How can symbolic boundaries in cultural consumption be simultaneously crossed and maintained by those with high levels of cultural capital engaging with low status culture? We propose that irony, due to its inherent ambiguity and detachment, is a consumption style that allows its users to simultaneously cross and uphold symbolic boundaries. In this exploratory study, we analyze nine in-depth interviews with karaoke performers and link their way of participating to differences in cultural capital. While participants with low cultural capital displayed a straightforward, high involvement with their karaoke practices, the consumer styles of participants with high cultural capital were inclined to be both ‘secretly serious’ and ‘ironic’. Irony provides a way to distinguish oneself in today’s ambiguous cultural landscape, where meanings of both class positions and consumption patterns have become more fluid. Indeed, irony allows distinction precisely through ambiguity, which makes it a potentially valuable attitude for contemporary cultural elites.
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|