Department of Sociology

Class, body and culture

Lisa Maria Breisten Sølvberg and Vegard Jarness have recently published an article, "Class, body and culture". The article adresses physical activity and symbolic boundaries in the upper class. The article is based on Sølvbergs master thesis.

Class, body and culture

Main content

This article sheds light on how cultural class divisions are expressed in our most intimate and apparently most individual ways—through the body and how we put it to use. The analysis is based on ten qualitative interviews with male interlocutors from two social class fractions—the cultural and the economic upper class. There are clear differences between the fractions: self-identities linked to physical activities vary, and the ways in which the interlocutors interpret, evaluate and classify others’ ways of using the body are clearly different. Further, the article demonstrates how certain physical activities, bodily characteristics and health conditions can imply both advantages and disadvantages in job interviews. Thus, it is shown how different ways of using the body have differential exchange values in the labour market.