Recent studies of cultural activities in America have stressed the importance of three sorts of phenomena: (1) a boundary-effacement effect in which members of different classes are to some degree homogeneous in their preferences (colloquially, "some things are liked or disliked by everybody"); (2) an omnivore effect in which upscale people tend more than their more downscale counterparts to engage in or appreciate a broad variety of cultural activities ("some people like everything"); and (3) a distinction effect in which more upscale consumers use certain cultural habits as a way of marking their status-related differences from more downscale people ("different people from different backgrounds like different things to different degrees"). However, in arguing for one or another of these three phenomena and often favoring just one perspective over the others, various authors have tended to lose sight of how the three effects may operate simultaneously. We address the resulting confusion by proposing a simple conceptual schema that embraces all three phenomena in a manner not heretofore recognized and by providing an illustration of how we might disentangle these three effects in an empirical analysis of cultural activities.
Holbrook, Morris, Michael Weiss, and John Habich. "Disentangling Effacement, Omnivore, and Distinction Effects on the Consumption of Cultural Activities: An Illustration." Marketing Letters 13, no. 4 (2002): 345-57.
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