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From parvenu to “highbrow” tastes: the rise of cultural capital in China’s intergenerational elites

Li, Gordon C. ORCID: 0000-0003-1224-3512 (2021) From parvenu to “highbrow” tastes: the rise of cultural capital in China’s intergenerational elites. British Journal of Sociology, 72 (3). 514 - 530. ISSN 0007-1315

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1468-4446.12862


A new generation of elites distinguished by their cultural endowments has emerged in China. Unlike the older generation of elites who signaled status through the display of wealth but shared similar tastes, the new generation of cultured elites has sophisticated, often Western-oriented “highbrow” tastes in their cultural consumption. By comparing the upbringings and the tastes of interviewees from various backgrounds, this study suggests a widening taste-chasm between the elites and the underclasses in urban cities. The social process behind this is argued to be the rapid formation of cultural capital in China, in which parental privileges accumulated in the market economy converted into cultural privileges in the new generation of new elites.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2021 10:57
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2023 17:24

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