The production of taste: Ecologies, intersections, implications

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This article examines the construction of taste and its implications for the socio-economic and aesthetic diversity of the theatre and performance landscape. It considers how tastes are produced and reproduced, both in relation to socio-political and cultural interpellation and in relation to embodied and personal experience. Beginning with Bourdieu’s Distinction, the article explores how tastes are produced in relation to class and cultural capital. It goes on to propose an ecology of four arenas of taste production: authoritative instruction, performances of self, the comfort of familiarity and the influence of associations. Each works in relation to the others and acknowledge the complexity of taste production, moving beyond Bourdieu’s generational model. These arenas of taste production are considered in relation to their implications in decision-making and judgements around the production, cultivation, resourcing and programming of arts practice. The article argues that taste is pervasive, infecting and inflecting judgements and decisions and, as such, needs to be acknowledged and used in the pursuit of greater diversity in the arts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-291
Number of pages12
JournalStudies in Theatre and Performance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2021


  • Bourdieu
  • Taste
  • diversity
  • performance

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