Exploring cultural capital in Dublin’s urban privileged class

McCall Magan, Kerry. 2019. Exploring cultural capital in Dublin’s urban privileged class. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This research provides a nuanced account of embodied cultural capital in the middle and upper classes in Dublin, Ireland (Bourdieu, 1984, 1986). Through an inductive thematic analysis of interviews with two age cohorts (18-24 years; 45-54 years), this research finds persistence and confidence in cultural participation and taste that is remarkably enduring. Stocks of embodied cultural capital have accrued, for those in the dominant class, through histories of cultural exposure across the general register of culture. This has led to an effortless, disavowed cultural engagement that facilitates class to be performed obliquely. Though this also lends much support to Peterson’s (2005) omnivore thesis, it belies an intense and narrower range of specific interests amongst interviewees, young and old. Concurrently, a voracious and profound belief in the transformational nature of arts and culture is found in the upwardly mobile. This research also finds new forms of distinction are emerging- specifically amongst the young. These encompass a broad and pluralistic cultural profile that centre on the abolition of snobbishness, knowledge-seeking and information acquisition as well as an outward facing global cosmopolitanism - one that takes pride in national culture but consumes culture transnationally and globally (Prieur & Savage, 2013; Warde, Wright & Gayo-cal, 2007). This emerging cultural capital profile demonstrates the capacity of the socially privileged to juggle and transpose a rarefied aesthetic disposition across, and between, the multiplicities of genres (Friedman, Savage, Hanquinet, & Miles, 2015). As original, empirical social research this study makes a unique contribution to sociological research, bringing the perspective of a small, postcolonial nation to bear on the importance of cultural participation and taste in forming social processes. In doing so, it illustrates the need for future research to develop greater sociological understanding in Ireland of cultural stratification that is more specific to generations, class and geographies.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Additional Information:

Author also affiliated with the Dublin Business School.


Cultural capital, Cultural stratification, Education, Class, Bourdieu, Omnivore, Voracious, Dublin, Ireland

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute for Cultural and Creative Entrepreneurship (ICCE)


31 May 2019

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

17 Jun 2019 11:22

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:14



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