9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS13 Re-Assessing Class in Contemporary Sociology

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Class After Communism: Inequalities and Lifestyles in East European Societies Building I, 1E11

Similarities and recent differences in the post-comunist world: Social class differenciation and inequalities in Hungary and West-Romania

The paper aims to highlight the characteristics of social stratification in Hungary and West-Romania (Transylvania) during the mid 2000?s in a comparative perspective, with an emphasis on the situation of Hungarians from these regions. Our purpose is to analyze and compare the accession to different social positions, the main inequalities in income and resources.
The theoretical background we used the Szelenyi, Townsley and Eyal's and Erikson-Goldthorpe-Portocarero's theories about stratification and transformation.
Social structure and the ethnic character of mobility in communist regimes has been little investigated. In Romania, but we have relevant studies in case of Hungary.
Methodologically, our paper is construed as a status index which contains the following dimensions: income, housing conditions, material situation, life conditions. By combining the status index and occupational positions, we create a classial structure with five main classes, while this method is also adequate for international comparative purposes.
The source of empirical data is represented by a retrospective processing of the 1. Wave of the research entitled "Turning points in our lives", carried out among Hungarians from Hungary and West Romania.
The comparison between Hungary and West Romania takes place along following dimensions: economic activity, occupational level, laboure market situation, life conditions, spousal structure, occupation structure, incomes, characterisation of occupational groups from a material-income point of view, evolution of social status, social status determining factors according to cohorts.
As results, the following may be stated in relation to this comparison between the two countries and regions. In Hungary, the regime change took place according to a different pace than in Romania, which marked differently the social structure created. The fact that the proportion of agricultural workers is significantly higher in Transylvania than in Hungary may be interpreted as the survival of differences perceptible during historial development. Another important characteristic is that the service sector is more widespread in Hungary and the proportion of related occupational groups is higher. Inequalities have been increasing since the 1989 regime change from the perspective of the material situation and incomes. Income inequlities are even higher and the stratum of deprived persons is largerin Romania than in Hungary