Lifestyles and Social Stratification: An Explorative Study of France and Norway

An earlier version of this paper was presented at a meeting of The ISA’s Research Committee on Social Stratification and Mobility, Yale University, 2009, at the SOCCULT seminar, Centre Maurice Halbwachs, 2009. We thank participants at these meetings for valuable comments. This version was first published by the GEMASS in February 2012 as GeWop-3. A version of this article was published in Gunn Elisabeth Birkelund (ed.), Class and Stratification Analysis (Comparative Social Research, Volume 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, p.189-220.

This paper is published by the Groupe d’étude des méthodes de l’Analyse sociologique de la Sorbonne (GEMASS - CNRS, Paris Sorbonne, FMSH) in Paris, under the cover of the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme’s collection of working papers.

Comparing France and Norway we will take a new approach to the discussion on lifestyles and social stratification. Instead of anchoring our definition of social stratification in predefined concepts, such as social class or status, we will empirically explore the latent patterns of social stratification and lifestyles. Our strategy allows us to investigate if social stratification is best measured by one, two or more dimensions; and then to map associated patterns of lifestyles onto this/these dimension(s).

As indicators of social stratification we use education, household income and occupational status, and to measure lifestyles we use data from two surveys on lifestyles and cultural consumption (Media og kulturforbruksundersøkelsen 2004, Norway and module Pratiques culturelles et sportives, Enquête Permanente sur les Conditions de Vie 2003, France). We limit our analysis to occupationally active respondents, 20-64 years of age.

We would expect our findings to differ somewhat between the two countries, but given that social stratification is a pervasive element of all modern societies, we would also expect to find common empirical patterns that may be of relevance to the way we conceptualize lifestyles and social stratification.

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