Participation in the arts by black and white Americans

Paul Dimaggio, Francie Ostrower

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Survey data are used to explore differences between black and white participation in Euro-American and Afro-American art. Most black/white differences in Euro-American high-culture participation reflect educational inequality; but even with controls, black Americans participate at somewhat lower rates than whites. Differences are greatest for public consumption, smaller for private consumption and arts production. Blacks participate substantially more than whites in historically Afro-American art forms. Two competing explanations, a convergence theory positing acculturation and black/white convergence, and a resistance model predicting greater differences with increased economic competition, are assessed. The evidence suggests middle-class convergence with regard to Euro-American, and undiminished distinctiveness with regard to Afro-American art forms, reflecting the need of upwardly mobile minorities to maintain credible membership claims in both dominant and minority cultures.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)753-778
    Number of pages26
    JournalSocial Forces
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Mar 1990

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology and Political Science


    Dive into the research topics of 'Participation in the arts by black and white Americans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this