Jiří Šafr: Social Standing and Lifestyle in Czech Society
In this paper, I address two associated issues concerning differentiation of cultural consumption, lifestyle and stratification: first, I examine the hypothesis assuming that social classes in the Czech Republic are associated with distinct lifestyles, and second, I look at the social patterning of cultural omnivorousness. In the introductory part, I review cultural consumption and lifestyle theories along with the research agenda related to social stratification. Three theoretical models of class and culture, homology, post-modern individualisation and 'cultural omnivorousness' are introduced. In the second part, using data from the Market & Media & Lifestyle TGI 2004 (MEDIAN s.r.o.), I deal with three dimensions of lifestyle: highbrow cultural tastes/activities, luxury consumption and healthy lifestyle. The hierarchical association between social class (ABCDE Social Grades based on household position) together with education and household income on the one hand and lifestyle on the other is clearly present in the domain of highbrow cultural tastes/activities and luxury consumption but not in the case of healthy lifestyle which is primarily differentiated by education. However, other factors, namely gender, age, and a city as a place of residence, also have a strong impact. The boundary of cultural difference passes between the classes A, B, C and the lower classes D, E. In addition, an examination is made of cultural omnivorousness in the area of a general interest in topics of an informative and entertaining character in the media. Omnivores are more likely to be present in higher status groups defined by education credentials and household income, but the direct effect of social class, with other characteristics controlled for, is tenuous. Generally, cultural consumption and lifestyle is linked to vertical social standing. Consequently, it seems too soon to refer to post-modern stratification theory, with its emphasis on weakened cultural hierarchies and their eroded ties to social class, to clarify the Czech social structure.
Text is in English.
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