Status maintenance in the ‘social middle’: intergenerational stability in occupational fields of the middle class
The research project investigates intergenerational strategies of status maintenance in three occupational fields of the middle class. Based on family interviews, different mechanisms of status reproduction are elaborated from an intergenerational perspective.
The project studies strategies and mechanisms of how the middle class maintains their intergenerational status within specific occupational fields. Numerous studies on social equality have already demonstrated that the middle class perceives itself as threatened by social insecurity and dynamics of social crisis.
The project firstly investigates the conditions of successful status maintenance. By which means and in what ways do families succeed to maintain their social status across several generations and thus simultaneously reproduce structures of social inequality.
Secondly, we put a special focus on the intergenerational relations: Under which conditions are which kind of mentalities, values, dispositions, and social positioning passed on or modified across generations in order to maintain the social status? The aim is to reconstruct the subjective perception of families an the - more or less – conscious, consensual or conflicting mechanisms which remain stable or change when comparing three generations across time.
Such mechanisms may go well beyond the important occupation-specific behavioral patterns such as investing into education. Thirdly, the project compares three typical occupational fields of the middle class: professions in (quasi-)government institutions, middle-class craftsmanship, and qualified employees in the technical field.
We thus combine sociological perspectives on social inequality and on work and professions and investigate occupational cultures as a central factor in families’ strategy of status maintenance. A more general inquiry on the making of societies is related to this: Are there occupation-specific mechanisms of status maintenance and which role to those occupation play with regard to the internal, both vertical and horizontal differentiation of the middle class?
Our research methods involve family interviews with members of three generations. Persons of the middle generations who work in one of the three professional fields named above are the anchor for recruiting further family members. This innovative approach offers the opportunity to analyze the collective production and ways of communication in families and directly relate them to the perspective of the individual. The sampling and data collection is based on the Grounded Theory Methodology. The empirical analyzes aims at developing a typology of cross-generational strategies of status maintenance.
06/2018 - 12/2021 (42 months)
Prof. Dr. Nicole Burzan, TU Dortmund
Prof. Dr. Berthold Vogel, SOFI Göttingen
Dr. Miriam Schad, TU Dortmund
Dr. Andrea Hense, SOFI Göttingen
Hense, A. (forthcoming): Combining Graphic Elicitation Methods and Narrative Family Interviews in an Embedded Qualitative Multimethod Design, In: Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Special Issue zum Thema “Mixed Methods and Multimethod Social Research – Current Applications and Future Directions”.
Schad, M./ Hense, A. (forthcoming): Covid-19’s effects on strong and weak ties in middle-class families. Insights from intergenerational qualitative longitudinal data, Soziale Welt, SozW, 74 (1) 2023, 29 – 52
Hense, A./ Schad,M. (2022): Intergenerationale Genese von Mentalitäten: Ein relationaler und längsschnittlicher Forschungsansatz der Bewusstseinsforschung. Arbeits- und Industriesoziologische Studien 15(1), S. 12-25. [available online]
Hense, A./Schad, M. (2021): Intergenerationaler Statuserhalt und berufsfeldspezifische Bildungsaneignung, In: Forum Erwachsenenbildung, 54. Jg., Heft 1/2021, S. 35-38.
Burzan, N. (2020): Kontinuitäten und Diskontinuitäten. Methodische Reflexion zeitsoziologischer Analysen in Mehr-Generationen-Familieninterviews [31 Absätze]. In: Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research 2020, 21(2), Art. 2 [available online] (also in english: Continuities and Discontinuities. A Methodological Reflection on Sociological Analyses of Time in Multigenerational Family Interviews. [available online in English]).
Burzan, N./ Kohrs, S./ Schad, M. (2019): Verunsicherung in den Mittelschichten? Konzeptionelle und methodische Erwägungen sowie empirische Befunde zur aktuellen Entwicklung in Deutschland. In: sozialpolitik.ch, Vol. 1/2019 („Erosion der Mittelschicht?“), Artikel 1.3. [available online]
Hense, A./ Schad, M. (2019): Sampling von Familien in der Mittelschicht. In Nicole Burzan (Hrsg.), Komplexe Dynamiken globaler und lokaler Entwicklungen. Verhandlungen des 39. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Göttingen 2018. [available online]
Schad, M./ Burzan, N. (2018): Von Generation zu Generation. Strategien des Statuserhalts im Kontext von Familien- und Berufsmentalitäten in der Mittelschicht. In: Schöneck, Nadine; Ritter, Sabine (Hg.): Die Mitte als Kampfzone. Wertorientierungen und Abgrenzungspraktiken der Mittelschichten. Bielefeld: transcript. S. 109‒123.
Schad, M./ Burzan, N. (2018): Intergenerationale Statusstabilisierung in der Mittelschicht – eine exemplarische Analyse zweier Unternehmensfamilien. In: WestEnd Neue Zeitschrift für Sozialforschung, 1/2018, S. 99-108.
Burzan, N. (2017): Zur intergenerationalen Stabilisierung der Zugehörigkeit zur Mittelschicht. Befunde aus einem Familieninterview und Schlussfolgerungen für soziologische Perspektiven auf soziale Ungleichheit, In: Stephan Lessenich (Hg.) 2017: Geschlossene Gesellschaften. Verhandlungen des 38. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Bamberg 2016.
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The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dortmund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dortmund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station ("Dortmund Universität"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station ("Dortmund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop "Dortmund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dortmund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dortmund Universität S".
The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dortmund Universität S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.
The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent "Technologiepark".
Site Map of TU Dortmund University (Second Page in English).