Distinction (sociology)

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Distinctive features: clothing, habit, and codes

In sociology, distinction is a social force that assigns different values upon different people in societies. In Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste (La Distinction, 1979), Pierre Bourdieu described how the powers that be define aesthetic concepts such as "taste", whereby the social class of a person tends to determine his or her cultural interests, likes, and dislikes, and how political and socio-economic, racial and sexual distinctions, based upon social class, are reinforced in daily life within society. Moreover, in The Rebel Sell: Why the Culture Can't be Jammed (2004), Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter describe "distinction" as a social competition in which the styles of social fashion are in continual development, and that the men and women who do not follow the development of social trends soon become stale, and irrelevant to their social-class stratum.

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