Scholarly article on topic 'Cultural capital in the elite subfield of Swedish higher education'

Cultural capital in the elite subfield of Swedish higher education Academic research paper on "Sociology"

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{"Cultural capital" / Lifestyles / "Geometric data analysis" / "Swedish higher education" / "Elite education"}

Abstract of research paper on Sociology, author of scientific article — Mikael Börjesson, Donald Broady, Brigitte Le Roux, Ida Lidegran, Mikael Palme

Abstract The idea of a strong tie between culture and education, advocated by Bourdieu and his colleagues from the 1960s, is in this article explored in detail by investigating cultural capital in both its embodied state, expressed in tastes and cultural practices among students in the elite subfield of Swedish higher education, and its institutionalised state, through an analysis of the same students’ enrolment patterns. By applying Specific MCA to a questionnaire answered by 1152 students at 20 socially and scholarly selective programmes we identify three main dimensions in the space of lifestyles. The first dimension separates advanced and legitimate cultural practices and tastes from mainstream ones. In a second dimension, elaborate and often costly body-oriented practices in training or clothing are distinguished from a more ascetic lifestyle. The third dimension opposes a pole of establishment from a pole of non-establishment. The study programmes are well dispersed in the space of lifestyles, which suggests a close relation between embodied and institutionalised states of cultural capital. We finally argue that the pursuit of field-specific capital best explains this dispersion: the future trajectories into specific regions of the field of power tend to correspond to distinct lifestyles of various categories of elite students.

Academic research paper on topic "Cultural capital in the elite subfield of Swedish higher education"


Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

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Cultural capital in the elite subfield of Swedish higher education

Mikael Börjesson3'*, Donald Broadyb, Brigitte Le Rouxc, Ida Lidegrana, Mikael Palmea

a Department of Education, Box 2136, SE-75002 Uppsala, Sweden b Department of Sociology, Box 624, SE-75126 Uppsala, Sweden

c Laboratoire MAP5, Université Paris Descartes, 45 Rue des Saints-Pères, 75006 Paris, France


The idea of a strong tie between culture and education, advocated by Bourdieu and his colleagues from the 1960s, is in this article explored in detail by investigating cultural capital in both its embodied state, expressed in tastes and cultural practices among students in the elite subfield of Swedish higher education, and its institutionalised state, through an analysis of the same students' enrolment patterns. By applying Specific MCA to a questionnaire answered by 1152 students at 20 socially and scholarly selective programmes we identify three main dimensions in the space of lifestyles. The first dimension separates advanced and legitimate cultural practices and tastes from mainstream ones. In a second dimension, elaborate and often costly body-oriented practices in training or clothing are distinguished from a more ascetic lifestyle. The third dimension opposes a pole of establishment from a pole of non-establishment. The study programmes are well dispersed in the space of lifestyles, which suggests a close relation between embodied and institutionalised states of cultural capital. We finally argue that the pursuit of field-specific capital best explains this dispersion: the future trajectories into specific regions of the field of power tend to correspond to distinct lifestyles of various categories of elite students.

© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Article history:

Received 19 June 2013

Received in revised form 18 February 2016

Accepted 22 February 2016

Available online xxx

Keywords: Cultural capital Lifestyles

Geometric data analysis Swedish higher education Elite education

1. Introduction: culture and education

Already in the book that made Bourdieu famous, Les héritiers (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1964), a major theme was the close interrelations between culture and education. The insight that inequality in relation to School is an aspect of inequality in relation to Culture permeates this and other contemporaneous texts by Bourdieu and his collaborators. In other words, the sociology of education should be a major component of the sociology of culture. The educational system serves, at least in a society such as the French, as the prime site for the generation, reproduction, transfer, distribution and legitimisation of cultural capital. Furthermore, the selection of students to more or less successful educational trajectories was, according to the early studies from Bourdieu's centre, mainly determined by their inherited or acquired possession of cultural capital.

* Corresponding author. Fax: +46 184712400. E-mail addresses: (M. Börjesson), (D. Broady), (B. Le Roux), (I. Lidegran), (M. Palme).

0304-422X/© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


2 M. Bôrjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

However, this very basic insight is absent in many of the flourishing studies drawing inspiration from Bourdieu's sociology of education and culture. There is an apparent division of labour where sociologists of culture tend to focus on lifestyles and cultural consumption, whereas sociologists of education give attention to recruitment patterns. In the first tradition, analyses of cultural practices are often elaborate, while education is reduced to aggregated, often one-dimensional, measures, i.e. level of education (e.g. Bennett et al., 2009 ; Roose, van Eijck, & Lievens, 2012; Bonnet, Lebaron, & Le Roux, 2015; cf. Broady, 2002). The second tradition entails more sophisticated analyses of education, but tends to use crude measures of cultural capital (or resources), often conflated with educational capital in the form of the highest level of education of the parents (cf. Bôrjesson & Broady, 2006; Thomsen, 2008). Our aim is to bridge these traditions in order to focus more clearly on the relationship between education and culture, applying a sufficiently differentiated conception of both. We will do this by investigating two states of cultural capital distinguished by Bourdieu, firstly the embodied state, which we study as expressed in cultural practices and tastes among students in the elite subfield of Swedish higher education, and, secondly, the institutionalised state as expressed in such students' enrolment in different study programmes at different sites of learning. By doing this, we opt for a more precise understanding of both the use and importance of culture in the habitus formation taking place at elite study programmes and institutions, and the propensity of elite programmes and institutions to produce corps with specific cultural practices and tastes. Thus, by pointing out higher education institutions as crucial seats of production of cultural practices and tastes our study can be seen as a contribution to the sociology of education but also to the sociology of culture.

It is not evident that the close link between education and culture revealed by Bourdieu and his collaborators fifty years ago is to be found in all societies at all times. For instance, the massive expansion of the educational system in general and higher education in particular have changed the relative value of higher education degrees (see Collins, 1979; Bôrjesson, Ahola, Helland, & Thomsen, 2014; Melldahl, 2015) and altered the relation between education and culture (Coulangeon, 2011). However, this argument can be used to support our strategy to investigate the elite segment. The decrease in the relative value of higher education in general has been accompanied by an increasing importance of its elite sector, at least in the Swedish case (Bôrjesson & Broady, 2016). Thus, if there is one area where we still can expect a close link between education and culture it is elite programmes and institutions. In comparison to other national contexts, France probably represents an extreme case where the educational system plays a fundamental role in the social reproduction and where the link between education and culture is extraordinarily strong. Sweden would arguably represent the opposite extreme with its less socially hierarchised educational system (Bôrjesson & Broady, 2016; Bôrjesson, Broady, Dalberg, & Lidegran, 2016; Erikson & Jonsson, 1996) and weaker links between education and culture.1 In Sweden the content and form of cultural capital is thus more disputed and its relative value more contested. It is therefore interesting to ask if and how culture also in Sweden is relevant for social distinctions. A number of recent studies in Scandinavian countries on the relation between cultural consumption and social positions have shown a clear homology between the space of lifestyles and the class structure (Prieur, Rosenlund, & Skjott-Larsen, 2008; Hjellbrekke, Jarness, & Korsnes, 2015).

In order to analyse significant differences as regards the cultural practices and tastes of students in Swedish higher education, we have combined two different veins in the sociological oeuvre of Pierre Bourdieu. On the one hand, we use the detailed and nuanced methodology for understanding lifestyles presented in "L'anatomie du goût" (Bourdieu & de Saint Martin, 1976) and La distinction (Bourdieu, 1979a), where those are related to consumption of food, holidays, cars, et cetera, variables used to construct a space of lifestyles. On the other hand, we draw on the notion of educational fields (here a shorthand for spaces of educational institutions) as outlined in "Agrégation et ségrégation. Le champ des grandes écoles et le champ du pouvoir" (Bourdieu & de Saint Martin, 1987) and in La noblesse d'État (Bourdieu, 1989).

One of the conclusions of our study is that even in a relatively egalitarian country like Sweden culture plays a crucial role in lifestyle formation among students in the elite subfield of higher education and that there exist a strong link between cultural capital in its embodied state and in its institutionalised state. We will put forth the argument that culture is very much what is at stake within this exclusive part of the educational system, and that the different educational milieus are vital for producing different cultural tastes and practices, that, in turn, reproduce differences between the various social fields and the field of power towards which the students aspire.

2. Theoretical and methodological points of departure

At the centre of our study stands the notion of cultural capital and its relation to education. In this section we will expand on the definition of cultural capital (Section 2.1 ). Furthermore, we will relate the capital concept to the field and space concepts (Section 2.2). This parallels with our choice of Specific Multiple Correspondence Analysis as the principal method (Section 2.3).

1 One indication of this is that the literary canon taught in Swedish upper secondary school has changed profoundly during the 20th century, while it has remained more stable in France with a persisting focus on classical literature (Englund, 1997). Another piece of evidence is the evaporating link between educational capital and teacher education: smaller proportions of sons and daughters and of students with good credentials choose to enter teaching programmes (Bertilsson, 2014). An alternative research strategy for the Swedish case would be to more clearly separate educational capital from cultural capital (Lidegran, 2009).


M. Borjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx 3

2.1. Cultural capital—a relational and multidimensional concept

Bourdieu never gave a lexical definition of cultural capital (cf. Prieur & Savage, 2011 ). One of his more programmatic texts, "Les trois états du capital culturel" [The three states of cultural capital] (Bourdieu, 1979b), described how he arrived at the idea in order to solve a research problem:

The notion of cultural capital initially presented itself to me, in the course of research, as a theoretical hypothesis which made it possible to explain the unequal scholastic achievement of children originating from the different social classes by relating academic success, i.e., the specific profits which children from the different classes and class fractions can obtain in the academic market, to the distribution of cultural capital between the classes and class fractions. (Translation in Bourdieu, 2006 [1986/1979]:106)

Here, at this early stage of Bourdieu's and his collaborators' endeavours, the close link between education and culture was obvious; the amount of cultural capital within a certain social class or class fraction is used to explain educational success or failure of the offspring of that group. In the same text, Bourdieu elaborates on the notion of cultural capital by distinguishing its three main states, embodied (manners, tastes, etc.), objectified (books, pieces of art, records, a designed home, etc.), and institutionalised (in for example the educational institutions, which play a crucial role in sanctioning embodied cultural capital and forging it into a more durable and transferable form by authorising credentials and degrees). Cultural capital is thus important both as explanation of academic success and as an outcome of the educational system. In other words, the educational system plays a pivotal role in reproducing cultural capital over the generations.

We agree with Serre and Wagner (2015) that the states of cultural capital need to be analysed in relation to each other. The authors argue that the tremendous expansion of the educational system (cultural capital in its institutionalised state) has had impact on the other states of cultural capital and the relation between cultural capital and other species of capital, especially economic capital. Cultural capital can be defined in opposition to economic capital. While economic capital is closely tied to the principle of calculated (self-)interest, cultural capital is primarily associated with disinterest or universal values (Bourdieu, 2006 [1986/1979]:105; Serre & Wagner, 2015:436).

In our study, we set out to relate the different states of cultural capital by examining its embodied state (expressed in student lifestyles) in relation to its institutionalised state (indicated by the programmes attended). Here, differentiated measures are vital. For instance, cultural capital in its institutionalised state cannot be reduced to the level of education. The expansion of higher education and its increased importance for economic fractions (Serre & Wagner, 2015: 439-442) makes it necessary to, on a precise level, distinguish between different elite programmes and institutions. In order to account for the complexity of education, we need to put the notions of space and field into the equation.

2.2. Social space, fields and field specific capital

In the 1970s and 1980s, Bourdieu and his collaborators continued to explore the links between culture and education, efforts culminating in the most synthetic and comprehensive treatise La noblesse d'État (Bourdieu, 1989). By then, Bourdieu had developed the concept of social field and, moreover, had access to much more refined methods, enabling him to relate education not only to cultural capital in general and to social groups at a very aggregated level, but also to different species of field-specific capital - particularly economic, political, juridical, bureaucratic, academic and artistic capital - that together constitute the field of power. Thus, Bourdieu, Monique de Saint Martin and their colleagues were able to discern a clear homology between the space of elite education and the structure of the field of power.

However, among sociologists in the English language domain, Bourdieu's huge public fame was created not by Les héritiers (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1964) but by La distinction (Bourdieu, 1979a) in the wake of its partial translation in the early 1980s and in toto in 1984 (Sapiro, 2015). While the relation between culture and education was important in this work as well, it was viewed in more of a bird's eye's perspective. La distinction was a kind of closing of the books, a synthesis of the early studies from the 1960s until the mid-1970s (de Saint Martin, 2015), far from the thorough studies of specific production fields that followed, such as the analyses of the academic field (Bourdieu, 1984) and the fields of art (Bourdieu, 1992, 2013).

Our aim in the present study is to draw on the full potential of Bourdieu's sociology and combine the analysis of the social space and distribution of cultural capital, especially in its embodied state, with the fine-tuned studies of the space of les grandes écoles and its relation to the field of power. We attempt this by relating the space of lifestyles of elite students to the study programmes and institutions they attend.

2.3. Methodological framework: specific multiple correspondence analysis

The close affinity between the conceptualisation of space and fields in Bourdieu's sociology and Geometric Data Analysis (GDA) has been pointed out in different contexts (Rouanet, Ackermann, & Le Roux, 2000; Lebaron & Le Roux, 2015). In this study we have applied Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA),2 more precisely Specific MCA (Le Roux & Rouanet, 2004:203-210, 369ff, 2010:61-64), to construct a space of tastes and lifestyles on the basis of data from a questionnaire to

2 The software used is SPAD, version 8.0, which includes a module for Specific MCA.


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university students enrolled in elite education. The active - i.e. used to create the structure of the space - variables in the analysis concern consumption practices and tastes related to cinema, theatre, music, newspapers, radio, and television, as well as body-oriented activities (clothing, sports) and vacation travels.

Thus the approach is similar to that of Bourdieu's and de Saint Martin's (1976) construction of the French social space in the 1970s (Bourdieu, 1979a). However, they chose indicators on social positions as the main supplementary elements whereas we instead use enrolment in study programmes. This enrolment is, in the vocabulary of today's GDA, our "structuring factor" (Le Roux & Rouanet, 2004:237). Another difference is that Bourdieu and his colleagues applied Correspondence Analysis on a binary table individuals x properties, while we use MCA - a method especially suited for analysing relations between sets of properties - that was simply not available at the time when Bourdieu and de Saint Martin conducted their study (Rouanet et al., 2000:6). Furthermore, we have used Specific MCA, which handles not only no-answers but also so-called "junk categories" (Le Roux & Rouanet, 2004:203-213).

While many studies have used La distinction as the source of inspiration to analyse national social spaces on the basis of lifestyles (e.g. Bennett et al., 2009; Bonnet et al., 2015; Hjellbrekke et al., 2015) or the distribution of capital (e.g. Flemmen, 2012; Melldahl & Bôrjesson, 2015; Prieur et al., 2008), there are few examples of analyses in the vein of La Noblesse d'État. Even rarer are attempts to employ the paradigm of La Distinction on studies of students and educational fields. Among the few exceptions, students in journalism school are in focus in Lafarge and Marchetti (2011 ), while students at a specific higher education institution (Sciences Po, Paris) are examined in Muxel, Catzaras, Chiche, Maurer and Tiberj (2004). Another exampel is Nylander's and Melldahl's (2015) study of applicants to a prestigious jazz school. However, besides Gripsrud, Hovden and Moe (2011) who examine two student populations in Bergen in 1998 and 2008, representing a large variety of educational programmes, we have not identified any studies that take such a broad grip and analyse students' lifestyles in the context of an educational space.

3. The Swedish field of higher education, its elite subfield and the surveyed population

As in many other advanced countries, higher education in Sweden has expanded rapidly over the last decades and accounts today for more than 400,000 registered students. Well over 40% of an age cohort enters higher education. This implies that higher education, in the terminology of Trow (1974), has transformed from an elite to a mass and now universal system. A result is that the system has become increasingly complex and fulfils different objectives and functions. In this article, we are particularly interested in its elite function. Our argument for investigating the most exclusive segment of higher education is that this most dominant part of the field sets the agenda for the whole system. It is here that the battle is fought over how different assets are to be valued. Elite education is the primary site for the understanding of the relationship between education and culture. How then to define the elite segment of Swedish higher education? It is far from obvious.

The Swedish higher educational system has strong influences from egalitarian traditions including high levels of public funding, no student fees, and a focus on broad access and widening participation. It lacks the equivalents of les grandes écoles of France or the US Ivy League-universities (Bôrjesson & Broady, 2016). However, the system remains clearly socially structured. Previous statistical analyses of the relations within Swedish higher education based on national official individual data on all registered students combined with information on students' gender and their parents' occupation detected a structured space which main dimensions have remained stable over time (Broady & Palme, 1992; Bôrjesson & Broady, 2006,2016). The first axis opposes men and women and separates education in technology and natural sciences from education aiming at professions in health, education and caring. The second axis displays a social hierarchical dimension with social groups with large amounts of resources, especially educational capital, at the top of the space in contrast to groups with small quantities of economic, social and cultural assets, at the bottom, with the middle classes in between. This latter dimension also differentiates the traditional universities, such as the universities in Uppsala and Lund, along with a couple of prestigious professional schools (for instance Stockholm School of Economics, Karolinska Institutet, and the Royal Institute of Technology) at the pole of students from well-to-do homes from regional university colleges and colleges of health science at the other pole. The locations of study programmes follow the same logic. Long and socially selective programmes leading to traditional professions, such as doctors, lawyers and engineers, are situated at the top positions in the space, in clear contrast to the shorter programmes in nursing, education and technology in the lower sector.

From these analyses of the space of higher education we have obtained a first approximate definition of elite education as predominantly constituted by the long and selective profession-oriented programmes at the large research-based universities or at specialised higher education schools located at the most dominating positions at the summit of the space. In order to sharpen the definition, we have then analysed the recruitment profile of all study programmes and courses with more than 100 students enrolled in the autumn of 2006. Out of 759 educational units (educational programmes and courses by higher education institutions) we are able to discern 56 (see Table 1 in Supplement) that according to at least one elite criterion (overrepresentation of students with high grades, high points at the national aptitude test for the entry into higher education, a social origin in the upper middle class, or highly educated parents) ranked among the top 30. Of these, 22 are located in the Stockholm-Uppsala region, and 32 at old and large universities, 14 at specialized universities, 9 at semi-old and large universities, and 1 at a new and medium-sized university. Further, 38 are long professional programmes and 22 are in engineering, 17 in social sciences and 9 in medicine. Certain of the professional programmes can be identified as having a distinct elite recruitment: medicine, psychology, the engineering programmes, especially in industrial economics, physics, and architecture, and, finally, economics/business studies.


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On the basis of these analyses we have chosen to limit our surveyed population to elite programmes in the Stockholm-Uppsala region, giving priority to long professional programmes at dominant institutions of higher education. During the period 2004-2006, we distributed a questionnaire to 20 elite education programmes/courses in the capital region. The list of surveyed programmes includes almost all of the most dominant ones according to our definition above, such as the medicine programme (Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet), the psychology programme (Uppsala University and Stockholm University), the political science programme (Uppsala University), the engineering programmes in industrial economics, and architecture (Royal Institute of Technology), physics and biotechnology (Uppsala University), the programme in economics at Stockholm School of Economics, and the veterinary programme at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Art programmes are represented by different programmes at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design and the Swedish National Academy of Mime and Acting. Among the programmes we opted for we received positive responses from all but the programme in journalism. Our sample thus includes almost all ofelite education in the Stockholm-Uppsala region. We also cover practically all important fields of study: medicine, law, economics, political sciences, psychology, natural sciences, engineering, and arts and design, and include not only professional programmes but also some general programmes and courses.3

4. The space of lifestyles among students in the elite subfield

4.1. Constructing the space

The analyses presented below are based on a questionnaire answered by more than a thousand students at socially and scholarly selective higher education programmes and courses in the Stockholm and Uppsala area. The questionnaire, distributed from 2004 to 2006, comprised 84 questions covering former study careers, current studies, social origin, practices and opinions. For the construction of the space, 25 variables have been used, organised under three main headings: (1) Cultural practices and tastes, (2) Media practices, and (3) Body-oriented practices and appearance, see Table 1.4

The first heading "Cultural practices and tastes" (9 variables) refers to both highbrow and lowbrow cultural preferences as regards cinema, theatre and music. Practices are accounted for by two types of cultural activities: Going to the cinema and Going to the theatre.5 For cinemas, we have distinguished between going only to regular cinemas and going to regular and alternative cinemas (indicated as alternative cinemas). For going to the theatre, we have chosen three types of theatres: Go to opera, Go to Dramaten (the Swedish national theatre) and Go to independent theatre, all coded yes or no.

In order to capture cultural tastes, we have chosen to focus on musical preferences. Bourdieu (1984:19) puts a lot on emphasis on music in the analyses of lifestyles in France, arguing that "music is the most 'spiritual' ofarts of the spirit and a love of music is a guarantee of 'spirituality"'. According to Coulangeon and Lemel (2007:94), Bourdieu is not alone in his preference for music (the authors mention Peterson, for instance), and they state that the "reason why sociologists have paid so much attention to music is probably partly due to the fact that as music is not part of shared school-learned culture to the same extent as literature, for example, it remains a cultural domain in which primary group influence - i.e. family, peer group, ethnic community, etc. - is expected to be particularly strong." In the construction of the space of lifestyles in the UK(see Le Roux, Rouanet, Savage, & Warde, 2008:1055; Bennett et al., 2009:75; Savage & Gayo, 2011), music is likewise an important heading. With the ambition to take the broad music market into consideration, our questionnaire contains a question on musical preferences listing 26 musical genres, from "hip-hop" and "Latin music" over "singer/songwriter" to "modern Swedish opera."6 These have been grouped in seven categories; see Table 3 in Supplement. Five of these variables (accounting for 21 of the 26 different genres) have been used in the analysis: Alternative pop, Folk music, Hip-hop/techno, Jazz and Classical music.7

The second heading, "Media practices" (8 variables), includes four variables regarding newspapers, three radio channels, and one TV—we have chosen to put emphasis on newspapers and radio since these practices are more discriminative than watching TV.8 As concerns newspapers, we have one variable for the Newspaper one reads with six categories: SvD (the

3 The response rate of the survey is discussed in Supplement. We estimate that in general at least 41% of the student attending the programmes answered the survey. In addition, we analysed the surveyed population in relation to all the registered students with regard to some key variables. For gender and age, there are no large differences. As for scholastic merits, we notice that the respondents in general performed better than the enrolled, although the differences tend to be quite small. In relation to social origin, we find the largest differences for students with highly educated parents and those of upper middle class origin, in so far as respondents in almost all cases have higher proportions in these categories. It might be understood as resulting from a combination of skewness in the sample towards students originating from homes with large amounts of resources and a tendency to overestimate one's social origin.

4 The headings are balanced: (1) Cultural practices and tastes accounts for 9 variables and 25 categories, (2) Media practices for 8 variables and 25 categories, and (3) Body-oriented practices and appearance for 8 variables and 24 categories.

5 We did not include going to art museums since students of fine arts obviously are very overrepresented here. Since the variable measuring music concert attendance was strongly associated with the first axis and we already had indicators of musical tastes included in the analysis, we did not use going to music concerts as an active variable.

6 We thus operate with a variety of genres that makes it possible to avoid some of the pitfalls of genre questions, that is, for example, over-interpretation of rather vague genres such as classical music, pop or rock. See Holt (1997) and Savage and Gayo (2011) for critical discussions on the interpretation of matters relating to genres.

7 We have omitted rock and evergreens, which in our preliminary analyses did not contribute over average on the first three axes.

8 TV is also in the UK study of taste and practices found to be less discriminatory than music, literature and art. Along the first axis only a few TV-variables contribute and especially the number of hours spent in front of the television set, which is negatively related to investments in cultural practices (Bennett et al., 2009:132).


6 M. Borjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

Table 1

25 active variables and 74 categories with absolute (n) and relative (in %) frequencies (the symbols are the one used in figures).



Variables/Categories n % Variables/Categories n % Variables/Categories n %

1. Types of cinemas ♦ 10. Reads newspapers regularly A Buying clothes □

Movie-no 70 6.1 No newspaper 91 7.9 Clothing stores-no 63 5.5

Movie-regular 781 67.8 Evening newspaper 107 9.3 18. Second-hand-no 868 75.3

Movie-alternative 301 26.1 Local newspaper 70 6.1 Second-hand-yes 221 19.2

2. Go to opera ♦ DN 544 47.2 19. Young fashlon-no 562 48.8

Opera-no 944 81.9 SvD 248 21.5 Young fashion+ 332 28.8

Opera-yes 208 18.1 Other newspaper 92 8.0 Young fashion++ 195 16.9

3. Go to Dramaten Reads specific newspaper content A 20. Clothes chain-no 80 6.9

Dramaten-no 904 78.5 Newspaper content-no 120 10.4 Clothes chaint 468 40.6

Dramaten-yes 248 21.5 11. Culture pages-no 336 29.2 Clothes chain++ 541 47.0

4. Go to independent theatre ♦ Culture pages-yes 696 60.4 21. Clothes expensive-no 908 78.8

Independent theatre -no 924 80.2 12. Business pages-no 725 62.9 Clothes expensive-» 181 15.7

Independent theatre -yes 228 19.8 Business pages-yes 307 26.6 22. Attitude towards quality clothes O

5. Like alternative pop ■ 13. Editorial/debate pages-no 401 34.8 Clothes quality-no opinion 471 40.9

Alternative pop-no 484 42.0 Debate pages 175 15.2 Clothes quality-unimportant 184 16.0

Alternative pop+ 355 30.8 Editorial pages 125 10.9 Clothes quality-important 497 43.1

Alternative pop++ 313 27.2 Editorial/Debate pages 331 28.7 23. Attitude towards aware clothing O

6. Like folk music ■ Listens to radioV Clothes awareness-no opinion 319 27.7

Folk muslc-no 402 34.9 Radio never listens 221 19.2 Clothes awareness-no 99 8.6

Folk music+ 341 29.6 14. Radio P1-no 646 56.1 Clothes awareness-yes 734 63,7

Folk music++ 220 19.1 Radio P1-yes 285 24.7 24. Sport activities O

Folk music+++ 189 16.4 15. Radio P3-no 298 25.9 Sport-no 142 12.3

7. Like hip hop/techno □ Radio P3-yes 633 54.9 Sport+ 307 26.6

Hip-Hop/techno-no 552 47.9 16. Commercial radio-no 518 45.0 Sport++ 554 48,1

Hip-Hop/techno+ 395 34.3 Commercial radio-yes 413 35.9 Sport+++ 149 12,9

Hip-Hop/techno++ 205 17.8 17. Watching TV V 25. Travel on vacation O

8. Like jazz □ TV-Never 122 10.6 Vacation-no 541 47.0

Jazz-no 404 35.1 TV+ 179 15.5 Vacation-»- 467 40.5

Jazz+ 495 43.0 TV++ 653 56.7 Vacation++ 144 12.5

Jazz++ 253 22.0 TV+++ 198 17.2

9. Like classical music ■

Classical muslc-no 624 54.2

Classical music+ 296 25.7

Classical muslc++ 232 20.1

NB: Italics indicate passive category.

conservative Svenska Dagbladet), DN (the liberal Dagens Nyheter), local newspapers, evening newspapers, other newspapers9 and no newspaper. Further, three variables are included for the reading content: Culture pages, Business pages, and Editorial and debate pages. For radio, three dichotomous variables focus on radio channels, separating the public P1 channel, with debates, news, cultural programmes and no music; the public music channel, P3, oriented towards young listeners; and Commercial radio, comprising a set of channels, mostly playing hit list music.

It should be emphasised that we perceive media practices as an important aspect of cultural capital. Bourdieu (2012:335336) elaborated the notion of informational capital as a synonym to cultural capital, indicating that being well-informed of society at large made part of cultural capital. While, in this regard, media function as a major source of information, different media channels have different content and relative value, here highlighted by the difference between reading the daily morning papers as opposed to the evening papers or local papers, or by listening to P1 as opposed to P3 or local commercial radio stations. In addition, specific uses of media, such as reading newspapers' culture pages, or reading the major daily papers, can be regarded as expressions of a "knowledge" dimension of cultural practices and of a formation of taste (taking part of reviews, following certain critics, etc.).

The third heading, "Body-oriented practices and appearance" (8 variables), contains four variables related to the types of clothing stores one shops in, where the 23 categories of shops and brands were grouped into five variables (see Table 4 in Supplement), out of which we have used: Second-hand stores, stores for young fashion, Chain stores and stores for expensive clothes. In addition to the clothing stores and brands, two variables deal with attitudes towards clothing, one regarding the importance of the Quality of the clothes and the other on the Awareness of how one dresses. Furthermore, one variable covers sports activities (total number of different activities) and one travel on vacation.

Including variables relating to body-oriented practices and appearance as active in the analysis is motivated by our interest in understanding the embodied state of cultural capital. These dimensions have proven to be productive in recent

9 For those who read more than one newspaper we have chosen to give priority to SvD, DN, local newspapers, evening newspapers and other newspaper.


M. Borjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx 7

Table 2

Contribution of the headings to the first three axes (in %).

Heading Axis 1 (0.131) Axis 2 (0.093) Axis 3 (0.076)

Media practices 37.4 21.9 45.2

Culture practices and tastes 47.4 20.9 28.8

Body-oriented practices and appearance 15.3 57.3 26.0

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0

general lifestyles analyses (Bennett et al., 2009:chapter 9; Vandebroeck, 2015). Furthermore, Serre & Wagner (2015:438442) put forth the hypothesis that today in French higher education traditional humanist cultural capital is contested by a 'managerial' cultural capital. Such a capital, besides being more international, can be argued to be more related to extensive investments in body-oriented practices.

4.2. A three-dimensional space

Specific MCA is performed on the dataset with 1152 individuals and 25 variables comprising 74 active categories. The problem of non-responses has been handled by excluding 66 students with more than 5 non-responses and putting 8 categories as passive.10 We have interpreted the first three axes.11

A first examination of the contribution of the headings to the variance of the first three axes (see Table 2) shows that Cultural practices and tastes contributes the most (47%) to axis 1 followed by Media practices (37%); that Body-oriented practices and appearance contributes strongly to the second axis (57%); and that Media practices has the largest contribution (45%) to axis 3.

For interpreting each axis, we select all the categories with contributions to the axis exceeding the average contribution (100/74=1.35%).

4.2.1. Axis 1: culture — advanced/legitimate vs. mainstream/disregard

The interpretation is based on 28 categories (see Table 6 in Supplement and Fig. 1 )12 that account for 90% of the variance of axis 1. The axis is structured by commitment, interest and tastes in culture and can be summarised as an opposition between advanced and legitimate practices and tastes, on the one hand, and mainstream practices and tastes along with refutation of legitimate cultural practices and tastes, on the other. At the advanced/legitimate pole (left in Fig. 1), attending alternative cinema, independent theatres and the national scene for theatre, Dramaten, along with a liking for a variety of subgenres within the broader categories of alternative pop, folk music, jazz, and classical music are found. On the opposite pole (right in Fig. 1), we find a lack of appreciation for these types of music (alternative pop-no, folk music-no, jazz-no and classical music-no) in combination with a rejection of high-cultural practices (Dramaten-no and independent theatres-no) and a preference for regular cinema.

At the pole expressing advanced cultural practices and tastes we can also add a general interest in culture, expressed by reading the culture pages, in contrast to not reading these pages at the pole for mainstream cultural consumption. The strong interest in culture is also related to listening to P1 (the most serious radio channel with news, debates, and cultural programmes) in combination with a rejection of commercial radio (predominantly hit list music providers), as well as the reading ofDN, the largest daily paper (independent liberal) with influential culture pages. This is contrasted with listening to commercial radio, not listening to P1 and reading evening newspapers at the opposing pole of mainstream cultural practices and tastes. Finally, advanced cultural consumption is also associated with buying clothes at second-hand stores and occasionally buying clothes at clothes chain stores, while at the pole of mainstream cultural consumption we find attitudes more oriented towards buying clothes at clothing chain stores regularly combined with not buying clothes at second-hand stores. The latter opposition is interesting from an economic perspective. While both second-hand stores and chain stores in general sell at low prices, they differ significantly as to the importance of cultural capital and taste for consumption. The chain clothing stores stock large volumes of items that demand small investments in the capacity of choosing, whereas the secondhand stores function according to an opposite logic. Not stocking large series but offering individual items coming from different epochs and in different styles, they invite the consumer to, at a fairly low price, express individuality and personal taste, while demanding, at the same time, cultural investments in the capacity to choose the right objects. Thus, the first axis

10 The passive categories were the non-response on the three questions on newspaper content (n = 120), the non-reply on radio channels for two of the three radio questions (n = 221), and the non-reply on three of the four clothing stores questions (n = 63).

11 By analysing the decrease of the variance of the axes we can see that the first axis is clearly the more important and separated from the second axis (0.131 > >0.093), which in turn is well separated from the third axis (0.076). The third axis is visibly separated from the fourth axis (0.062). After the fourth there are small decreases of variances. Moreover, the modified rate (Le Roux & Rouanet, 2010:39) is for the first axis 0.51, for the second axis 0.19, and for the third axis 0.09. The cumulated modified rate of the first three axes sums up to 78%, thus indicating the importance of those axes. See Table 5 and Diagram 1 in Supplement.

12 We have also included Independent theatre-no, Dramaten-no, Jazz-no and Jazz+, Classical music-no and RadioPl-no since they are close to the average contribution and aids in the interpretation of the axis.


M. Börjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

Cult adv legi

Axis 2

□ Music preferences □ Clothing stores

o Cultural activities o Attitudes towards clothes

A Newspaper o Sport and vacation

V Radio and TV

Second hand-yes

Alternativ pop++ Radio P1-yes .

Cinema-alternative O

Commercial radio-no

Cloth chain+ DN

i IL- Oí illi in


Independent theatre-no Evening newspaper ramaten-no "

Classical music-no

Axis 1 0.1306

ure Independent theatre-yes u.—Culture pages, jnced & □ Both editorial/debate-yes

:imate Folk music+++ Dramaten-yes

Jazz++ Classical music++ O


i-1 Cla

yes \ \C Cini

Folk music-no

Alternativ pop-no

Cloth chain++.


Second hand-no Culture pages-no Radio P1-no V7

Commercial radio-yes




Fig. 1. The space of elite students' lifestyles. Cloud of categories in plane 1 & 2. Categories contributing over average to axis 1 (summing up to 90%). The size of markers is proportional to the weights.

might also be understood according to the logic of cultural production, with its opposition between production for a larger market (to the right in the figure) and restricted production for connoisseurs (to the left).

4.2.2. Axis 2: body-oriented practices and appearance—major vs. minor investments

We have used 27 categories summing up to 82% of the variance of the axis.13 Axis 2 is related to the investments in body-oriented practices and appearance. The axis opposes a pole with properties indicating costly investments in body-oriented practices such as buying clothes in expensive stores, taking part in a variety of sports activities and travelling on vacations (bottom in Fig. 2), to a pole of rejection of costly body-oriented practices expressed in not buying clothes in expensive stores, not travelling on vacations, and no sports activities (top in Fig. 2). At the pole of major investments, we also find attitudes such as the quality of the clothes is important and that one is aware of how one dresses, while at the opposing pole of minor investments a disinterest in quality of clothing and not being aware of how one dresses is articulated. Large investments in body oriented practices are thus also associated with attitudes emphasizing the importance of appearance. With regard to musical preferences, jazz and in particular techno/hip-hop are preferred at this pole, the latter music type probably indicating an interest in music that can be used for dancing and training. At the opposite pole of minor body-oriented investments, we find a disinterest in listening to music and radio. In general, this pole lacks positive stances, and is principally defined by a rejection with regard to clothes, training, music, and media.

It should be noticed that axis 2 also is related to economic assets. At the pole of substantial body oriented investments, we not only find the most costly practices in a purely economic sense, buying clothes in expensive stores and extensive vacation travels, but also practicing many different sports, which likely is associated with substantial economic costs, but also a

13 Also included are Sport activities + +, Clothes awareness-yes, Jazz + +, Clothes expensive-no and No radio since they are close to the average contribution and aids in the interpretation of the axis.


M. Bôrjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx 9

Body-oriented practices and appearance Minor investments Sport activities-no O Clothes quality-unimportant O Your Vacation-no ^ Sport acMies+ ^ Business pages-no/\ Clothes awareness-no -Cl< Axis 2 0.0931 g fashion-no —I I I Jazz-no I—I y No radii Hip hop/tech Clothes quality- ithes expensive-no - Music preferences O Cultural activities ^ Newspaper Radio and TV n Clothing stores O Attitudes towards clothes ^ Sport and vacation io-no no opinion Ax s 1

Clothes awareness-yes Jazz++ □ Young fashion+|^ Clothes quality-important O nA S ■ °Pera-yesHiphop/techno++ Young fashion++ □ Clothes expensive Major investments Sport activ№ies++ ' Vacation+ V Commercial radio-yes 'D Business pages-yes <A o Sport activities+++ i/acation++

-1.50 -0.75 0 0.75 1.50

Fig. 2. The space of elite students' lifestyles. Cloud of categories in plane 1 & 2. Categories contributing over average to axis 2 (summing up to 82%) (the size of markers is proportional to the weights).

general orientation towards the world of business, indicated by reading the business pages and SvD, the daily paper preferred by the business elite (Djerf-Pierre, 2007:307).

4.2.3. Axis 3: established vs. non-established

The interpretation draws on 32 categories that accounts for 89% of the variance to the axis.14 Axis 3 shows an opposition between established and non-established tastes and practices. This opposition runs through the different headings, but is most pertinent for media orientation (media variables account for 45% of the variance of the axis, see Table 2).

At the established pole (top of Fig. 3), we find reading the business pages, reading SvD, the conservative daily newspaper, reading both editorial and debate pages, and listening to radio channel P1, the most serious information channel with news, debates and culture programmes. These preferences are accompanied by an attitude of distance to "light" and mainstream media, indicated by no interest in TV (never watches) and radio in general (never listens) and in particular to the popular music channel, P3. Furthermore, the degree of establishment is also expressed with regard to clothing. At the established pole, the attitude that the quality of clothes is important is found together with the very distinctive preference of not buying clothes in chain stores (which only 7% of the total student population adhere to). For cultural practices and tastes, the liking of classical music and attending the opera - the most consecrated and highbrow genre and practices - is expressed at the established pole in combination with a distaste for especially the more youth oriented and non-established genres alternative pop and hip hop/techno but also the more upscale genre of jazz music.

At the non-established pole, (bottom of Fig. 3) media preferences are in favour of listening to P3, the channel for young people with music and funny talk shows, listening to commercial radio, reading local newspapers, and watching a lot of TV, in combination with an avoidance of more "serious" media consumption: not listening to P1, not reading the business pages, and

14 Here we have included TV+++, Clothingchain + +, and Classical music-no, which are close to the average contribution and aids in the interpretation of the axis.


M. Börjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx


Clothing chain-no No cloth store □

Opera-yes Classical music++ Ô

Radio P1-yes V Both editorial/debate-yes

TV-Never watches

Axls3 □ Music preferences □ Clothing stores

0.0758 ♦ Cultural activities O Attitudes towards clothes

A Newspaper O Sport and vacation

V Radio and TV

No radio

Clothes awareness-Clothes

° Clothes awareness-no ■yes A Radio P3-no

(-v. tZI I lAlternativ pop-no xdJri Jazz-no io Hip hop/techno-no quality-Important

Axis 1

Clothes awareness-yes Business pages-no aT^J)

jazz++ Radio P3-yes

Classical music-no

Clothing chain++

i—i Hip hop/techno+ Alternativpop++ ^1 □ V~~7

~ " "" ÎSVv

Clothes quality-unimportant

TV+++ ashion++

V Commercial radio-yes ¡bate pages-no Radio P1-no

Local newspaper


Fig. 3. The space of elite students' lifestyles. Cloud of categories in plane 1 & 3. Categories contributing over average to axis 3 (summing up to 89%) (the size of markers is proportional to the weights).

not reading the editorial and debate pages. These preferences go together with a lack of interest in clothing (quality of clothes is unimportant, and buy clothes in chain stores), as well as no liking of classical music but a taste for alternative pop and techno/hip hop.

To some extent the opposition between established and the non-established tastes and practices is also a difference between "old" and "young" tastes, or "serious" and "light," but we prefer the labels established and non-established since these terms also remind of the power dimension expressed in some of the indicators. By reading the business pages, debates and editorials, and listening to channel P1, one keeps oneself informed about current affairs and political discussions, which is a prerequisite for positions in the field of power. The dimension of established and non-established tastes and practices is to be seen as an addition to the first and most important dimension differentiating advanced and legitimate culture from main-stream culture and disregard of culture. While the orientation towards avant-garde culture is pertinent at the dominant pole of the first axis, consecrated and legitimate culture is more emblematic at the established pole of the third axis. This expresses a traditional opposition within bourgeoisie culture, between its more cultural fraction closer to the production of culture, and the economic fraction, leaning towards safe investments in culture.

4.3. Summing up: cultural practices, taste and knowledge in the space of lifestyles

To sum up: structured by the nature of culture consumption, the first axis displays a polarisation between an advanced and legitimate pole and a mainstream and disregard pole; the second axis referring to body-oriented practices and appearance, distinguishes large investments from insignificant ones; the third axis separates a pole of established properties from a pole of non-established ones with regard to media preferences, culture consumption and body-oriented appearance.

Three major remarks regarding culture can be made. Firstly, culture consumption contributes especially to the first axis and is thus the most important dimension of the space. Culture is clearly at stake within the field of elite education in Sweden. Secondly, the analysis unveils a more complex pattern than that of a pure volume axis of cultural capital, often found in contemporary lifestyle analysis (e.g. Bennett et al., 2009; Bonnet et al., 2015; Hjellbrekke et al., 2015). We find a first axis that puts advanced uses and tastes in opposition to both disregard of advanced culture and a preference for mainstream culture. Thirdly, the main cultural opposition in the data is not possible to describe according to a conventional highbrow/ lowbrow polarity (cf. Prieur & Savage, 2011). The most important categories contributing to the advanced pole are Alternative cinema, Alternative pop and Folk music, none of which can be regarded as pure indicators of a highbrow culture. In fact, it is the second axis that best accounts for the consumption vs. non-consumption of especially highbrow culture,


M. Bôrjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

Fig. 4. Cloud of categories (plane 1 & 2): Gender and age.

which goes hand in hand with ascetic preferences vs. significant investments in bodily appearance. Moreover, the most pertinent highbrow indicator, preferring classical music, has its strongest contribution to the third axis, where it is located at the established pole.

Taken together, evidence point in the direction that cultural consumption and taste cannot be summarised according to one axis or dimension. To further interpret the space, we will first as supplementary variables introduce traditional sociological ones such as gender, age and social origin, in order to analyse the social structure of the space and the importance of inherited resources.15 Thereafter the study programmes attended by the students will be taken as a structuring factor (Le Roux & Rouanet, 2004:254-255, 2010:68-69)16 in order to analyse the structure of the institutionalised state of cultural capital.

4.4. Gender, age and social origin

In this section, we will put gender, age and social origin as supplementary elements. For gender, the deviation between men and women is negligible on axes 1 and 2, but large on axis 3, where men tend to be drawn to the established pole, and women to the non-established pole (see Figs. 4 and 5, and Table 7 in Supplement). As for age, the categories are ordered along both the first and the second axes, with the largest difference between the young and the old on the first axis, which is mainly structured by cultural practices and tastes. Along the second axis, interpreted as a dimension related to body-oriented investments, the next youngest students oppose the oldest. In other words, more advanced cultural consumption is

15 We have also analysed additional indicators of cultural practices and tastes including preferred musical genres, authors red, films seen and evaluated, and practices attended with the ambition to both assess our choice of active variables and our coding and to enhance our interpretation. The supplementary elements are in line with overall analysis. See Appendix 3 in Supplement.

16 To determine if a supplementary property has a distinctive position in the space we have set a threshold value of 0.4 scale deviations from the point to the mean point of the overall cloud. When the deviation is over the threshold value, we have checked the test value in order to determine if the point significantly differs from the mean point (Le Roux & Rouanet, 2010; chap. 5). See Tables 7 and 8 in Supplement for details.


12 M. Borjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

Established Axis3 0.0758

30- years □ 26-29 years □ Advanced/legitimate Men □ 18-20 years ______________□____________ Mainstream/disregard

□ 23-25 years □ 21-22 years Axis 1 0.1306


-1.50 -0.75 0 0.75 1.50

Fig. 5. Cloud of categories (plane 1 & 3): Gender and age.

associated with more mature aged students, whereas mainstream practices and tastes distinguish the younger students. More significant investments in body-oriented practices follow a different logic, being more emphasised among the younger than the older students. Along the third axis, the oldest students are positioned at the established pole of media consumption.

For social origin we have employed a classification based on occupational groups, divided into 16 categories (see Figs. 6 and 7, and Table 7 in Supplement).17 There are visible differences along the first axis, the dimension related to cultural practices, in as far as students originating from the group most largely dependent upon cultural capital (culture and media professionals) are clearly positioned at the pole of advanced cultural practices and tastes, whereas students with a social background in groups less rich in cultural capital (clerks, workers, self-employed) occupy opposite positions. It is worth noting that along the second axis, expressing a body-oriented dimension, students who are oriented towards the pole of extensive investments also tend to have an origin in groups characterised by a relatively strong economic capital (lawyers,

17 Underlying our questions on social origin is the idea that the social position of the parents is best understood in terms of possessions of different species of capital (cultural, educational, economic, social, etc.). As an indicator of these capital assets we have used the parents' occupations (described by Bourdieu (1979a:117-121) as a very powerful sociological variable since it is related to a net of other social characteristics) and we have in our questions and classification schemes been concerned with applying categories that discriminate occupations with different amounts and compositions of capitals. Since the higher circles of society possess larger volumes of resources and more diversified assets, we have also used more fine-tuned categories to distinguish these groups. In the set of 33 given occupations the respondents had to take into consideration for designating the occupations of their parents, 11 can be regarded as upper middle class occupations such as medical doctors, university teachers, lawyers and corporate executives, 9 middle class occupations such as nurses, primary school teachers, technicians, and midlevel administrators, 7 lower middle class occupations such as clerks and self-employed, and 6 working class occupations, foremen, skilled or unskilled workers in production or services. In addition, the respondents were also urged to state the occupation of their parents. These two sources have been analysed and the fixed answers have been corrected by guidance of the open answers. We have also used a question on the sector of the parents' occupations in order to distinguish for example higher servants in the public sector from higher administrators in the private sector. In a next step a household occupation variable has been constructed based on the predominant occupation of the mother and the father. Based on the frequencies, we have aggregated the occupations to 16; each category comprises at least 40 students, 3.5%, with the exception of lawyers, 21 students, 1.8%, and no information, 7 students, 0.6%.


M. Bôrjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

Fig. 6. Cloud of categories (plane 1 & 2): Parent's occupations in social groups.

corporate executives, and higher administrators in the private sector). Roughly speaking, they oppose students from social groups that probably have the least economic means (workers and clerks), but also groups with limited amounts of cultural capital (self-employed) or limited economic capital (nurses and mid-level administrators). In this dimension, students with an origin in groups with large amounts of educational and cultural capital (university teachers, secondary school teachers and higher civil servants) are positioned in a neutral position around the origin point. Finally, along the third axis - which separates established tastes and practices from non-established, especially with regard to media practices - students from families where parents are university teachers or lawyers occupy the most extreme position on the established side, opposing, on the non-established side, students whose parents are, among other professions, nurses and primary school teachers. Along with gender, inherited educational capital obviously plays a role along this axis.

4.5. A space primarily structured by study programmes

Let us now turn from these basic sociological variables gender, age and social origin and focus on the study programmes that the students attend (see Figs. 8 and 9, and Table 8 in Supplement). We can initially not only conclude that the space of elite students' lifestyles is clearly related to the programmes and courses they attend, but also that the space is more structured according to programmes and courses than by social origin.18 Along the first principal axis, distinguishing advanced and legitimate from mainstream cultural tastes and practices, programmes in fine arts and acting are clearly positioned towards the advanced and legitimate pole, accompanied by other programmes and courses with a cultural orientation (programmes for art teachers and for architects and courses in art history) and in the social sciences (programmes in political science and psychology). They oppose, at the pole of mainstream activities, different kinds of

18 This becomes obvious when the coordinates of the supplementary elements are compared. We find clearly larger differences for study programmes than for social origin, see Tables 7 and 8 in the Supplement, which is not very surprising taking into account that we have to do with elite students that have passed a harsh selection process.


M. Bôrjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

Fig. 7. Cloud of categories (plane 1 & 3): Parent's occupations in social groups.

engineering programmes (the clearest cases are industrial economics and chemistry) and programmes for veterinarians and dentists and in bio-medicine.

Along the second axis, expressing the degree of costly body-oriented investments, programmes in economics and engineering (industrial economics) oppose programmes in fine arts, cultural studies and art teaching as well as courses in archaeology and history. It seems likely that this opposition mirrors differences related to values and habits associated with, on the one hand, business life (fitness, expensive and exclusive clothing) and, on the other hand, disregard of the same values and habits typical for programmes oriented towards the world of culture, where, instead, having a unique personality, anti-uniformity, originality, and a certain taste for more ascetic body practices are celebrated (Palme, Lidegran, & Andersson, 2012).

The third axis, conveying an opposition between established and non-established, is, as we have noted above, strongly related to gender. The most male-oriented programmes, engineering physics and engineering industrial economics, are oriented towards the established pole, while female-dominated programmes such as cultural studies and veterinary science are positioned at the non-established pole. Interestingly, the economics programme at the Stockholm School of Economics is clearly positioned close to the male pole, which implies that although the programme has a fair gender balance among the responding students, the programme and the school also tend to function for women as a traditional bastion cultivating "masculine" values such as competition, struggle and risk taking.

In order to deepen the understanding of the variable "study programmes" it was also treated as a structuring factor of the cloud of individuals, that is, the subclouds induced by the study programmes were analysed. We thereby leave the sociology of variables and enter into the sociology of the individuals. We have chosen to analyse programmes that have special sociological interest and whose mean points all position them differently in the space.

In order to summarise the subclouds of five study programmes, we draw the concentration ellipses (Le Roux & Rouanet, 2004:237-241, 2010:69) of five subclouds (see Fig. 10). Along the first axis the arts students, which is a shorthand for students in fine arts/acting/arts education (Fig. 10a), are opposed to the students in engineering industrial economics (Fig. 10b), and along the second axis students at Stockholm School of Economics (Fig. 10c) are differentiated from the students in history and archaeology (Fig. 10d). As previously noted, the study programme in medicine occupies a central


M. Borjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

Fig. 8. Cloud of categories (plane 1 & 2): Study programmes.

position in the space and the students on the medicine programme are also the ones that are most evenly distributed in the space (Fig. 10e), with an almost equal representation in each quadrant. It is noteworthy that most of the arts students (Fig. 10a) have very little in common with students in economics (Fig. 10c) — the concentration ellipses of the two student groups almost do not overlap in the plane of axes 1 and 2. Students on the two programmes very much stand in opposition to each other in the space. It is not only that arts students dominate in the upper left quadrant and economics students do so in the lower right quadrant, but students in economics are especially rare in the upper left quadrant where art students abound, and vice-versa.

Studying on a specific programme thus tends to go along with the major oppositions in the space of lifestyles revealed by the MCA. It is, in other words, a good indicator of a tendency towards a certain lifestyle. Study programmes constitute institutional milieus characterised by particular student recruitment profiles and certain, but differing, horizons of practices and attitudes that are more or less common (cf. e.g. Bourdieu, 1989:197).

5. Conclusion

The point of departure of this study was the close link between education and culture identified by Bourdieu and collaborators in France in the 1960s, a discovery associated with the forging of the notion of cultural capital, initially introduced as a hypothesis for explaining the educational success of the dominant classes. Further, we have utilised Bourdieu's idea that cultural capital exist in different states. Most relevant to our study is the embodied state (manners, tastes, etc.) and the institutionalised state (for example in the form of educational credentials). Siding with Serre and Wagner (2015), we argue that the different states of cultural capital should be related to each other, which offers an opportunity to overcome the strict division of labour in the social sciences between, on the one hand, cultural sociologists focusing on the embodied state through extensive studies of lifestyles including cultural practices and tastes, and, on the other hand, educational sociologists analysing the social distribution of institutionalised cultural capital.

There is no reason to expect the link between education and culture to be the same fifty years later and in another country. One important change is the expansion of the educational system accompanied by sharpened competition and a decrease in


M. Bôrjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

Fig. 9. Cloud of categories (plane 1 & 3): Study programmes.

the relative value of educational diploma as such. While the mere possession of a higher educational degree is no longer very distinctive, importance has shifted to what degree and from which educational institution. In order to fully account for the increased complexity of higher education and the value of certain degrees, we have used the notion of educational fields (or spaces of educational institutions), developed by Bourdieu, de Saint Martin and others in the 1980s.

In our study we explore lifestyle differences among students in the elite subfield of Swedish higher education. Three main dimensions have been identified in this space of lifestyles. In a first dimension, advanced and legitimate cultural practices and tastes are separated from mainstream ones and those rejecting both highbrow and avant-garde culture. In a second dimension, large investments in body-oriented practices are distinguished from insignificant such practices. Finally, a third dimension opposes a pole of what was named established practices with regard to especially media-orientation, but also to cultural practices and clothing, from a pole of non-established practices in these areas.

Our analysis leads to three major results regarding the embodied state of cultural capital. Firstly, culture consumption is the most important dimension in the space. Secondly, the analysis reveals a more complex pattern of culture consumption than that of a pure volume axis. While the first axis puts advanced legitimate uses and tastes in opposition to both disregard of advanced culture and a preference for mainstream culture, it is the second axis that best accounts for the non-consumption of culture. Thirdly, the main cultural opposition in the material is not possible to describe according to a customary highbrow/lowbrow dimension. The most important categories that contribute to the advanced pole are indicators of avant-garde culture and art-for-art's sake genres and products. However, the most pertinent highbrow indicator - preferring classical music - contributes not only to the first axis, but has its largest contribution to the third axis as part of the pole of established practices, while it also contributes to the second axis, where it is drawn towards the pole of heavy investments in bodily practices. As this example shows, there is a strong argument for making fine distinctions in the analysis of cultural practices, taking into account the complex relations between opposites such as avant-garde, highbrow, mainstream (or lowbrow), and even rejection, in order to understand the formation of cultural capital in the educational system.

In order to relate the institutionalised state of cultural capital to its embodied state, we have within the space of lifestyles analysed the positions of the study programmes and the courses that students attend. A major finding is that there is a strong


M. Bôrjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

major investments

Fig. 10. Study programmes as structuring factor. Concentration ellipses of subclouds of individuals in plane 1 & 2.

link between the two states of cultural capital. The study programmes and the courses are well dispersed in the space. Along the first axis we find an opposition between culture-oriented programmes (advanced and legitimate culture) and engineering programmes (mainstream culture and disregard of advanced culture), while the second axis oppose economic-oriented programmes (important body-oriented investments) to courses and programmes in the humanities and the natural science (insignificant body-oriented investments). Along the third axis certain male-dominated programmes in engineering and economics (established pole) oppose female-dominated programmes in culture studies and chemistry (non-established


18 M. Börjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

pole). We can conclude that the use of educational level as an indicator of cultural capital is far too crude a measure for understanding differences in cultural practices and tastes among elite students.

How are these differences in lifestyles and uses of culture among elite students to be understood? The finding that programmes and courses are more dispersed in the space than the students' inherited capital (in our study indicated primarily by the characteristics of their parents' occupational position) suggests that educational programmes and courses are crucial locations for habitus formation and the development of specific lifestyles associated with distinctive cultural practices and tastes. This does not, however, imply that social origin is irrelevant for understanding the space of elite student lifestyles. Instead, we should regard the programmes and courses as sites where initial possessions of capital are refined and transformed into institutionalised cultural capital. In this process, patterns of social auto-reproduction are visible: the offspring of art producers are drawn towards the pole of advanced and legitimate cultural consumption, whereas the sons and daughters of the economic fractions are attracted by the pole of extensive investments in bodily appearance. Meanwhile, students from homes of smaller cultural and economic means are located in the part of the space characterised by mainstream culture and disregard of advanced and legitimate cultural tastes and practices.

However, the differences in lifestyles between students at different programmes unveiled by the analysis cannot be satisfactorily explained only by the previous habitus and capital formation among students attending these programmes. We will end by arguing that the notion of field specific capital is helpful to fully understand major differences with regard to cultural practices and tastes.

The very different uses of culture, especially in terms of avant-garde, traditionally legitimate and mainstream culture, point to that the highly selective study programmes that prepare for entrance into different parts of the field of power - such as the field of economic power, higher state administration, politics, arts, and so on - tend to promote lifestyles that represent the specific capital prevailing in the field in question. Attracting students with certain backgrounds (when both inherited and acquired forms of capital are considered), and a habitus that is the product of this background, they also, as institutional environments, valorise practices and beliefs that make part of the field specific capital at stake in the social field towards which they are oriented. The differences between elite students revealed by GDA suggest that, for example, most students at the Stockholm School of Economics compete well for cultural capital in its general form. While being less familiar with avant-garde culture than art students, they still make considerable investments in legitimate culture and, additionally, substantial investments in knowledge and practices that art students refute, such as reading the conservative newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. They combine these generally acknowledged cultural practices with field-specific investments, such as a distinctively strong interest in reading business pages and an appreciation of costly forms of dressing and trimming of the body. While art students, in many respects their opposites, also invest heavily in certain practices that make part of a general cultural capital, such as listening to the public service radio channel P1, reading the leading newspaper Dagens Nyheter and keeping track of events in cultural life, they seem less interested in other likely components of this general cultural knowledge, such as reading the business pages in the daily newspapers. Instead, their practices and tastes are, above all, oriented towards specific species of capital, more precisely those highly valorised within the fields of art and cultural production.

In conclusion: as in Bourdieu's analysis of culture, the sociological understanding of lifestyles needs to integrate an exploration of the role of the educational system in the formation of their distinctive character. In other words, we need to take into account that the educational system, and the selection mechanisms that are proper to it, contribute both to the formation of general cultural capital, which is the main function of its basic and secondary levels, and, through various elite study programmes in higher education, to the production and reproduction of various competing species of field-specific capital celebrated in the social fields that together constitute the field of power.


The article is written within the framework of the project The Struggle for Students. The Swedish Field of Higher Education and the Recruitment Strategies of the Institutions, funded by the Swedish Research Council. The results have been presented and discussed at several conferences and workshops, including the Studies of Cultural Distinctions & Social Differentiation (SCUD) network meeting, Charting Social Space, Free University of Brussels, Sept. 18-19, 2014, and the international conference Empirical Investigation of Social Space II, Universität Bonn, 13-14 Oct., 2015. We would also like to express our gratitude to senior lecturer Andreas Melldahl for insightful comments on a draft of the article.

Appendix A. Supplementary data

Supplementary data associated with this article can be found, in the online version, at poetic.2016.02.004.


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Mikael Bôrjesson is professor in Sociology of Education at Uppsala University and co-director of the research unit Sociology of Education and Culture (SEC).

His main research domains are the fields of upper secondary school and higher education, transnational strategies and the internationalisation of higher

education, elites and elite education, fields of art, cultural practices and tastes, as well as applications of Geometric Data Analysis.


20 M. Bôrjesson et al./Poetics xxx (2015) xxx-xxx

Donald Broady directs since 1992, at present together with Mikael Bôrjesson, the research unit Sociology of Education and Culture (SEC). Since 1997 professor at different chairs at Uppsala University, currently emeritus at the Department of Sociology. Research on cultural fields, elites, education, internet technology, mark-up languages.

Brigitte Le Roux is associate researcher at the Laboratoire de Mathématiques Appliquées MAP5/CNRS, Université Paris Descartes, and at the political research centre of Sciences-Po Paris (CEVIPOF/CNRS). Her main interests are in Geometric Data Analysis, with emphasis on large-size tables, structured data analysis, stability problems, combinatorial inference and applications to behavioural and social sciences.

Ida Lidegran is senior lecturer in Sociology of Education at Uppsala University and a member of the research unit SEC. Her main research domains are the fields of upper secondary school and higher education, educational strategies among the elites, the emergence of sustainable development in higher education, as well as applications of Geometric Data Analysis.

Mikael Palme is associate professor in Sociology of Education at Uppsala University and member of the research unit SEC. His research covers the sociology of upper secondary and higher education, culture and social groups' reproduction strategies.