Structures of consumption and professional identity: an analysis of the French household budget survey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Admitting that the ‘big’ classes hide too much pertinent information, there is a growing body of work on lifestyles, practices, and consumption patterns of more detailed occupational groups that seeks to distinguish the underlying social structures. While extensive research in cultural class analysis (CCA) focuses on class practices, still, limited attention is paid to agents’ strategic interests. Using the French household expenditure survey and focusing on the professional and managerial groups, I explore the internal divisions in the structures of consumption, instrumental for professional advancement within the ‘service class.’ I find conclusive evidence of maintained distinctions between the identities of business, technical and educational professions through the expenditure-based structures of consumption. I argue that the instrumental, capital-signalling role of strategic investments in the markers of distinction closely resonates with the Bourdieusian logic as a set of principles delineating not only the cultural, but also the social space.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date27 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Bourdieu
  • cultural class analysis
  • capital
  • consumption
  • occupation
  • expenditure survey
  • professional identity
  • career strategy
  • strategic interests


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