valid excuse this seminar will not be included in the calculation of the average grade. In case if the student could not prepare research proposal in group because of valid excuse there is a possibility to perform this task and send it to the teacher in form of 500 words essay no later than a week before the exam. This essay should contain the critical evaluation of the group research proposal.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.2 * Exam + 0.2 * Group presentation of research proposal + 0.6 * Homework assignments


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Alexander, V. D., & Bowler, A. E. (2014). Art at the Crossroads: The Arts in Society and the Sociology of Art. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.25367D5F

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Tanner, J. (2003). Sociology of Art : A Reader. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=111300