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In Vino (Social) Veritas? Wine Consumption and Middle Class Identity in Shanghai

Maule, Valeria (2015) ACET35
Centre for East and South-East Asian Studies, Lund University
Abstract
The aim of this thesis was to explore the extent to which wine consumption and drinkers’ perceptions on wine can help understand middle class identity in Shanghai. The research relied on 25 interviews of wine drinkers and non-participant observations, as well as previous studies on middle class identity and consumption in China. The data have been analyzed utilizing Bourdieu’s theories on social distinction, focusing on the concepts of cultural capital, habitus, and taste. The study found that although wine is considered as an ordinary beverage because of its popularity among the middle class, it still carries the image of good taste, and taste itself allows educated middle class individuals to distinguish themselves from what they... (More)
The aim of this thesis was to explore the extent to which wine consumption and drinkers’ perceptions on wine can help understand middle class identity in Shanghai. The research relied on 25 interviews of wine drinkers and non-participant observations, as well as previous studies on middle class identity and consumption in China. The data have been analyzed utilizing Bourdieu’s theories on social distinction, focusing on the concepts of cultural capital, habitus, and taste. The study found that although wine is considered as an ordinary beverage because of its popularity among the middle class, it still carries the image of good taste, and taste itself allows educated middle class individuals to distinguish themselves from what they perceive as ostentatious “uneducated new rich.” Additionally, the study found that what interviewees perceive as the differences and demarcations characterizing wine consumption in China – being social, generational, or geographical – also designate these middle class individuals as the “legitimate wine drinkers.” This thesis concluded that whilst wine expresses urban middle class’ tasteful, relaxed, and cosmopolitan lifestyle, its consumption also indirectly reflects and demarcates interviewees’ ideal boundaries of middle class membership. (Less)
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author
Maule, Valeria
supervisor
organization
course
ACET35
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Shanghai, Bourdieu, Social Distinction, Class Identity, Consumption, Wine Consumption, Middle Class
language
English
id
7861504
date added to LUP
2015-09-08 13:42:42
date last changed
2015-09-08 13:42:42
@misc{7861504,
  abstract     = {The aim of this thesis was to explore the extent to which wine consumption and drinkers’ perceptions on wine can help understand middle class identity in Shanghai. The research relied on 25 interviews of wine drinkers and non-participant observations, as well as previous studies on middle class identity and consumption in China. The data have been analyzed utilizing Bourdieu’s theories on social distinction, focusing on the concepts of cultural capital, habitus, and taste. The study found that although wine is considered as an ordinary beverage because of its popularity among the middle class, it still carries the image of good taste, and taste itself allows educated middle class individuals to distinguish themselves from what they perceive as ostentatious “uneducated new rich.” Additionally, the study found that what interviewees perceive as the differences and demarcations characterizing wine consumption in China – being social, generational, or geographical – also designate these middle class individuals as the “legitimate wine drinkers.” This thesis concluded that whilst wine expresses urban middle class’ tasteful, relaxed, and cosmopolitan lifestyle, its consumption also indirectly reflects and demarcates interviewees’ ideal boundaries of middle class membership.},
  author       = {Maule, Valeria},
  keyword      = {Shanghai,Bourdieu,Social Distinction,Class Identity,Consumption,Wine Consumption,Middle Class},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {In Vino (Social) Veritas? Wine Consumption and Middle Class Identity in Shanghai},
  year         = {2015},
}