University of Tasmania
whole_AaronsHaydn2008_thesis.pdf (15.16 MB)

Cultural civility and cultural barbarism : a sociological analysis of the religious factor in Australian cultural tastes

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posted on 2023-05-26, 22:19 authored by Aarons, HM
This thesis examines the influence of religion on cultural taste patterns in Australia in the 1990's. Many extant studies in this field concentrate heavily on class and economic factors involved in the distribution of cultural taste through conflict and stratification models and place a marked emphasis on the utility of cultural taste in attaining social and economic position. Emergent empirical evidence suggests that class and economic factors are only partially relevant in explaining cultural taste patterns in Australia and internationally, however. Consequently there has been a dearth of alternate theorising of culture as a key concept in sociology to accommodate other potential influences on its consumption such as religion. This thesis theorises cultural taste as a moral problem and situates religion as a powerful aspect of cultural structure through which Australians construct cultural taste by assessing levels of \civility\" and \"barbarism\" inherent in the expressive elements of cultural forms and genres. This study draws on the work of Norbert Elias in establishing a theoretical framework for the conceptualisation of culture as a moral problem through its function of emotional arousal in societies characterised by \"routinization\" and uses a binary scale format of moral conceptualisation and classification that codifies cultural taste as symbolically \"civil\" and symbolically \"barbaric\". The emotional arousal afforded by culture is controlled through institutional and self regulating systems of which religion is one. Religion in this study is confined to various types of Christianity in Australia. Patterns of cultural taste between religious and non-religious Australians and among the religious themselves are compared to reveal variation in the distribution of cultural taste. Religion is then tested against a range of social background experiences to assess its predictive power as a factor in the moral approach to cultural taste. The thesis hypothesises that the religious will construct cultural taste to display \"symbolic civility\" and avoid \"symbolic barbarism\" due to religion's role of emotional regulator within cultural practice. The study reveals the continuing role of institutional religion in contexts of late modernity and how the religious negotiate this aspect of secular life. It also highlights the nature of religious difference within Australian Christianity through cultural taste. The broader significance of the study is to provide alternate conceptualisations of culture that can be explored through various social and cultural elements to further open the inquiry into culture to reflect the diverse and continually changing nature of identity and meaning in contexts of late modernity."


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  • Unpublished

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Copyright 2008 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Ch. 1. Literature review -- Ch. 2. The moral dimension of taste: a model of religion and cultural consumption -- Ch. 3. Methods, measures and analysis -- Ch. 4. Culture as a moral problem, Australian approaches to mimetic culture, religion and civility -- Ch. 5. A comparison of religious and non-religious approaches to mimetic culture: attitudinal constructions of cultural civility and cultural barbarism -- Ch. 6. Bivariate analyses of eight scales of mimetic culture by religious variables -- Ch. 7. Religion, culture and social background: an exploratory analysis -- Ch. 8. Conclusion.

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  • Open

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