Is the garden a consumption site where identities are constructed? Do gardeners make aesthetic choices according to how they are positioned by class and gender? This book presents the first scholarly analysis of the relationship between media interest in gardening and cultural identities. With an examination of aesthetic dispositions as a symbolic mode of communication closely aligned to peoples' identities and drawing on ethnographic data gathered from encounters with gardeners, this book maps a typology of gardening taste, revealing that gardening - how plants are chosen, planted and cared for - is a classed and gendered practice manifested in specific types of visual aesthetics. This timely and original book develops a new area within cultural studies while contributing to debates about lifestyle and lifestyle media, consumption, class and methodology. A must read for anybody concerned with or intrigued by the cultural construction of identification practices.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: towards an ethnography of ordinary gardening; Histories and context; Gardening taste: theoretical concepts and framework; Garden legislators: gardening, ordinariness and history; Garden interpreters: garden lifestyle television and media culture; Class, taste and gardening; Gender and gardening; Questions of consumption: what ordinary gardeners do with garden 'lifestyle' media; Using sentimental capital: class, emotion and value; Bibliography; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.
Lisa Taylor is Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University. She has published widely in the field and is the co-author of the international best-selling textbook 'Media Studies: Texts, Institutions and Audiences' (with Andrew Willis, 1999).
'A Taste for Gardening offers a detailed and rich analysis of how struggles over classed and gendered tastes are played out in our gardens. An important intervention in current debates about consumption and everyday cultures, this book also challenges many assumptions about the relationship between lifestyle media and everyday practices. A key book for anyone interested in the relationships between taste, class and gender.' Joanne Hollows, Nottingham Trent University, UK 'A Taste for Gardening provides a brilliant analysis of forms of symbolic violence in both the media and everyday settings. It shows not only how the media position working-class tastes in lifestyle TV, but - much more difficult and the profound strength of the ethnography presented here - in the mundane practices and interactions of daily life. A tour de force! ' Paul Willis, Keele University 'Lisa Taylor's academic investigation...focuses on how media constructions of class and gender define gardens and gardening. Her theoretical approach utilizes the cultural studies of Raymond Williams, post-modern feminism and the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu, to analyze ethnographic research of a group of gardeners in a post-industrial northern town...she recognizes distinct working and middle-class differences, in the layout and maintanence of gardens, reflecting social aspirations and civic status.' Garden Design Journal