Tag Archives | Musical Taste

The End of Symbolic Exclusion? The Rise of “Categorical Tolerance” in the Musical Tastes of Americans: 1993–2012

Omar Lizardo, Sara Skiles

Sociological Science, February 11, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a5

In this article, we aim to contribute to recent work in the sociology of taste on the role of cultural dislikes as resources for symbolic exclusion and identity construction. We merge a new data set that replicates musical taste (patterns of likes and dislikes) items from the 1993 GSS with a new data source, resulting in the first repeated cross-section on patterns of likes and dislikes in the U.S. population. Our key finding is that there has been a dramatic shift in the way that people from the United States use cultural dislikes for purposes of symbolic exclusion: namely, the rise of a significant segment of the population that refuses to use culture for this purpose. To shed further light on this pattern, we deploy a statistical model that allows us to distinguish respondents who could have expressed dislikes but did not from those who were predisposed to not dislike any cultural form from the very beginning. The results show that the main drivers of the shift towards “refusing to dislike” are very likely cohort replacement and the increasing “browning” of the American population.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Omar Lizardo: Department of Sociology, University of Notre Dame  Email: olizardo@nd.edu

Sara Skiles: Department of Sociology, University of Notre Dame Email: sskiles@nd.edu

Acknowledgements: This research was made possible by funding from NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (Award ID SES-1203426) awarded to the second author (with the first author as PI) and a University of Notre Dame Institute for Scholarship in Liberal Arts Graduate Student Research Award awarded to the second author.


  • Citation: Lizardo, Omar, and Sara Skiles. 2016. “The End of Symbolic Exclusion? The Rise of “Categorical Tolerance” in the Musical Tastes of Americans: 1993 – 2012.” Sociological Science 3: 85-108.
  • Received: July 26, 2015.
  • Accepted: August 3, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Gabriel Rossman
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a5