Class, friendship, and the postsocialist transition : identity work and patterns of stability in Central Europe - East and West
Title: Class, friendship, and the postsocialist transition : identity work and patterns of stability in Central Europe - East and West
Author: CEPIĆ, Dražen
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2013
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of Political and Social Sciences
In this thesis, I analyze the emergence of class boundaries in postsocialism in the realm of sociability and friendship making. The goal of this study is to provide a dynamic account of the ways actors draw symbolic boundaries toward people of different social status, as well as to explore the mechanisms of shifting those patterns across different "orders of worth”. At the same time, by using qualitative network analysis, it is addressed how these processes affected the actual choice of friends. I explored these issues by conducting indepth 105 interviews with upper middle class and working class respondents in Croatia and - in an asymmetric comparison - the upper middle class in Austria. The topic of class formation in postsocialism has been researched with qualitative, experience-near approach to friendship and identity building, as well as specific mechanisms through which these processes took place: the rise of private schooling, transnationalization, and the new entrepreneurial networks, sometimes crossing the bonds of legality, and entering the gray field of corruption and nepotism. At the same time, it is observed how the new influences were contradicted by the existing path dependencies - both in the form of the social hierarchies which managed to survive the project of destratification, and on the other hand, by legacies of the old regime in the form of egalitarian values. Finally, the area perspective does not represent a purpose to itself: even though postsocialism has stood in the center of this research, this study also contributes to the broader discussions about the nature of class divides in different contexts. Given the comprehensiveness of the theoretical and conceptual framework, this concerned several disciplinary fields: friendship studies, social network analysis, the scholarship on boundary maintenance, and even more abstract discussions on the role of actors in the times of social change. Despite the primarily empirical nature of my approach, this study also attempts to offer theoretical and methodological contributions in the broad field of study bound by cultural sociology, social anthropology, economic sociology, sociology of worth, and qualitative approaches to social stratification.
LC Subject Heading: Post-communism -- Europe, Central; Post-communism -- Europe, Eastern; Post-communism -- Europe, Western; Social change -- Europe, Central; Social change -- Europe, Eastern; Social change -- Europe, Western
Examining Board: Professor Martin Kohli (EUI), Supervisor Professor László Bruszt (EUI) Professor Graham Allan (Keele University) Professor Jörg Rössel (University of Zurich).; Defence date: 26 March 2013
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