Structure of Cultural Rejection

Monday, July 14, 2014: 11:00 AM
Room: Harbor Lounge A
Oral Presentation
Sosuke OKADA , University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
What does it mean to dislike a piece of culture? This study explores the idea that culture is being used as the focus of coordination among individuals. The central topic is cultural rejection. The proposition is advanced that individuals reject cultural practices as the proxies of disfavored groups who are perceived to be associated with them. In turn, this will allow individuals to distance themselves from disfavored groups and maintain the identities separate from disfavored groups. This study argues that the pattern of cultural rejection can be seen as a reflection of individuals’ perception of differentiation within society. Using data on musical preferences from 1993 General Social Survey, it applies blockmodeling – the methodology originally developed in social network analysis – in a new way, to analyze the structure of cultural rejection within U.S. society. The results indicate that blockmodeling based on cultural rejection is effective in uncovering sociologically meaningful positions among the respondents, while providing unique insights into the structure of cultural divisions within U.S. society. In addition, the identified positions correspond with individuals’ perception of the degree of unity (or lack thereof) among Americans, consistent with the theoretical assumption of this study. The results also show the important roles that popular culture occupies in U.S. society.