9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS13 Re-Assessing Class in Contemporary Sociology

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Class, Class Cultures and Gender Building I, 1E11

Class Cultures in "Classless" Finland - Preliminary Results from a National Survey

In recent writings on class it has often be stated that Finnish society would somehow have become equal and classless society. This "classlessness" has often been supported by studies that emphasize the exceptionally narrow income differences in Finland as compared internationally but also some lifestyle and cultural studies, which state that in Finland class and taste differences are almost nonexistent in the area of culture, too. This paper focuses on the cultural aspect of class and addresses cultural participation and taste in Finland. In mapping out the possible class differences, the applicability of Bourdieusian approach to cultural differences between the classes, but also more recent critical developments on the theory of distinction will be discussed.

This paper draws upon the nationally representative survey data (N=1388) collected in 2007 by the research project "Cultural capital and social differentiation in contemporary Finland: An international comparison". In the paper Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) will be applied in order to map out what Bourdieu calls "space of lifestyles". This space of lifestyles will be constructed on the basis of questions concerning different areas of culture including music, TV, films, literature and leisure activity. In what follows we will superimpose different background variables in order to find out about different cultural patterns or certain categories of people sharing different tastes. The analysis focuses on the aspect of class in order to understand, if there are clear class patterns what comes to culture and taste. Furthermore, we shall then compare the results with the results of congruent study in Britain.