The status of cultural omnivorism: A case study of reading in Russia

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66 Scopus citations


The literature on cultural consumption documents the displacement of highbrow snobbery by cultural omnivorism among high status groups. This article interrogates the status meanings of cultural omnivorism through a case study of reading in Russia. Post-socialist transformations have destabilized the status of social groups and the honorability of cultural practices. Survey analysis suggests that omnivorism has become the dominant taste pattern among the educated and the well-to-do. However, qualitative data reveal a discursive divide among educated omnivores who have become rich or poor since the collapse of the Soviet Union. When omnivores articulate their tastes, they invoke discourses of moral decline vs. moral defense of the new capitalist order to make conflicting claims about whether its beneficiaries are worthy of status honor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1233-1255
Number of pages23
JournalSocial Forces
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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