Affect and Taste: Bourdieu, Traditional Music, and the Performance of Possibilities

Sociologists have taken much liking to Pierre Bourdieu’s foundational work, and the notion that class (often infallibly) structures taste in music. In fact, Bourdieu boldly proclaims that “…nothing more clearly affirms one’s ‘class’, nothing more infallibly classifies, than tastes in music’ (Bourdieu 1984, p. 18).  Michael Bell and I argue that while class most certainly influences musical taste, affections forged through place can cross what often is penned an insurmountable  economic barrier. “All comers” can take, as Tig Coili boldly proclaims in the photo above. We bring our knowledge of traditional music in Galway, Ireland, and Morpeth, England, to make our case in Sociologia Ruralis.