May 30 2018

Class, culture and symbolic boundaries

Cultural differences constitutes a basis for symbolic boundaries – not just between classes, but also within classes, between class fractions with high cultural resources and those with high economic resources.

Senior researcher Vegard Jarness (NIFU) has published an article in a special issue of European Societies about class and social space in different European countries. Jarness focuses on how Norwegians in different class positions draw symbolic boundaries between “us” and “them” in terms of lifestyle and cultural taste.

The article is based on both quantitative and qualitative analyses. It demonstrates that the ways in which Norwegians categorize other people are influenced by their position in the class structure. It also shows how symbolic boundaries manifest themselves both vertically (between those in the upper and lower regions of the class structure) and horizontally (between those with high cultural capital and those with high economic capital). The article contributes with theoretical and methodological insights to the scholarly debate about the relevance of Pierre Bourdieu’s perspectives to understand social inequalities in contemporary society.

The article is available here: “Viewpoints and points of view: Situating symbolic boundary drawing in social space”.

For more information, contact
Vegard Jarness, Senior researcher, Primary & Secondary education
(+47) 922 16 921
vegard.jarness@nifu.no