The Cultural Intermediaries Reader

ISBN 13: 9781446201329

The Cultural Intermediaries Reader

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9781446201329: The Cultural Intermediaries Reader
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"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... a long overdue examination of how cultural intermediaries work, and how their work supports the new capitalist economy."
- 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. 
The book will be an essential point of reference for scholars and students in sociology, critical management, cultural studies, and media studies with an interest in cultural economy, creative labour, and the past, present and future intersections between production and consumption.

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About the Author:

 

Jennifer Smith Maguire is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management, University of Leicester. Her work on cultural intermediaries has a specific focus on the cultural fields of fitness and wine. Her work has been published in such journals as Consumption, Markets & Culture, International Journal of Cultural Studies, and the European Journal of Cultural Studies, and she is the author of Fit for Consumption: Sociology and the Business of Fitness (2008).

 

 

Review:

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.

Author: David Hesmondhalgh

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.

 

Author: Sharon Zukin

Editors Maguire and Matthews define cultural intermediaries as "the taste makers defining what counts as good taste and cool in today’s marketplace." Their diverse collection of 17 articles, organized into two parts, explores the different mechanisms and empirical accounts of the roles of cultural intermediaries in defining taste and producing meaning as well as identity. The first part is more theoretical, exploring the conceptual and methodological foundations of studying cultural intermediaries. The second part consists of individual case studies that bring together a wide range of intermediaries defining taste, such as advertising, branding, fashion, and popular music. These case studies include some classic works, such as Lynn Pettinger’s essay on clothing and David Wright’s work on bookstores, as well as some new contributions, such as Richard Ocejo’s work on food and drink. Overall, this is a very valuable collection on a timely topic... Of interest to many scholars and students of sociology, work, and culture. Author: Y. Besen-Cassino, Montclair State University

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. Author: Nuné Nikoghosyan

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