The Internet: Leveler or divider? A cultural capital perspective

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Published Version.

Smith-Mitchell, E. & Dubelaar, C. (2006). The Internet: Leveler or divider? A cultural capital perspective. Paper presented at the 2006 American Marketing Association (AMA) winter educators' conference, St Petersburg, Florida, United States.

Access the conference proceedings. (Paper pp. 160-167.)

© Copyright the American Marketing Association, 2006.


Past contentions that the Internet will eliminate divisions between those of high cultural capital and low cultural capital (Bourdieu 1984) are examined in this research. We use a grounded theory approach using a sample of 10 respondents from within a limited demographic profile to demonstrate that those of high cultural capital use the Internet quite differently from those of low cultural capital. Our research provides evidence for two of the six dimensions of taste suggested by Holt (1998). These differences in use reproduce, reinforce, and exacerbate the extant differences between high and low cultural capital consumers.

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This document has been peer reviewed.