The relationship between class and culture is a sociological debate that has produced many different conclusions. Culture can be seen as reproducing the class position. A person’s taste in things like food, sports, entertainment, and other cultural aspects is shown to reflect his or her class, showing a difference between working, middle, and upper classes. Certain culture behaviors that come from a person’s class serves to reinforce these social hierarchies showing that cultural capital has an important impact on lifestyle.

Bourdieu describes the term habitus as a class based outlook to life so that people have class-specific ways of being in and relating to the world, and would therefore distinctly affect a person’s taste. This makes sense since the habitus is socially constructed so that those who have to struggle to make ends meet, the working class, will have a different outlook on life than those who have a lot of money to waste, the upper class. The middle class is often problematic since belonging between these two groups tends to make definitions harder to formulate. The middle class is therefore shown to play a game of distinction and is labeled as “status seekers”, so that they can separate themselves from the lower class. These different outlooks on life based on class affect a person’s cultural taste.

Habitus therefore influences lifestyle choices. The upper class are not concerned with the necessities of life and therefore have a certain freedom in their taste They will go to high class restaurants where presentation and environment are more important than getting their money’s worth. They will play tennis or polo and go to opera and museums. All this reflects a highly formalized taste. The working class however needs to work to make ends meet and are therefore more practical, functional, and down to earth than the upper class. This specific position and habitus again affects the class’s taste. For example, the working class will instead eat at family restaurants where a lot of food is served at a low price. They will go to bars and public dances and play football. The specific choice to go the family restaurant rather than the expensive French restaurant is therefore specifically associated with class.

This point is further proven through the middle class. The middle class habitus is characterized as playing the game of distinction. They seek to be like the higher class but do not have the assets to do so. Therefore the typical taste in culture is reflective of this. For example the middle class will eat at expensive restaurants and where designer clothes whenever possible, spending any extra money to be like those in the higher classes.

Therefore, a person’s culture preference is determined by the class-based habitus of which they belong to. Likewise, a person’s taste will then reflect his or her class history. Cultural capital helps strengthen the distinction between the classes. Cultural capital is types of speech, educational level, and cultural preferences. These, according to Bourdieu develop from and are reflective of class background. Thus this cultural capital restricts access to other cultural assets and powers. For example, since a working class person is not inclined to go to the opera or an important art exhibition, he or she will not interact with the higher class. This therefore creates more distinctions between classes and reinforces cultural preferences.