This research was conducted by Antonio Ariño Villarroya and Ramon Llopis-Goig at the University of Valencia, Spain


This paper takes data from the Survey of Cultural Habits and Practices in Spain 2018/19 to reveal three groups of people in what the authors call ‘the cultivated population’ (essentially, the cultural elite). The three groups were ‘classicals’ who tended to be older and more educated (and tended to be female), ‘moderns’ who were young (typically students and more likely to be male) and ‘syncretics’ who were of all ages, tended to be female, and also highly educated. The main finding of the paper is that the highly engaged cultural elite do not comprise a uniform group.

The 'cultivated classicals', 'cultivated moderns' and 'cultivated syncretics' each had slightly different cultural tastes

The cultivated classics had the highest interest in reading, museums and heritage, with high interest in performance and classical arts and music, and the lowest score in interest in cinema and audiovisuals. The cultivated moderns had the highest musical interests, as well as high scores in reading, museums and heritage and cinema/audiovisual. The cultivated syncretics had the highest interest in both performance and classical arts and in cinema and audiovisual contents. They also scored lowest in interest in reading and in interest in museums and heritage. They were named ‘syncretics’ rather than ‘eclectics’ or ‘omnivores’ because they seemed to strategically select ‘the best’ from the two other groups identified in the paper.

The research has a particular story to tell about the role of music

All groups in this ‘cultivated’ population were music lovers across quite a variety of genres and if snobs existed (people who only listened to one or two genres) then they were ‘a very small minority’. Age and date of birth tended to determine whether someone was into classical or modern music. When it comes to the origin of musical forms, ‘cultivated syncretics are more pro local-national genres, while both cultivated classicals (with jazz, blues, world music) and cultivated moderns (with foreign pop/rock, rap, reggae or hip-hop) are more inclined towards the prestige of international productions’.

Title Elites and culture: Social profiles in the cultivated population
Author(s) Ariño Villarroya, A. & Llopis-Goig, R.
Publication date 2021
Source Cultural Sociology, online
Author email