Parental background and lifestyle differentiation in eastern Europe: Social, political, and cultural intergenerational transmission in five former socialist societies
SourceSocial Science Research, 29, 1, (2000), pp. 92-122
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
Social Science Research
SubjectInequality, cohesion and modernization; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
Destratification processes in the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe reduced the opportunities parents had to provide their children with favorable conditions for success in life. As a consequence, the relevance of parental social background in explaining high-culture participation and material wealth was believed to be limited. Several scholars, however, argued that intergenerational social inequalities persisted and that new forms of political and cultural transmission developed. In this article, we studied these claims and examined the effects of parental social, political, and cultural resources on their children's cultural and material lifestyle. The data we used stem from five national representative and fully comparable surveys conducted in 1993 in Bulgaria (N=3515), the Czech Republic (N=4596), Hungary (N=3395), Poland (N=2747), and Slovakia (N=3771). Our analyses show that for high culture participation, parental cultural resources are highly relevant. Particularly in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia these parental resources of cultural access are even more important factors than an individual's own attributes. Furthermore, indirect effects of parental political and socioeconomic resources could be established. Regarding material wealth, continuing inequality is revealed as well. Parental socioeconomic resources predominantly affect material consumption indirectly through an enhancement of individual resources. Political parental resources are of value, especially in Slovakia and Bulgaria. In general, we conclude that in spite of the far-reaching destratification policies in these five former socialist countries, lifestyle differentiation shortly after the breakdown of socialism is still largely determined by the transmission of inequalities over generations.
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