Who consumes culture?
in Culture is bad for you
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Cultural audiences are marked by significant inequalities. Almost every artform, aside from film, is attended by only a minority of the population. We see significant differences in levels of attendance and participation by class, gender, and race, with geography, age, and disability also influential in shaping the minority who are heavily engaged in formal culture. In contrast, everyday culture is much more popular.

This division is part of how the very idea of culture is marked by inequality. Hierarchies and what ‘counts’ as culture for the purposes of surveys reflect long-standing struggles over what is, and what is not, given legitimacy.

Hierarchy and inequality are clear in the intersectional analysis offered by the chapter. This show that even within the minority of the population who are highly engaged in culture, cultural occupations stand out. Our artistic, literary, media, and performance workers are by far the most committed to culture. This, again, reflects a distance between cultural occupations and the rest of society.

Finally, the chapter shows how these inequalities are present irrespective of the type of data, whether ticketing or survey, used for the analysis.


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