In with a concrete example of what I believe

In the literal sense, taste usually refers to
gustation or an individual´s capability of detecting the flavours of food and
drink (Cambridge English Dictionary, n.d.). Nonetheless, in terms of
sociological study, there is not any consensus on the definition of ´taste´. On
one hand, it is defined as an activity which is related to socio-cultural
context, rather than as an individual matter of
internal reflection (Højlund, 2015, p.1). On the other hand, according
to Alain de Botton, taste is one´s personal preferences in choosing cultural
products (Mitchell, 2015). However, it can be said that both of these
definitions are related to the concept of aesthetics because the distinctive thoughts
about what is beautiful and what is ugly always exist in everyone´s mind, hence
leading to a particular taste for a specific cultural product. As a result, this
brings about a question in regard to the normative criticism on what should be
called good taste and bad taste.
            To answer the main question about
what is bad taste, I am going to elaborate more on it by starting with a
concrete example of what I believe to be considered as bad taste. Then using
Bourdieu´s distinction theory to explain the choice and illustrate how tastes
connect to social stratification, applying McCoy and Scarborough´s (2014)
viewing styles, and eventually link the symbolic display of (bad) taste to
dramaturgical theories of Goffman.
modern times, it is hard not to run into some eye-catching and colorful walls which
are mainly painted by the youngsters while walking along the streets all over
the world. Graffiti art, also known as street art, might be appraised as an
immensely creative and highly artistic art form by some people; however, to
some, it might just be one kind of kitsch or bad taste. Kitsch is defined as “mechanical”
that “operates by formulas” and “demands nothing of its customers except
their money — not even their time” (Greenberg, 1939, p. 262).
to the principle of good taste and bad taste, it is inevitable not to mention
Immanuel Kant´s one of the first arguments on theirs definitions. Kant claims
that they all depend on subjective feelings; therefore, there are no standards
to base on and judge what is to be considered good taste and bad taste
(Ginsborg, 2005). By contrast, the French sociologist Bourdieu argues that
there is indeed distinction in cultural consumption and it is displayed by
social classes in his distinction theory, which implies argument against Kant´s
one (Jenkins, 2014). The distinction theory refers to members of dominant classes
with high culture capital and socio-economic status using their superior
cultural education to reinforce symbolic boundaries between social groups
(upper class and lower class) and legitimize their own cultural tastes while perpetuating
their aesthetic separation from other cultural forms (or what they condemn as
low art)(McCoy and Scarborough, 2014, p. 43). We can infer that good
taste in art is only recognized by these elite consumers (or members of
dominant classes) since ´´cultural capital is a currency based on taste´´
(Alexander, 2003, p.229). Moreover, the institutionalization (also known as the
reproduction of powerful elites´ knowledge) is a significant factor to consider
what is high art even though it sometimes excludes good artworks appreciated by
non-elite tastemakers (Alexander, 2003, p. 240); meanwhile, Graffiti art does
not conform to this standard.
in order to question whether Bourdieu´s study of strict homology can be
genererlizable beyond the French context, the omnivore theory was proposed by
the American sociologist Richard Peterson (McCoy and Scarborough, 2014, p. 43). Alexander (2003)
illustrates that the hierarchy of tastes is disappearing in contemporary
society (p. 232). Instead, there is an appearance of omnivorous consumers who are
from high classes and consume a wide range of art forms (both low art and high
art)(Alexander, 2003, p. 232). Besides, they are becoming more and more
omnivorous over time (Peterson and Kern, 1996, p. 900). With this theory, we can
infer that the veering consumption typologies are manifesting among consumers
of bad art (like Graffiti).