Social class dictates many aspects of our day-to-day life, but does it determine the kind of music we listen to?
A study recently published in the Canadian Review of Sociology suggests that social class influences our cultural attitudes and the musical genres we favor.
Approximately 1,600 telephone interviews were conducted during the course of the study, in which participants from Vancouver and Toronto were surveyed about their likes and dislikes of 21 music genres. What they found was that the genres that people disliked played a factor in creating class boundaries.
Gerry Veenstra, the author of the study and a sociology professor at the University of British Columbia, said:
“What upper class people like is disliked by the lower class, and vice versa.”
It found that poorer, less-educated people preferred genres such as country, disco, golden oldies, heavy metal and rap. On the other hand, those who were wealthier and more educated liked classical, reggae, opera, blues, jazz, rock, and musical theater.
“Breadth of taste is not linked to class. But class filters into specific likes and dislikes.”
The study reports that wealth and education do not affect the broadness of a person’s musical taste, but factors such as class, gender, age and ethnicity do influence their musical preferences in more complex ways.
The least-educated people in the study were over eight times more likely to dislike classical music than their better-educated counterparts. On the contrary, higher-class listeners were more likely to dislike genres such as country and golden oldies.