Cultural Talk or Cultural Walk? Highbrow Tastes and Network Quality

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Although research shows that highbrow tastes correlate positively with network quality, we know little about why. We hypothesize that individuals need to manifest their highbrow tastes socially, for example via conversations about, or shared participation in, highbrow culture with network ties, for these tastes to enhance network quality and stability. To address this hypothesis empirically, we collected panel data in the Netherlands with information on individuals’ highbrow tastes, social manifestations of these tastes (highbrow talk and shared participation in highbrow activities with ties), and networks. We find that (a) highbrow tastes are positively associated with network quality and stability; (b) highbrow talk (but not shared participation) mediates part of this association; and (c) highbrow tastes and talk are positively associated with the quality of new and continued ties. Our results support the idea that social manifestations of highbrow tastes explain why highbrow tastes enhance network quality and stability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Science Research
Pages (from-to)102855
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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