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Taste Regimes and Market-Mediated Practice

Zeynep Arsel, Jonathan Bean
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/666595 899-917 First published online: 1 February 2013

Abstract

Taste has been conceptualized as a boundary-making mechanism, yet there is limited theory on how it enters into daily practice. In this article, the authors develop a practice-based framework of taste through qualitative and quantitative analysis of a popular home design blog, interviews with blog participants, and participant observation. First, a taste regime is defined as a discursively constructed normative system that orchestrates practice in an aesthetically oriented culture of consumption. Taste regimes are perpetuated by marketplace institutions such as magazines, websites, and transmedia brands. Second, the authors show how a taste regime regulates practice through continuous engagement. By integrating three dispersed practices—problematization, ritualization, and instrumentalization—a taste regime shapes preferences for objects, the doings performed with objects, and what meanings are associated with objects. This study demonstrates how aesthetics is linked to practical knowledge and becomes materialized through everyday consumption.

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