A Matter of Taste
  • Aug 11, 2000
    350 p., 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
    62 b/w illus.
    ISBN: 9780300083859
  • Cloth: $24.00 tx
Social Science

A Matter of Taste

How Names, Fashions, and Culture Change

  • Stanley Lieberson


"Lieberson approaches fashions in first names with a powerful understanding of complexity and with the inventive playfulness and humor that embroider his conversation. This is great fun, and great sociology."—Bonnie Erickson, University of Toronto

"It’s a wonderful book. Lieberson has a distinctive style of thinking and writing. Any topic he turns his attention to will produce a result that is idiosyncratic, and unique, and absolutely worth attention."—Howard S. Becker

"An empirical tour de force with powerful implications for the study of fashion, popular culture, and beyond."—John R. Sutton, University of California, Santa Barbara

"This study of changes in choice of first names is the occasion for a clever analysis of changes in fashion, and of causal explanation more generally. With his usual theoretical sophistication, Lieberson marshals a remarkably wide range of evidence to provide us with a very interesting read. A major achievement by a major scholar."—Michèle Lamont, Princeton University

“There are certain books in cultural sociology that accumulate so much evidence and subject it to such painstaking scrutiny that one cannot help but be convinced by them; the thesis is not so much argued as established. Such books are written by full professors with lots of resources, immense patience, and high standards. . . . Lieberson has produced another of these rarities. . . . Books like A Matter of Taste set the benchmark for sociological practice and remind us of how often we fall short.”—Wendy Griswold, American Journal of Sociology

“The book provides valuable insights that should stimulate new research on cultural change. . . . It will, . . . provide stimulating supplementary reading in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses on the sociology of culture, popular culture, and the media.”—Contemporary Sociology

“Lieberson has written a subtle and technically sophisticated analysis of changes in taste by examining the cultural patterns influencing the first names given to children in the past two centuries. . . . This carefully reasoned study should be of interest to sociologists, historians, and students of cultural studies.”—Library Journal