No more need for snobbism: Highbrow cultural participation in a taste democracy

Koen Van Eijck*, Wim Knulst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlePopular

99 Citations (Scopus)


In the Netherlands, we are witnessing a process of cultural divergence between generations. While the older generations have extended their participation in traditional highbrow culture, the younger generations increasingly focus on popular culture. Using cross-sectional data covering the 1983-1999 period, four potential explanations for this trend were tested. It was found, firstly, that this divergence cannot be attributed to changes in the relation between people's stage of life and their cultural consumption. Secondly, the observed shift is not the result of the emergence of the cultural omnivore. The proportion of omnivores did not increase and they are not to be found especially among the younger generations. Thirdly, upward social mobility cannot account for the decreasing interest in highbrow culture among the younger generations either. Differences in socialization between generations (fourthly), offer the best explanation for the divergence in cultural participation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)513-528
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'No more need for snobbism: Highbrow cultural participation in a taste democracy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this