When a child from a working-class family rises to the middle class as an adult, he largely adopts the taste and lifestyle of his new social class.
However, the cultural creation of leather is not quite all-encompassing, points out the Tampere University sociology researcher Jarmo Kallunki in his dissertation.
“Although in a large number of areas of life, people who came from the working class adopt middle-class practices, those who came from the middle class are more diligent in them,” says Kallunki.
Those who rose from the working class to the middle class read books and go to the theater and art exhibitions, but on average less than those who also grew up in a middle-class home.
People who rise from the working class to the middle class clearly reduce their television viewing.
Childhood the difference in family background is not only visible in aspects of lifestyle that are considered valued.
Social rise also leads to giving up activities related to the previous background. People who rise from the working class to the middle class clearly reduce their television viewing.
But even in this case, they don’t abuse television quite as much as middle-class adults.
According to the study, rising to the middle class also led to middle-class food preferences. The abstinence from meat and, on the other hand, the appreciation of light and ethnic food grew greater than those who remained in the working class.
Kalunki also looked at the change in taste according to whether one rose to the middle class through university education or professional status.
In both ways, those who fell into the middle class adopted the taste of their new class, but there were some differences. For example, those who went through university read books as much as those who grew up in the middle class, in contrast to those who rose through the profession.
“What kind of social networks you end up in through your education or profession is important.
Kallunki only studied the effect of social rise on cultural taste. In his material, there were only a few cases where people, despite their middle-class childhood home, had ended up in working-class status.
Socially, the hobbies and preferences of the upper classes are more valued than those of the lower classes.
In the world according to research, downward social mobility does not mean adopting the habits of a new social class.
“When people sort of fall in the class hierarchy, they stick to the lifestyle they got in a middle-class upbringing.”
Those who have experienced class decline have found themselves in conflicting situations when they try to maintain, for example, their middle-class eating habits.
“When they end up in the working class, the money is no longer enough for the kind of food culture that you got used to in your childhood and youth. They are also in environments where ‘sophisticated foods’ are no longer valued, but are viewed a bit like Are you trying to be something.”
In Kallungi’s words, “middle-class dominance” prevails in the cultural taste.
Everyone’s the attraction to middle-class things reinforces the perception that there really is a hierarchy of taste in society. Socially, the hobbies and preferences of the upper classes are more valued than those of the lower classes.
Often people want to deny that there is any ranking of tastes. All cultural preferences are equally valuable, we assure you.
A cultural sociologist sees something else behind this assurance of equality.
“You can ask whose interest is served by saying that.”
Kallunki thinks that working-class people can support their sense of self-worth by emphasizing that plays are just as valuable as operas.
The upper middle class, on the other hand, can hide their own privileges with a similar declaration.
“Both those in a weak and well-off position can hide their class background, but the reason may be different.”
Kallunki reminds us that cultural values are not based on any objective measures of what is good and what is bad. There is still a hierarchy, even if it is only based on a commonly shared understanding of the order of values.
“You can’t fight against such a thing alone.”
“Lifestyles differ according to social class.”
In his dissertation Kallunki divided people into the upper middle class, which includes highly educated managers and senior officials.
The middle class is also determined by higher education, but the professional status is lower. Those who belong to the working class, on the other hand, have attended a vocational school and do manual work.
According to Kallungi, the division is borderline vague. However, the cultural taste changes in a relatively straightforward way according to the higher social class people are placed in.
Opera, classical music, literature, and theater visits are all the more the higher one rises in the social ladder.
“It has probably never been unclear that lifestyles differ according to social class.”
These lifestyles and preferences are also inherited in Finland. In his dissertation, Kallunki showed in particular that general cultural activity or the lack of it is passed from parents to children.
“It has been said that cultural participation is polarized between those who use a lot of culture and those who do not participate in anything. This seems to be inherited.”
Inheritance does not only apply to literature and other enjoyments, but also to everyday culture, such as handicrafts or gardening.
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