The German Social Space and its Homologies: National variation on a basic structure

Will J Atkinson, Andreas Schmitz

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

1 Citation (Scopus)
70 Downloads (Pure)


This paper constructs a comprehensive new model of the contemporary class structure of Germany. More specifically, inspired by Pierre Bourdieu’s geometric conception of class relations and drawing on original survey data, it adopts multiple correspondence analysis paired with cluster analysis to chart the German ‘social space’, that is, the relational configuration of key forms of capital. It then explores correspondences with occupational groups, ethnic groups, other demographic features, lifestyle practices and tastes. The results disclose specific structuring effects of German peculiarities on the distribution of social power, including East-West reunification and the long-running guestworker programme. More fundamentally, though, in its basic structure the space resembles that mapped by Bourdieu in France and those documented by others elsewhere, suggesting common principles of social and symbolic differentiation among Western capitalist societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-191
Number of pages24
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: The research on which this article was based was funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement no. 677055).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


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