Mediating production and consumption: cultural capital and 'cultural workers'

Wright, David (2005). Mediating production and consumption: cultural capital and 'cultural workers'. British Journal of Sociology, 56(1) pp. 105–121.



This paper examines recent debates about the role of what Bourdieu termed cultural intermediaries in the formation and reproduction of the relations of cultural capital. Workers in the cultural or creative industries were given a central place in Bourdieu's schema in the creation of hierarchies of value in the production and consumption of symbolic goods. Subsequent writers about the apparent emergence of a creative economy (Lash and Urry 1994; Featherstone 1991) have given workers involved in the production and distribution of cultural goods a pivotal place in the development of late or post-modernity. More recent work (Negus 2002; Nixon and du Gay 2002) has criticized the validity and coherence of the term as it has come to be understood and called for more rigour in its definition and use. This paper adds to this debate by considering the book trade as a space in which the gap between production and consumption of cultural goods is mediated. It suggests that cultural intermediaries, as cultural workers, are engaged in the reproduction of the cultural aspects of social class by 'shoring up' their insecure position in the relations of cultural capital, rather than simply being the taste leaders of a reflexive modernity.

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