“Maybe it’s?…?skin colour?” How race-ethnicity and gender function in consumers’ formation of classification styles of cultural content

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Abstract

Race-ethnicity and gender, while rarely explicitly considered for cultural consumption choices, are characteristics that can function implicitly in the classification of cultural content like films, literature or music. Embedded in classification styles – recurrent classificatory patterns in the habitual ways people choose, weigh and combine classifications at their disposal – such attributes are important for consumption practices. Based on visual Q methodology and 27 interviews with American and Dutch rock music consumers, we examine how consumers attend to, weigh and lump classifications, and to what extent gender and race-ethnicity drive classification processes in rock music – a genre historically dominated by white men. We identify four classification styles that consumers employ, in which race-ethnicity and gender function as classificatory tools. The analysis reveals that the implicit classification of “good” rock music as white and male, even though this is rejected discursively, is key in keeping whiteness and masculinity in place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-615
Number of pages17
JournalConsumption Markets & Culture
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2020

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