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From occupational to existential class: How to analyse class structure in hybrid societies (the case of Serbia)
journal contributionposted on 03.06.2021, 10:08 by Predrag Cveticanin, Inga Tomic Koludrović, Mirko Petric, Zelijka Zdravkovic, Adrian Leguina
In this article, we propose a model to analyse the class structure of hybrid post-socialist societies in South-East Europe (SEE), using the case of Serbia. We argue that, in such hybrid societies, social inequalities are generated by several mechanisms of similar strength: exploitative market mechanisms (based on economic capital) and different types of social closure mechanisms (based on political and social capital). Their influences are intertwined and cannot be analytically isolated or reduced to a common foundation. Therefore, occupational class analysis in these societies can have only limited explanatory power. In an attempt to overcome these challenges, we were forced to modify the instruments of several established approaches to class analysis. These modifications included (1) a reconceptualisation of Bourdieusian notions of political, social, and cultural capital, (2) a different operationalisation of social space, (3) identification of specific mechanisms of generating social inequalities, (4) paying attention to both practical and discursive classifications of lifestyles in the establishment of symbolic boundaries, and (5) relying on differential association analysis for identifying class boundaries. Our analysis's final result is a model that enables studying general social inequality, i.e. generalised social advantage/disadvantage, in SEE post-socialist societies.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- Social and Policy Studies