The stratification of leisure and taste: Classes and lifestyles in Israel

Tally Katz-Gerro, Yossi Shavit

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A view commonly held by students of Israeli society is that social classes are weakly structured in Israel because they are a relatively recent phenomenon and because other cleavages blur class distinctions. Another, more general, argument in the literature emphasizes, the decline of class as a salient social category and the rising importance of other categories of stratification, such as ethnicity and religion. In this paper we test both arguments by studying the differentiation of cultural lifestyles in Israel. We measure lifestyle as participation in a variety of leisure activities, reading habits, and musical tastes. The analysis reveals that indicators in these three fields crystallize into three distinct lifestyle clusters: Highbrow, Popular, and Religious. We find significant class differences in highbrow lifestyle consumption. The service class, consisting of professionals, managers, administrators, higher-grade technicians and supervisors of non-manual workers exhibits a greater degree of involvement in highbrow lifestyle than the other classes. This finding is consistent with Bourdieu's arguments. At the same time, classes are not distinctive with regard to the other lifestyle dimensions. While maintaining distinctions in the realm of highbrow culture, classes show similar behaviour and tastes in the realms of popular and religious lifestyle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-386
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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