Educational stratification in cultural participation: cognitive competence or status motivation?
- 1.2k Downloads
This article examines educational stratification in highbrow cultural participation. There are two contrasting explanations of why cultural participation is stratified. The status hypothesis predicts that people come to appreciate particular forms of art because it expresses their belonging to a certain social group. The cognitive hypothesis stipulates that cultural participation depends on a person’s cognitive abilities, which is why educational stratification in cultural consumption is so evident, especially among consumers of high culture. However, to test these explanations, previous work predominantly relied on an individual’s level of education, thus confounding the two mechanisms. We test the status and cognitive hypothesis using data from the International Adult Literacy Survey, covering 18 countries. First, by including an individual’s literacy skills, we separate the effect of cognitive ability from that of education. The remaining effect of education can be seen as a better measure of the status-related motives for cultural participation. Second, we examine whether stratification varies across countries. The findings show that the status-related effect of education on cultural participation is smaller in societies with larger educational expansion and intergenerational educational mobility. This is in line with the status explanation, which holds that boundaries between educational groups are less exclusionary in societies that are educationally less stratified. In contrast, the relation between cognitive skills and cultural participation is unaffected by distributional variation in education, as the cognitive hypothesis predicts.
KeywordsCultural participation Educational stratification Comparative research Status signaling Cognitive competency Cultural reproduction Multilevel modeling
- Beck, U. (1992). Risk society: Towards a new modernity. London: Sage & Sons.Google Scholar
- Becker, G. S. (1996). Accounting for tastes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Bellavance, G. (2008). Where’s high? Who’s low? What’s new? Classification and stratification inside cultural “Repertoires”. Poetics, 36, 189–216.Google Scholar
- Bourdieu, P. (1984 ). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement in taste. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J.E. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory of research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). Westport: Greenword Press.Google Scholar
- Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J. C. (1990 ). Reproduction in education, society, and culture. London: Sage in association with Theory Culture & Society Dept. of Administrative and Social Studies Teesside Polytechnic.Google Scholar
- Caldwell, M., & Woodside, A. G. (2003). The role of cultural capital in performing arts patronage. International Journal of Arts Management, 5, 34–50.Google Scholar
- Casarin, F., & Moretti, A. (2011). An international review of cultural consumption research. Department of Management University of Ca’ Foscari Venice, working paper no. 12/2011.Google Scholar
- Castells, ML. (1996). The rise of the network society. The information age: Economy, society and culture, Vol. I. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Cattell, R. B. (1971). Abilities: Their structure, growth, and action. New York: Houghton Mifflin.Google Scholar
- Collins, R. (1979). The credential society: An historical sociology of education and stratification. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
- DiMaggio, P., Hargittai, E., Celeste, C., & Shafer, S. (2004). From unequal access to differentiated use. In K. Neckerman (Ed.), Social inequality (pp. 355–400). New York: Rusell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
- Erikson, R., & Jonsson, J.O. (1996) Explaining class inequality in education: the Swedish test case. In R. Erikson, & J. O. Jonsson (Eds.), Can education be equalized? The Swedish case in comparative perspective (pp. 1–63). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Farkas, G. (1996). Human capital or cultural capital? Ethnicity and poverty groups in an urban school district. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
- Ganzeboom, H. B. G. (1982). Explaining differential participation in high-cultural activities: A confrontation of information-processing and status seeking theories. In R. Werner (Ed.), Theoretical models and empirical analyses (pp. 186–205). Utrecht: E.S. Publications.Google Scholar
- Ganzeboom, H. B. G. (1984). Cultuur en informatieverwerking. [Culture and information processing.] Dissertation, Utrecht: Universiteit Utrecht.Google Scholar
- Ganzeboom, H. B. G. (1989). International comparison of culture consumption data: An elementary model. In R. C. Waits, W. S. Hendon, S. Davidson, & J. Mark (Eds.), Cultural economics 88: A European perspective (pp. 109–116). Akron, OH: Association for Cultural Economics.Google Scholar
- Green, D. (2001). Literacy skills, non-cognitive skills and earnings: An economist’s perspective. http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/pub/jdi/deutsch/edu_conf/Green.pdf.
- Lipset, S. M., & Bendix, R. (1959). Social mobility in industrial society. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2006). Information retrieved October 2012 from http://www.oecd.org/std/na/37257281.pdf.
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2013). Information retrieved November 8, 2013 from http://www.oecd.org/site/piaac/publicdataandanalysis.htm.
- Rijken, S. (1999). Educational expansion and status attainment: A cross-national and over-time comparison. ICS Dissertation, Utrecht.Google Scholar
- Scitovsky, T. (1976). The joyless economy. An inquiry into human satisfaction and consumer dissatisfaction. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Shavit, Y., Arum, R., & Gamoran, A. (2007). Stratification in higher education. A comparative study. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Snijders, T. A. B., & Bosker, R. J. (1999). Multilevel analysis. An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling. Londen: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
- Statistics Canada (n.d.). International adult literacy survey. Microdata user’s guide. Google Scholar
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics. (2013). Information retrieved October 2013 from http://stats.uis.unesco.org/unesco/ReportFolders/ReportFolders.aspx.
- Van Hek, M., & Kraaykamp, G. (2013). Cultural consumption across countries: A multi-level analysis of social inequality in highbrow culture in Europe. Poetics, 44, 323–341.Google Scholar
- Wilkinson, R. G., & Pickett, K. E. (2009). The spirit level. Why more equal societies almost always do better. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
- Worldbank (2013). Information retrieved October 2013 from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD/countries?order=wbapi_data_value_1994%20wbapi_data_value&sort=asc&display=default.