The social standing of new and traditional occupations in Greece: A Weberian approach
Social Sciences European University, Cyprus Nicosia, Cyprus
Preschool education and educational design University of the Aegean, Greece Rhodes, Greece
Pre-School Education and Educational Design University of the Aegean Rhodes, Greece
The changing social hierarchies in society are of primary concern to many sociologists. Social hierarchies are connected with issues of symbolic power and distribution of wealth and have been at the core of sociological inquiry since the invention of sociology as a discipline. It is a particularly crucial issue in societies where structural transformation shapes and reshapes the available opportunities for social success.
This paper presents the findings from a sociological investigation of the way new and traditional occupations are perceived in contemporary Greek society. During the academic year 2005/6 as part of the research activities of the Laboratory of Social and Educational Studies (Department of Pre-School Education and Educational Design, University of the Aegean, Greece) the authors of this proposed paper coordinated a national survey in Greece. Nearly 600 questionnaires were distributed to a random stratified sample using a snowball technique, covering urban, semi-urban and rural areas. In the end 495 cases were included in our analysis (response rate 82.5%). Following a Weberian approach, we examined the way the general Greek population perceived forty occupations from all sectors of the economy in terms of six dimensions: their social standing, their desirability, the income they generated, their usefulness to society and the access they were thought to offer to power centres. These six dimensions were then investigated in order to determine their weight in making up an index of occupational classification. This index was then compared with International Occupational Indexes (i.e. ISCO-88) to assess how well the selected occupations correlated. Moreover, these 40 occupations were investigated for their gender profile; that is, how much people thought they were suited to men and women. Our analysis points to interesting findings in terms of the way new and traditional occupations are perceived in contemporary Greek society and in terms of the primary determinants of their social standing. This, in turn, has implications for social mobility and social reproduction studies of how available opportunities (educational and occupational) become accessible to different social groups.