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Why cultural attitudes and lifestyles remains so stratified and differentiated in the context of cultural globalisation?

Abstract : A well-established tradition of research in the social sciences insists on the symbolic dimensions of social stratification and social classes' relations in contemporary societies that are not reducible to their relations in the sphere of production. Fist and foremost, many authors, from Halbwachs and Veblen to Bourdieu, have intended to challenge the predominantly "production-based" conception of social classes, inherited form the Marxian tradition, insisting on what could be designed as a "consumption-based" theory of social classes, in which people tend to differentiate themselves from each other on the base of their patterns of consumption expenditures, lifestyles, tastes and habits in such diverse areas than clothing, food or cultural activities, but also on the base of their moral or political values, and even their religious or spiritual beliefs. Theses two conceptions - production-based and lifestyles-based theories of social classes - are in fact far form being mutually exclusive, to the extent that the social stratification of lifestyles often extends end expresses the social cleavages that originate in the sphere of production. But the lifestyles-based theory nonetheless suggests the relative autonomy of people lifestyles as to the purely economic factors. In particular, in the sphere of consumption, the behaviours patterns are merely considered as an exclusive matter of price/earning optimization, but entail a cultural and social framing of people choices and preferences. In this paper, we will try to evaluate the relevance of this "consumption-based" or "lifestylesbased" orientation and, perhaps more generally, the relevance of all the class-schemes that focus on the symbolic dimensions of social interactions, be they religious, spiritual or cultural, in a broader sense.
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Philippe Coulangeon. Why cultural attitudes and lifestyles remains so stratified and differentiated in the context of cultural globalisation?. Globalization, Culture and Society, Feb 2010, Pune, India. ⟨hal-01053283⟩



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