Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism: After the Omnivore Thesis, an Entry to the Cosmopolitan Theory. the Case of Young People in France

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal IOeG (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Sylvie OCTOBRE, Ministère de la culture et de la communication, France
Aesthetic cosmopolitanism of young people in France: after the omnivore thesis, an entry to the cosmopolitan theory.

The rise of globalized cultural industries and digital media led to a cultural turn, transforming consuming strategies and path, from the snob and elite sole preference for highbrow culture (Bourdieu, 1979) to the ability to mix different products, either lowbrow or highbrow, as a distinction (Peterson, and Kern 1996). This omnivorism is, according to Peterson himself, partly a mechanical effect of the increasing circulation of cultural products. This shift is mainly analyzed in terms of volume and composition (seldom in term of leisure time) of the cultural repertoires (how many different consumption, which tastes, how much time), mostly in the case of music listening : but the effect of this shift on aesthetic repertoires, modes of reception and imaginaries (Appadurai, 1996) are seldom shed light on, especially related to social stratification and mobility. Research either choose to focus on social stratification of cultural repertoires, either to discuss the modification provoked by the circulation of cultural goods (standardization versus indigeneisation or hybridation).

Based on a national enquiry conducted in France among young people aged 18 to 29 (N= 1650), the presentation will discuss different forms of aesthetic cosmopolitanism. We propose to consider aesthetic cosmopolitanism as a combinaison of consumption of foreign products, use of foreign langages, knowledge and taste for foreign cultural repertoires in a wide range of cultural consumption and participation, that both 1°) reshapes the social stratification of cultural participation 2) presents the aesthetization of every day lives as a new point of entry into the cosmopolitan theory. This gives opportunities to consider a new figure in the sociology of culture : the cosmopolitan amateur, that may either be considered an heir of the omnivore or a renewed entry to the cosmopolitan.