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The Cultural Intermediaries Reader
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The Cultural Intermediaries Reader

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© 2013 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
"A rich selection of readings that expose the shadowy underworld of critics, bloggers, tweeters and stylists who have become essential guides to the good life of cultural consumption... a long overdue examination of how cultural intermediaries work, and how their work supports the new capitalist economy."
- Sharon Zukin, Brooklyn College and City University 

"An array of talented contributors, skilfully brought together by the editors, show how the concept of cultural intermediaries can cast light on cultural production, and on media, culture and society."
- David Hesmondhalgh, University of Leeds


Cultural intermediaries are the taste makers defining what counts as good taste and cool culture in today's marketplace. Working at the intersection of culture and economy, they perform critical operations in the production and promotion of consumption, constructing legitimacy and adding value through the qualification of goods. Too often, these are processes that remain invisible to the consumer's eye and in scholarly debates about creative industries.

The Cultural Intermediaries Reader offers the first, comprehensive introduction to this exciting field of research, providing the conceptual and practical tools needed to analyse these market actors. The book:
  • Surveys the theoretical terrain through accessible, in-depth primers to key approaches (Pierre Bourdieu, Michel Callon and the new economic sociology).
  • Equips readers with a practical guide to methodology that highlights the central features and challenges of conducting cultural intermediary research.
  • Challenges stereotypes and narrow views of cultural work through a diverse range of case studies, including creative directors of advertising and branding campaigns, music critics, lifestyle chefs, assistants in book shops and fashion outlets, personal trainers, bartenders and more.
  • Brings the field to life through a wealth of ethnographic data from research in the US, UK and around the world, in original chapters written by some of the leading scholars in the field.
  • Invites readers to engage with proposed new directions for research, and comparative analyses of cultural intermediaries’ historical development, material practices, and cultural and economic impacts. 
The book will be an essential point of reference for scholars and students in sociology, critical management, cultural studies, and media studies with an interest in cultural economy, creative labour, and the past, present and future intersections between production and consumption.
 
PART ONE: Conceptual and Methodological Foundations
Jennifer Smith Maguire
Bourdieu on Cultural Intermediaries
Toby Miller
Cultural Work and Creative Industries
Sean Nixon
T3. Cultural Intermediaries or Market Device?: The Case of Advertising
Liz McFall
The Problem Of Cultural Intermediaries in the Economy Of Qualities
Giselinde Kuipers
Ethnographic Research and Cultural Intermediaries
 
PART TWO: Cultural Intermediary Case Studies
Aidan Kelly
Advertising
Liz Moor
Branding
Caroline E.M. Hodges and Lee Edwards
Public Relations Practitioners
Victoria Durrer and Dave O’Brien
Arts Promotion
Lise Skov
Fashion
Charles Fairchild
Popular Music
Tania Lewis
Lifestyle Media
Julian Matthews
Journalism
Jennifer Smith Maguire
Fitness
Lynne Pettinger
Clothing
David Wright
Book Retail
Richard E. Ocejo
Food and Drink

In this collection, an array of talented contributors, skilfully brought together by the editors, show how the concept of cultural intermediaries can cast light on cultural production, and on media, culture and society.

David Hesmondhalgh
University of Leeds

Smith Maguire and Matthews offer a rich selection of readings that expose the shadowy underworld of critics, bloggers, tweeters and stylists who have become essential guides to the good life of cultural consumption. Our belief in their sincerity - as well as their expertise - confirms our belief in our own authenticity while creating financial value for their masters. This book is a long overdue examination of how cultural intermediaries work, and how their work supports the new capitalist economy.

 

Sharon Zukin
Brooklyn College and City University

Editors Maguire and Matthews define cultural intermediaries as “the taste makers defining what counts as good taste and cool in today’s marketplace.” Their diverse collection of 17 articles, organized into two parts, explores the different mechanisms and empirical accounts of the roles of cultural intermediaries in defining taste and producing meaning as well as identity. The first part is more theoretical, exploring the conceptual and methodological foundations of studying cultural intermediaries. The second part consists of individual case studies that bring together a wide range of intermediaries defining taste, such as advertising, branding, fashion, and popular music. These case studies include some classic works, such as Lynn Pettinger’s essay on clothing and David Wright’s work on bookstores, as well as some new contributions, such as Richard Ocejo’s work on food and drink. Overall, this is a very valuable collection on a timely topic... Of interest to many scholars and students of sociology, work, and culture.
Y. Besen-Cassino, Montclair State University
Choice

This thought-provoking book is easy to read and will interest a wide audience, in or outside the academic field. The case studies raise many new directions for future research, in areas such as automated intermediations and online recommendation systems.

Nuné Nikoghosyan
British Sociological Association - Network

Useful chapter on public relations practitioners, offering future research directions from a cultural perspective. There is also a clearly-written chapter on doing workplace ethnographic research. This could be helpful to students who are interested in ethnography and have access to workplace settings e.g. through internships.

Dr Liz Yeomans
Public Relations and Communications, Leeds Beckett University
December 18, 2015

Accessible, comprehensive and well organised.

Dr David Calvey
Department of Sociology, Manchester Metropolitan University
September 28, 2015

Adopted at Northumbria University as a recommended text for second and third year undergraduate Fashion students to explore the concepts of taste and cultural mediation in the communication and marketing of fashion products.

Dr Rupert Ashmore
Visual Arts Division, Northumbria University
April 14, 2015

Adopted at Northumbria University as a recommended text for first and second year undergraduate Graphic Design and Interactive Media Design students to explore the concepts of taste and cultural mediation in the communication and marketing of design.

Dr Rupert Ashmore
Visual Arts Division, Northumbria University
April 14, 2015

This is a much needed book which provides useful insights on the role of cultural intermediaries in the society. It is very useful for my students who want to work on this issue as well as for the preparation of my teaching material. I am glad this book exists.

Dr Laurie Hanquinet
Department of Sociology, York University
February 10, 2015

This book is more useful for those studying media and the intricacies of global consumption, rather than Sociology per se.

Mr Dennis Hamilton
Humanities, Bournville College of Further Education
December 28, 2014

Pages

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: Bourdieu on Cultural Intermediaries


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ISBN: 9781446201336
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