Cultural production and the morality of markets: popular music critics and the conversion of economic power into symbolic capital

Varriale, Simone (2015) Cultural production and the morality of markets: popular music critics and the conversion of economic power into symbolic capital. Poetics, 51 . pp. 1-16. ISSN 0304-422X

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.poetic.2015.03.002

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Cultural production and the morality of markets: popular music critics and the conversion of economic power into symbolic capital
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Abstract

This article examines the strategies through which cultural producers may convert their market success into a form of symbolic capital, that is, into a range of distinctive moral values and symbolic boundaries. This question is explored in relation to the rise of popular music criticism in Italy. Drawing on Bourdieu's field theory, this article reconstructs the field's historical genesis and examines the strategies of a heteronomous organisation (the music weekly Ciao 2001). In doing so, it counterbalances the focus of field studies on small scale cultural production, and argues that commercially-oriented producers may contribute to the broader legitimation of market imperatives. Further, this article argues that producers' position in the global cultural field is likely to shape their understanding of heteronomous forces, and thus the way they mobilise and convert different capitals. This article provides an empirical contribution to debates about the impact of market forces on cultural production, and to the growing scholarship on global cultural fields and cultural criticism. Theoretically, it argues that autonomy and heteronomy should not be addressed as mutually exclusive ideal-types, but as dispositions embedded in concrete practices and fields of relations, which may co-exist in the work of both avant-garde and large-scale cultural organisations.

Keywords:culture, music, Bourdieu, Field theory, Cultural production, Economic capital, Symbolic capital
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:34003
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 14:55

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