The following study investigates the role of visual art within a class based system in contemporary American society. This study explores existing literature related to the role of visual art in society, discusses the theories of Walter Benjamin, Georg Simmel, and Pierre Bourdieu to understand the role of visual art in society, and analyzes the results of a survey which was distributed to randomly selected undergraduate students currently attending The College of Wooster and The Ohio State University Main Campus. This study aims to understand the role of visual art based on socio-economic status in contemporary American society. After reviewing existing literature, discussing the theories of Benjamin, Simmel and Bourdieu, and analyzing the survey results, it became clear socio-economic status does influence access to and consumption of visual art in contemporary American society.


Tierney, Thomas


Sociology and Anthropology


Demography, Population, and Ecology | Fine Arts

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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