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Lifestyle and Social Structure - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780126542806, 9781483260280

Lifestyle and Social Structure

1st Edition

Concepts, Definitions, Analyses

Author: Michael E. Sobel
Editor: Peter H. Rossi
eBook ISBN: 9781483260280
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 28th November 1981
Page Count: 240
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Lifestyle and Social Structure: Concepts, Definitions, Analyses is devoted the relationship between lifestyle and social structure. The book begins by constructing a meaningful concept of lifestyle in order to understand and model this relationship. The general formulation of the concept hinges on the descriptive word style, defined as ""any distinctive, and therefore recognizable way in which an act is performed or an artifact made or ought to be performed and made.""
After developing the implications of the definition, lifestyle is defined, by analogy, as ""any distinctive, and therefore recognizable mode of living."" The notion of social structure is then introduced, arguing that structural differentiation engenders lifestyle differentiation. The remainder of the work is concerned primarily with the modeling of this relationship using data from the 1972-1973 Survey of Consumer Expenditures, and with the concept of stylistic unity. Key topics discussed include the relationship between the theory of lifestyle differentiation and modern economic utility theory; psychographic notions of lifestyle; and the relationships between lifestyle and other key sociological concepts (stratification, alienation).
The concept of lifestyle should be of interest to a broad range of applied and theoretical researchers.

Table of Contents



1 Introduction

2 Lifestyle and Sociological Thought

Early Theoretical Approaches

The Symbolic Approach

Some Empirical Inquiries

Defining Lifestyle

3 From Style to Lifestyle: an Analogy to Art History

Style in Ordinary Language

Esthetic Style

Idiosyncratic Style

Descriptive Style


4 Lifestyle, Consumption, and the American Experience: A Historical Sketch

The Historical Argument

Consumption and Expressiveness

Work and Expressiveness

Leisure and Consumption


5 Toward a Sociological Theory of Lifestyle Differentiation

Where Does Lifestyle Come from?

Social Structure and Referent Generators

Lifestyle and Alternative Lifestyles

Economic Work on Consumption

The Relationship between Economic Theories of Consumption and the Sociological Theory of Lifestyle Differentiation

6 Implementing the Theory: Data and Methods

Indexing the Causal Factors


Engel Curve Analyses

The Data


7 Social Structure and Lifestyle: A Preliminary Analysis

Some Preliminary Results

Adding Variables to the Basic Model

Data Analysis

Interpreting the Results

Effects of the Socioeconomic Variables


8 Social Structure and Stylistic Unity

Lifestyle or Stylistic Unity?

Exploratory Factor Analysis

A Confirmatory Analysis

The Socioeconomic Effects

Descriptive Form, Spatio-Temporal Invariance, and Social Structure: A Speculative and Nontechnical Exegesis

9 Lifestyle, Stratification, and Alienation: Conclusions and Speculations

Appendix A Creation of the Education Codes

Appendix B Creation of the SEI Scores

Appendix C Creation of the Dependent Variable


Subject Index


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 1981
28th November 1981
Academic Press
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Michael E. Sobel

About the Editor

Peter H. Rossi

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