Fields, Capitals, Habitus: Australian Culture, Inequalities, and Social Divisions, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Fields, Capitals, Habitus

Australian Culture, Inequalities, and Social Divisions, 1st Edition

Edited by Tony Bennett, David Carter, Modesto Gayo, Michelle Kelly, Greg Noble


360 pages | 40 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138392304
pub: 2020-06-29
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pub: 2020-06-29
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 29th June 2020

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Fields, Capitals, Habitus provides an insightful analysis of the relations between culture and society in contemporary Australia. Presenting the findings of a detailed national survey of Australian cultural tastes and practices, it demonstrates the pivotal significance of the role culture plays at the intersections of a range of social divisions and inequalities: between classes, age cohorts, ethnicities, genders, city and country, and the relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The book looks first at how social divisions inform the ways in which Australians from different social backgrounds and positions engage with the genres, institutions, and particular works of culture and cultural figures across six cultural fields: the visual arts, literature, music, heritage, television, and sport. It then examines how Australians’ cultural preferences across these fields interact within the Australian ‘space of lifestyles’. The close attention paid to class here includes an engagement with role of ‘middlebrow’ cultures in Australia and the role played by new forms of Indigenous cultural capital in the emergence of an Indigenous middle class.

The rich survey data is complemented throughout by in-depth qualitative data provided by interviews with survey participants. These are discussed more closely in the final part of the book which explores the gendered, political, personal and community associations of cultural tastes across Australia’s Anglo-Celtic, Italian, Lebanese, Chinese and Indian populations. The distinctive ethical issues associated with how Australians relate to Indigenous culture are also examined.

In the light it throws on the formations of cultural capital in a multicultural settler colonial society, Fields, Capitals, Habitus makes a landmark contribution to cultural capital research.

Table of Contents


Tony Bennett, David Carter, Modesto Gayo, Michelle Kelly and Greg Noble

Part 1: Fields


1. Aesthetic Divisions and Intensities in the Australian Art Field

Tony Bennett and Modesto Gayo

2. Book Value: Reading the Australian Literary Field

David Carter, Modesto Gayo and Michelle Kelly

3. The Mark of Time: Temporality and the Dynamics of Distinction in the Music Field

Tony Bennett, Ben Dibley and Modesto Gayo

4. The Elite and the Everyday in the Australian Heritage Field

Emma Waterton and Modesto Gayo

5. Television: The Dynamics of a Field in Transition

Tony Bennett, Modesto Gayo, David Rowe and Graeme Turner

6. Contesting National Culture: The Sport Field

David Rowe and Modesto Gayo

Part 2: Class


7. The Australian Space of Lifestyles

Tony Bennett, Modesto Gayo and Anna Cristina Pertierra

8. Class and Cultural Capital in Australia

Modesto Gayo and Tony Bennett

9. The Middle Space of Lifestyles and Middlebrow Culture

David Carter

Part 3: Capitals


10. The Persistence of Inequality: Education, Class and Cultural Capital

Megan Watkins

11. Capital Geographies: Mapping the Spaces of Urban Cultural Capital

Liam Magee and Deborah Stevenson

12. Indigenous Cultural Tastes and Capitals: Gendered and Class Formations

Tony Bennett, Ben Dibley and Michelle Kelly

13. Cultural Diversity and the Ethnoscapes of Taste in Australia

Greg Noble

Part 4: Habitus


14. Engendering Culture: Accumulating Capital in the Gendered Household

Deborah Stevenson

15. Cultural Participation and Belonging

Anna Cristina Pertierra and Graeme Turner

16. The Politics of Consumption: Positioning the Nation

Greg Noble and David Rowe

17. The Ethical and Civic Dimensions of Taste

Tim Rowse, Michelle Kelly, Anna Pertierra and Emma Waterton

Conclusion -- ‘distinction’ after Distinction

Greg Noble, Tony Bennett, David Carter, Modesto Gayo and Michelle Kelly

Methodological appendices

About the Editors

Tony Bennett is Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory in the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University, and Honorary Professor in the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University.

David Carter is Emeritus Professor and formerly Professor of Australian Literature and Cultural History and Director of the Australian Studies Centre at The University of Queensland.

Modesto Gayo is Associate Professor at Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile.

Michelle Kelly is Research Officer at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University.

Greg Noble is Professor of Cultural Research at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University.

About the Series


Culture, Economy and the Social

This series establishes the importance of innovative contemporary, comparative and historical work on the relations between social, cultural and economic change. It publishes empirically-based research that is theoretically informed, that critically examines the ways in which social, cultural and economic change is framed and made visible, and that is attentive to perspectives that tend to be ignored or side-lined by grand theorising or epochal accounts of social change. The series addresses the diverse manifestations of contemporary capitalism, and considers the various ways in which the `social', `the cultural' and `the economic' are apprehended as tangible sites of value and practice. It is explicitly comparative, publishing books that work across disciplinary perspectives, cross-culturally, or across different historical periods.

We are particularly focused on publishing books in the following areas that fit with the broad remit of the series:

  • Cultural consumption
  • Cultural economy
  • Cities and urban change
  • Materiality, sociality and the post-human
  • Culture and media industries
  • Culture and governance
  • Emerging forms of cultural and economic practice

The series is actively engaged in the analysis of the different theoretical traditions that have contributed to critiques of the `cultural turn'. We are particularly interested in perspectives that engage with Bourdieu, Foucauldian approaches to knowledge and cultural practices, Actor-network approaches, and with those that are associated with issues arising from Deleuze's work around complexity, affect or topology. The series is equally concerned to explore the new agendas emerging from current critiques of the cultural turn: those associated with the descriptive turn for example. Our commitment to interdisciplinarity thus aims at enriching theoretical and methodological discussion, building awareness of the common ground has emerged in the past decade, and thinking through what is at stake in those approaches that resist integration to a common analytical model.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General