The Swedish Space of Lifestyles and Symbolic Domination

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This paper constructs a model of the space of lifestyles in Sweden. It does so not simply to test whether its structure conforms to that discovered by Bourdieu and his colleagues in 1970’s France, and confirmed by others across the globe, but to examine the extent to which it is wrapped up with symbolic domination. It draws on data from an unusually rich survey of consumption patterns and taste fielded in 2017 (n=1,948) and deploys the technique of multiple correspondence analysis in combination with cluster analysis. Oppositions between exclusive and accessible culture and between ‘highbrow’ culture and materialistic/appearance-oriented practices are revealed and the correspondences with capital, age, gender and other factors explored. The cluster analysis suggests that the force of capital composition in differentiating lifestyles relative to age varies in proportion to capital volume. Crucially, analysis suggests it is the economically rich, rather than those rich in cultural capital, who are most confident in their tastes and lifestyles.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Science Information
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Dec 2020


  • Bourdieu
  • class
  • lifestyles
  • multiple correspondence analysis
  • Sweden
  • symbolic violence

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