Taste and Social Trends

Taste and Social Trends

It is very hard to define what taste is: a personal point of view as well as an aesthetic value in a society at a certain moment in time. Taste is often linked to the upper class, which distinguishes good taste from bad taste. P. Bourdieu considered taste as a means for the elite class to maintain its cultural power. Th. Weblen, the American sociologist, saw in taste a field of competition between classes and criticized taste as economic waste.

Taste is also a form of soft power. For a long time, France has dominated the rules of taste, fashion, gastronomy, decorative arts and fine arts. It has been the basis of one of the most powerful industries in France: le luxe. However, taste went through a deep revolution in the seventies and the eighties. In a postmodern society, taste changes very rapidly. It does not always come from the top but from all parts of society, especially from outsiders. In an era of globalization, taste is more and more multicultural, and it shows the changing pace of our society.

Studying taste is a way of understanding social changes. The aim of this course is to understand what taste is, the role it has played in our past since the renaissance, how it has evolved and the different changes over recent times.

We will follow a multi-disciplinary approach: historical, sociological, economic and geopolitical, which will provide a broad overview of this topic.

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FREN 6641

All Sections in Summer 2021 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

Summer 2021 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

FREN6641A-L21 Lecture (Agostini)