How do class, status, ethnicity, and religiosity shape cultural omnivorousness in Israel?

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In this article we study the determinants of cultural participation in Israel with an emphasis on the Weberian distinction between class and status. The class measure is based on occupational groupings, and status is operationalized as a rank of occupations based on social distance. We expect that class will be less important than status in shaping cultural participation patterns. In addition, due to the importance of ethnicity and religiosity in Israeli society, we expect that these factors will be significant in shaping cultural participation. Data are based on two telephone surveys conducted in 2006 and 2007 of a random sample of the Jewish population in Israel. We find that, contrary to our expectation, class is more influential than status. We also find that ethnicity and religiosity are important factors that shape cultural participation patterns. We discuss possible explanations to the finding regarding class and status, with special attention to the role cultural policy plays in mediating the economic effect on consumer behavior. We also call for more attention to ethnicity and religiosity in studies of cultural stratification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cultural Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments We thank Oshrat Hochman and Guillermo Huberman for research assistance. We also wish to thank Jordi López-Sintas, Stanley Waterman, and participants of the ‘‘Social Status, Lifestyle and Cultural Consumption’’ project for their comments on earlier drafts. Two anonymous reviewers provided thorough and insightful suggestions. The first author was supported by a grant from The Israel Foundation Trustees 29/2006.


  • Cultural consumption
  • Cultural stratification
  • Omnivore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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