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The Cultural Intermediaries Reader

The Cultural Intermediaries Reader

Edited by:

August 2014 | 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
Liz Moor
Caroline E.M. Hodges and Lee Edwards
Public Relations Practitioners
Victoria Durrer and Dave O’Brien
Arts Promotion
Lise Skov
Charles Fairchild
Popular Music
Tania Lewis
Lifestyle Media
Julian Matthews
Jennifer Smith Maguire
Lynne Pettinger
David Wright
Book Retail
Richard E. Ocejo
Food and Drink

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
August 17, 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

A book which helps to develop more in-depth understanding of diversity.

Social Work , Canterbury Christ Church University
December 10, 2014

Global and international aspects of the theme is not detailed sufficiently.

Mr Altug Akin
Faculty of Communication, Izmir University of Economics
December 10, 2014

Jennifer Smith Maguire

 Jennifer Smith Maguire is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management, University of Leicester. Her work on cultural intermediaries has a specific focus on the cultural fields of fitness and wine. Her work has been published in such journals as Consumption, Markets & Culture, International Journal of Cultural Studies, and the European Journal of Cultural Studies, and she is the author of Fit for Consumption: Sociology and the Business of Fitness (2008).   More About Author

Julian Matthews

Julian Matthews lectures in the Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester. His research interests include the cultural work of journalists, news production and the professional mediation of social problems. He is the author of Producing Serious News for Citizen Children: A Study of the BBC’s Children’s Programme , Newsround (2010). He convenes the British Sociological Association Media Study Group and is Communication and Media Section Editor of Sociology Compass. More About Author

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