Nordic democracy of taste? Cultural omnivorousness in musical and literary taste preferences in Finland
This article explores cultural omnivorousness in music and literature in Finland, one of the so-called Nordic welfare states. Based on nationally representative survey data, literature and music are examined for respondents’ likings of different genres. Cultural omnivorousness is first examined by measuring omnivorousness as the sum of the likings of musical and literature genres (“omnivorousness by volume”), and second, by counting only those combinations of likings that cross cultural boundaries (“omnivorousness by composition”). Different taste combinations are constructed and explained by socio-demographic variables motivated by earlier research on omnivorousness and cultural tastes (most notably by Pierre Bourdieu). The results suggest that no matter how omnivorousness is operationalised, socio-demographic factors offer better explanations for literary preferences than for musical ones. In both literature and music, being female and highly educated were the main determinants of omnivorousness. If musical and literary genres are divided into “highbrow”, “middlebrow” and “lowbrow”, then the omnivore type combining likings from all three categories was the most typical of all combinations in both cultural fields, whereas the hypothetical “univore snob” (with likings exclusively limited to the highbrow genres) was practically non-existent. The results also show that those being omnivorous in music are largely omnivorous in literature also.
, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 266-298, 2010