Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Taste and class: fieldwork delivers a blow to theory

The other day, during a lunch break in an inter-collegiate training seminar in central London, Bourdieu's Distinction, my favourite manual for understanding life on Earth, revealed a gaping chink in the armour.

Just when I thought that I had a good cover and was blending in just right, tucking in my home-made organic brown rice and free-range piperade, two of my lunch buddies, very high-rolling international PhD students from uppity families, went down their candy bars and cola with a child-like gusto, exactly the kind of  food that I, in my ignorance, deemed the staple of the less-educated earthlings. What's more, my declining to partake in this veritable feast of high fructose corn syrup, xantam gum and flavourings identical to natural, was met with gasps of sheer surprise.

- I've never met anyone who would turn this down.

What I learnt today: although class is sure a handy principle of macro-level analysis, individual cases of protein-based social life will defy it, time and over again.

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