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Perceptions of Social Structure and Inequality
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Demographic Data Base. (ALC)
2014 (English)In: Changing Society, Durham: BSA Publications Ltd , 2014, 303-303 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Asking people about how they perceive the structure of their society tells us how they visualize both inequality and the structure of the class system. Following the reference group theory and the concept of the ‘availability heuristic’, people tend to exaggerate the size of their own social group; where individuals who place themselves in the middle of the stratification system also view others as located in the middle. When taking individuals age into account the reference group theory has failed to give a sufficient explanation for the way individuals perceive their society (Karlsson, submitted article). A recent study reveals that age was the most important factor for perceiving Swedish society as highly equalitarian or elitist, after controlling for a wide array of factors like social class, class identity, subjective social placment and subjective social mobility (Ibid.). Results revealed that elderly individuals to a greater extent than others perceived society as elitist discussed as the elderly to a greater extent base their judgements of a societal order on life-course projection. In this paper the validity of the reference group theory will be further tested and compared among other western countries such as: Great Britain, USA and the other Scandinavian countries: Finland and Norway. The source material is derived from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) in 2009 (‘Social Inequality IV’) and the results will be analyzed using logistic regression analysis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Durham: BSA Publications Ltd , 2014. 303-303 p.
Keyword [en]
Social identities, social stratification, age
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93288ISBN: 9780904569438OAI: diva2:747053
British Sociological Association: Annual Conference 2014, Leeds, 23-25 April, 2014
Available from: 2014-09-15 Created: 2014-09-15 Last updated: 2015-07-02Bibliographically approved

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