The Cultural Intermediaries Reader
- Jennifer Smith Maguire - University of Leicester, UK
- Julian Matthews - University of Leicester, UK
- Sharon Zukin, Brooklyn College and City University
"An array of talented contributors, skilfully brought together by the editors, show how the concept of cultural intermediaries can cast light on cultural production, and on media, culture and society."
- David Hesmondhalgh, University of Leeds
Cultural intermediaries are the taste makers defining what counts as good taste and cool culture in today's marketplace. Working at the intersection of culture and economy, they perform critical operations in the production and promotion of consumption, constructing legitimacy and adding value through the qualification of goods. Too often, these are processes that remain invisible to the consumer's eye and in scholarly debates about creative industries.
The Cultural Intermediaries Reader offers the first, comprehensive introduction to this exciting field of research, providing the conceptual and practical tools needed to analyse these market actors. The book:
- Surveys the theoretical terrain through accessible, in-depth primers to key approaches (Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Callon and the new economic sociology).
- Equips readers with a practical guide to methodology that highlights the central features and challenges of conducting cultural intermediary research.
- Challenges stereotypes and narrow views of cultural work through a diverse range of case studies, including creative directors of advertising and branding campaigns, music critics, lifestyle chefs, assistants in book shops and fashion outlets, personal trainers, bartenders and more.
- Brings the field to life through a wealth of ethnographic data from research in the US, UK and around the world, in original chapters written by some of the leading scholars in the field.
- Invites readers to engage with proposed new directions for research, and comparative analyses of cultural intermediaries’ historical development, material practices, and cultural and economic impacts.
In this collection, an array of talented contributors, skilfully brought together by the editors, show how the concept of cultural intermediaries can cast light on cultural production, and on media, culture and society.
Smith Maguire and Matthews offer a rich selection of readings that expose the shadowy underworld of critics, bloggers, tweeters and stylists who have become essential guides to the good life of cultural consumption. Our belief in their sincerity - as well as their expertise - confirms our belief in our own authenticity while creating financial value for their masters. This book is a long overdue examination of how cultural intermediaries work, and how their work supports the new capitalist economy.
This thought-provoking book is easy to read and will interest a wide audience, in or outside the academic field. The case studies raise many new directions for future research, in areas such as automated intermediations and online recommendation systems.
Useful chapter on public relations practitioners, offering future research directions from a cultural perspective. There is also a clearly-written chapter on doing workplace ethnographic research. This could be helpful to students who are interested in ethnography and have access to workplace settings e.g. through internships.
Accessible, comprehensive and well organised.
Adopted at Northumbria University as a recommended text for second and third year undergraduate Fashion students to explore the concepts of taste and cultural mediation in the communication and marketing of fashion products.
Adopted at Northumbria University as a recommended text for first and second year undergraduate Graphic Design and Interactive Media Design students to explore the concepts of taste and cultural mediation in the communication and marketing of design.
This is a much needed book which provides useful insights on the role of cultural intermediaries in the society. It is very useful for my students who want to work on this issue as well as for the preparation of my teaching material. I am glad this book exists.
This book is more useful for those studying media and the intricacies of global consumption, rather than Sociology per se.
Sample Materials & Chapters
Chapter 1: Bourdieu on Cultural Intermediaries