Publishers, authors, and texts: The process of cultural consecration in prize evaluation

Clayton Childress*, Craig Michael Rawlings, Brian Moeran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

As cultural objects are of subjective quality, the determinants of their consecration as being of lasting value is a common focus of research. Most typically, scholars look to three constituent features of cultural objects: 1) the characteristics of their creators, 2) the statuses of their sponsoring organizations, and 3) more limitedly, the textual features of the objects themselves. Rather than treating these features as independently assigned, Bourdieu argues they are different manifestations of the same latent positional and dispositional spaces in the field from which new cultural objects emerge. Using a new dataset on the full population of submissions to the Booker Prize for Fiction over nine years (N = 1094), we rely on a suite of characteristics across these three areas of foci to examine the latent positions in the field through which “art” is defined and consecrated. Findings show the consecration process begins with publishers’ nominations, which reflect a relational field of competing positions occupied by different groups under the canopy of the former British Empire. Afterward, juries’ decisions of shortlisters and then winners reveal how consecration emerges through a distancing from England-centered voices, followed by a growing preference for legitimation by the literary establishment, and male over female voices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
JournalPoetics
Volume60
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

Keywords

  • Consecration
  • Literary field
  • Prizes and awards

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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