- Salsa is klasse: een onderzoek naar de samenhang tussen de statuskenmerken van Latijns-Amerikaanse immigranten en hun voorkeuren voor verschilende soorten salsamuziek.
- Volume | Issue number
- 5 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This articles reports the results of a study of differential taste preferences for one popular music genre: salsa. It is based on in-depth interviews with 40 Latin American immigrants in Switzerland and the Netherlands. During the interviews eight recorded pieces of salsa music that represent different styles within the genre were played and respondents' spontaneous appreciations were noted. The empirical findings show a clear and fairly strong connection between taste preferences and status/class indicators, particularly education and to lesser extent occupational status and social origins. High-status respondents tended to prefer those pieces and styles that were classified as artistically worthwhile by professional experts in salsa music, whereas low-status respondents showed much more appreciation for pieces and styles that experts had classified as popular, commercial, and artistically inferior. In connection with this, respondents also differed in their stated preferences for other musical genres, styles, and pieces as well as in the reasons they gave for their preferences: while high-status respondents tended to stress traits like complexity, originality and textual substance as reasons for their appreciation, low-status respondents said more often that they liked the music because it invited to dancing, had emotional value for them, or was performed by a singer with a beautiful voice. All in all, these results largely confirm Bourdieu's distinction theory for this specific ‘popular’ genre, and call in question studies that conclude to a shift from status distinction, cultural exclusivity and ‘snobbery’ toward cultural ‘omnivorousness’. High-status respondents in this study tended to combine their preferences for certain salsa styles and pieces with an appreciation of ‘legitimate’ musical (sub)genres, and could be said to be ‘cultural omnivores’ in this sense; but this ‘omnivorousness’ went hand in hand with status-related distinctions and even exclusivity. This conclusion suggests that whereas the significance of hierarchical distinctions between cultural genres became weaker in Western societies during the last decades, the significance of more specific hierarchical distinctions within genres - in particular genres classified as popular - increased.
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