9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Quantitative Modelling of Cultural Phenomena Building II, C4.07

The social structuring of lifestyles: an analysis of cultural lifestyles, based on both attitudinal and behavioural lifestyle aspects

In this paper, we intend to further the quest for adequate models explaining lifestyle differences within contemporary Western societies. This main research goal is embedded in the current debate on cultural lifestyles and their link with social structure and social inequality. Both the ?classical? homology arguments and recent additions to this model are discussed.
Moreover, we opt for an alternative conceptualization of cultural lifestyles. With some exceptions, most sociological studies solely focus on respondents? actual participation or cultural taste (preferences). Recent research, however, suggests the importance of other attitudinal aspects such as participation motives, (aesthetic) expectations or barriers to barriers. Only few empirical contributions combine these attitudinal and behavioural aspects within their lifestyle conceptualizations. However, the arguments that have arisen in the debate all point to the relevance of a combined approach. In general, we argue that an analysis of preferences, expectations, thresholds and motives, used in combination with behavioural indicators of cultural lifestyles, provides more detailed information and thus results in a more fine-tuned description of lifestyle variance.
We use data coming from a large-scale 2003-2004 survey on cultural participation in Flanders (Re-Creatief Vlaanderen), and lifestyle typologies are built by means of latent class clustering techniques. The broad explanatory model used for the explanation of lifestyle variance includes several indicators of cultural capital, age, as well as gender, social network size, degree of urbanization, family composition and job category.
The main conclusions put forward are : a) that differences in the amount of cultural capital explain an important fraction of lifestyle differentiation, despite the importance of other, non-class and non-status covariates, b) that this lifestyle variance runs along several scales, among which the differences between home-centred or ?private? and outdoor or ?public? participation. Furthermore we found c) that the analysis of attitudinal lifestyle indicators clearly leads to a better insight in cultural and symbolical differentiation and d) that the latter especially is important when it comes to explaining, on the one hand,differences between individuals with home-centred versus outwardly directed lifestyles and, on the other hand, differences within the group with (mainly) home-centred lifestyles.