It takes two to tango: the importance of social networks for explaining cultural participation

Jef Vlegels, John Lievens

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Samenvatting

PROBLEM The social stratification of cultural participation is a well studied topic in sociology. Often still inspired by Bourdieus' classical work: 'La Distinction', researchers try to understand the 'field' in which cultural taste and participation preferences are formed an internalized. The conversion between different forms of capital, and more specific the relative importance of economic and cultural capital to explain cultural praxis still gets a lot of attention in the sociology of culture. In recent literature, sociologists challenge the deterministic class-model by exploring the effect of more individualistic characteristics. Research on cultural mobility, personal capital accumulation, ethnicity, gender, etc. put Bourdieus' traditional class-model in a new perspective. In this paper, we build on these recent insights and focus on the role of an individual's social network for explaining cultural participation. We test the relative importance of personal social capital -besides the more traditional class effects- to predict participation in a broad range of cultural domains ('highbrow' as well as 'lowbrow' activities). We expect that personal social network structures offer important resources (or constraints) that can influence participation in cultural activities in a substantial way. More specific, we focus on social integration (tie strength), network heterogeneity (in terms of gender, role and age composition) and network size as explanatory variables for cultural participation. Furthermore, we pay special attention to the causal direction of the effect by using a two-stage least squares regression analysis to encounter potential feedback effects. DATA We use data from the textquotedblleftCultural Participation in Flanders 2003-2004textquotedblright survey, a research project from the Cultural Policy Research Centre textquotedblleftRe-Creatief Vlaanderentextquotedblright. 2849 randomly selected respondents between 14 and 85 years old were randomly selected in Flanders and questioned with a computer-assisted face-to-face interview followed by a written drop-off questionnaire. The survey focuses on cultural behavior and attitudes in a broad range of domains and also includes a name-generator item to construct ego-centric networks of the respondents. The response rate was 61,03% of the selected respondents. A weight procedure by gender, age and schooling level was used to make the data representative for the population of Flanders aged 14-85. For this paper, we only used questions from the face-to-face interviews, as they provided sufficient information for our research questions.
Originele taal-2English
TitelConference of the European Sociological Association
StatusPublished - 2011
EvenementESA 2011 - Conference of the European Sociological Association - Genève, Switzerland
Duur: 7 sep 201110 sep 2011

Conference

ConferenceESA 2011 - Conference of the European Sociological Association
LandSwitzerland
StadGenève
Periode7/09/1110/09/11

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