Exploring Religion and Musical Taste: Evidence from the UK

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Haydn AARONS, Australian Catholic University, Australia
Paul WIDDOP, Leeds Beckett University, United Kingdom
This paper explores the impact of religious identity and religious practice on musical taste in the United Kingdom. Following results that demonstrate the impact of religion on musical tastes from a study in Australia, the current research considers whether religious Britons prefer different musical genres than non-religious Britons and whether the type of religion one adheres to and the strength of committment are also factors in the distribution of musical taste. The research uses the Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion (CCSE) study, a large scale representative survey of individual muscial tastes in Britain to empirically investigate the role of religion on musical taste. Findings indicate that religion does impact the musical tastes of Britons through marked differences in music taste preferences between religious and non-religious individuals. We contend that the evidence highlights a neglected moral dimension to sociological studies of taste that we argue compliments extant stratification perspectives on musical taste and cultural consumption through religion's role as a form socialisation of civility that is class bound. The paper calls for more research on the role of religion on various dimensions of cultural consumption beyond music and alternative theoretical thinking around the meanings of cultural taste, and highlights a neglected mode of institutional religion's continuing relevance to individuals in Western societies in later modernity.