The Socialist “Middle Class” Revisited: Consumption-Based Class Distinctions in Four Post-Yugoslav Countries
This paper attempts to map and assess the evolvement of such a socialist “middle class” in the conditions of the postsocialist transition, with special attention devoted to the consumption-based class distinctions in the field of cultural practices. The interpretation is based on the results of a survey undertaken within the project “Life-Strategies and Survival Strategies of Households and Individuals in South-East European Societies in the Times of Crisis” on a national proportional multistage random sample of 3906 respondents in four post-Yugoslav countries (1000 in Croatia, 1000 in Serbia, 1002 in Bosnia-Herzegovina and 904 in Slovenia). The questionnaire included the relevant data for three generations in the family of the respondent. Multiple Correspondence Analysis was used to produce maps of the social space in the respective societies, and relate various social positions to the consumption styles in the post-2008 crisis context. Different levels of cultural participation, as well as orientation towards global or local cultural consumption, have proved to be important and reliable indicators of class distinctions.