The economy turned upside down: Bourdieu and Australian bohemia

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Abstract

This article engages Bourdieu s work on the cultural field to ask how the bohemian identity helped an aspiring artist make sense of the opportunities and problems encountered in the Australian cultural market, and how competition between established and new cultural players over several generations constituted a bohemian tradition in denial. Bourdieu s concept of the economy turned upside down does not merely critique the romantic claims of autonomy from the market explicit in the bohemian identity, but reveals how the performance of autonomy through transgression made cultural producers as diverse as Tom Roberts, Henry Lawson, the Angry Penguins modernists or the Oz satirists attractive to the bourgeois consumer. There are, nevertheless, significant ways that the Australian bohemian tradition differs from the Western European experience theorized by Bourdieu, namely in the areas of politics, popular culture and postcolonial national assertion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45 - 56
Number of pages12
JournalContinuum: Journal of Media and Cultural Studies
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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