How do taste and distinction relate to each other? What is the relationship between taste and civil society? What is left of the imitation thesis, that proceeded from the assumption that the taste of burghers adapted itself to aristocratic taste, or the alternative, equally fiercely defended thesis of a gradual progression toward bourgeois taste in the 18th century? What were the prevailing notions of good taste? And how did they relate to actual practice? How quickly and in what way did taste surmount social and political borders? What is the relation between center and periphery? And what was the role of taste in the 18th century in the emergence of a modern consumption culture?