How place shapes taste: The local formation of middle-class residential preferences in two Israeli cities

Guy Shani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This article studies the preferences of middle-class residents for old or new neighborhoods in two Israeli cities, and describes the ways local social space mediates the translation of the habitus into generative preferences. Most sociological studies either ignore questions of place or explicitly reject the role of place in shaping class tastes. While a number of recent studies have demonstrated the role of place in shaping class tastes, the mechanisms underlying the role of place have yet to be investigated and conceptualized. This study addresses this lacuna. Based on a mixed-methods comparative design, the article first presents the relationship between spatial and class processes underlying the particular social space of each of the two cities – that is, the local association between old/new neighborhoods and different populations, symbolic boundaries, and expectations regarding the future of different neighborhoods. It then shows how local social space is reflected in local narratives and patterns of distinction, which are interwoven with residents' accounts of their choices and preferences. The study argues that middle-class tastes are formed locally by a process of “emplacement,” in which social actors find their socially designated place in specific urban settings and develop the tastes and dispositions associated with these areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867-891
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


This paper is based on a PhD dissertation submitted to the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University, under the direction of Nissim Mizrachi. Appreciation is expressed to Eva Illouz and Yuval Yonay, who were at the dissertation committee. Appreciation is also expressed to Ori Schwartz, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by The Jonathan Shapira Foundation, The David Horowitz Research Institute, and Tel-Aviv Global Research Scholarship.

FundersFunder number
David Horowitz Research Institute
Jonathan Shapira Foundation
Tel Aviv University


    • Bourdieu
    • Culture
    • class
    • place
    • urbanity


    Dive into the research topics of 'How place shapes taste: The local formation of middle-class residential preferences in two Israeli cities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this