Contemporary forms of cultural differentiation. The case of omnivorousness
The paper presents an attempt to analyze and understand the influential in the sociologies of culture and consumption concept of omnivorousness. According to it, people in higher social strata (or from a dominating class) do and like a greater variety of forms of culture (including not only ‘popular’ but also that which is named ‘highbrow’) as opposed to those near the bottom of the status hierarchy (hence the omnivore/univore distinction). This idea attracted considerable sociological attention, because it challenged the classic view about the homology between social stratification and cultural consumption (e.g. tastes), not least Bourdieu’s widely debated account of such matters. Recently, however, a growing number of scholars have begun to question the omnivorousness thesis. Some have claimed that the figure is less singularly distinctive and coherent than it was thought, there are different types of omnivores and they are not necessarily tolerant and inclusive in their tastes. Th e paper concludes with findings on cultural participation and film viewing practices among Wrocław inhabitants. The data have confirmed that in quantitative and compositional sense, people occupying higher social position were involved in a wider range of activities than those from lower positions (e.g. they have seen more films of different types). Nonetheless, the omnivore thesis merits further examination from the qualitative perspective.