The relationship between taste and status conspicuous consumption
Keywords:conspicuous consumption, social status, tastle, impression
This research starts with the analysis of conspicuous consumption as a specific means to emphasize one’s social status. As far back as the end of the 19th century Thorstein Veblen developed a theory about a specific class who was characterized by nonproductive activities and specific surrounding - servants, clothing, which is not suitable for work, luxurious furniture. Since that idea was examined many times in various researches during the last century, it appears to be interesting to compare it with the concept of taste, which one cannot help appealing to while choosing anything, especially something that shows one’s status.
The article draws attention to the peculiarities of taste development and its role in choosing possessions according to class preferences. In addition, it emphasizes the importance of the correspondence between possessions and their owner’s status as it guarantees to create a true impression about their social status. That idea has been marked out due to Jean Baudrillard’s researches which defined the dependence of home furniture upon income and belonging to a certain class. The question arises as to what role ‘pure’ taste plays in taste of a whole class. The taste typology by Pierre Bourdieu (the tastes of luxury and the tastes of necessity) enables to analyze the social aspect of taste, in particular the way the taste of a certain social group develops under pressure of existing social preferences and stereotypes as well as the way it impacts on the choice of purchases.The author concludes that a need may be considered a basis for both kinds of tastes. Whereas in the first case a need is an obvious component of taste development, in the second one it is more difficult to prove that a need to leave an impression on someone is as severe as a need to live.
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