Some things haven’t changed
“Rich parents, good chances”
The current reality is as follows: A child's ability to make the transition from elementary school to high school depends heavily on the socioeconomic background of his or her parents. Recent findings show that there are significant differences in children's educational opportunities based on the wealth and educational level of their parents.
On the one hand
With 21,5% probability a child will make it to the Gymnasium if his parents end up either
- not have a high school diploma,
- have a net household income of less than 2.600€,
- do have a migration background,
- or are single parents.
On the other hand
With 80%+ probability a child will make it to the Gymnasium if his parents end up either
- both have a high school diploma,
- have a net household income of more than 5,500€,
- do not have a migration background,
- or are not single parents.
It becomes obvious that the probability to get into a Gymnasium is much higher, if the parental home’s habitus in the social space is higher. This unfortunately also determines social participation, personal development opportunities, and future educational and career prospects.
- Socioeconomic background is a key determinant of a child's educational, vocational, and academic career.
- Social participation and personal development opportunities are just as strongly shaped by the parental home.
- The ritcher your parents, the better your chances.
When looking through the lens of life, Habitus reveals its true force
Life is not always as it seems - to you
Our habitus, which consists of our attitude, behavior, and perception (as well as the taste, place of residence, or other sociological characteristics of an individual) thus decisively shapes the course, opportunities, and outcomes of our lives (Mai, 2023; Märtin, 2019; Kaufmann, 2016).
How we individually react to life’s events is influenced by our Habitus
Because, depending on how we look at certain life circumstances, doors open or close.
Example: The glass is half full, or half empty?
The famously infamous example of a glass half full, or rather, half empty - or whatever …
If we take the glass as a metaphor for life events, it becomes clear what is meant: Our actions, behavior, perceptions, and therefore our social interactions are greatly influenced by how we react to certain events. In doing so, we subconsciously reveal our place in the social sphere (Mai, 2023; unirostock, 2019).
- How you react to life's events is largely determined by your habitus.
- Habitus is a door opener, but it can also be a door closer.
Especially among the elites, sharing a similar habitus is key
“If you want to be among the decision-makers of tomorrow, you have to convey to the decision-makers of today that you fit with them.”
But why is that so? Let’s get some things traight first.
Similar Habits: Individuals like to be around others sharing same habits, wehter it be having the same favourit sport, a similar music taste or preferences when it comes to making holiday. what ever it is, similarity in preference leads to acceptance.
Unequal habitus value: Good and bad news at the same time. We have a multitude of different Habitus in our society. That’s great! Else we’d be a boring homogenoeous mass. Unfortunately, in our society we value some habitus more than others.
Homogenity among the elites: Building up on our second observation, society in general is very heterogenoeous when it comes to Habitus. Nevertheless, within certain groups within the greater society, there is very well homogenity - and this si especially among the elites. Having shared values, experiences and lifestyles, the elites are a very homogenous group sharing a very similar Habitus.
Principle of similarity: The principle of similarity tells one thing - that similar habits are looked for by groups of a similar Habitus. When applying for a job at the board of directors at a big corporate, the evaluating instances will most likely share similar habitus. Since people look for attributes that equal them the most, they’ll especially look for candidtes that share a similar habitus when making a decision of whom to hire and whom not.
THESE FOR POINTS HAVILY INFLUENCE SOCIAL INTERACTIONS
And by having said that, the circles closes again. Based on the social interaction one has in the social space, attitudes form and the positioning in the respective social space starts over.
SOCIAL INTERATION CREATE ATTITUDES
(Mai, 2023; Märtin, 2019; Kaufmann, 2016; Schwarz, 2019; unirostock, 2019)
Now once we have clrafied what that means, let’s look into what that has for an effect on us. These days, eduacation levels among the greater society a high. Anyhow, not everyone belongs the the higher class habitus. Wondering why? It’s because of the “subtile differences” - as Pierre Bordieu states. Michael Hartmann, a renomated sociologist puts it as follows:
“When all people are formally educated in this way, differences in Habitus tend to become even more important.”
- Michael Hartmann
Having a great degree is important, but when everyone is well-educated, differences in habitus become even more significant. If two individuals are equally qualified, the one with a better habitus, as evaluated earlier, is more likely to be chosen for a job or even just a dinner party, as they form better attitudes towards their conversation partner. Therefore, the subtle differences in your habitus can decide success or failure (Kaufmann, 2016). In other words, equally good education does not necessarily produce the same habitus (Märtin, 2019).
- People like other poeple shairng a similar Habitus.
- Some Habitus are valued more by society.
- THe Habitus of the elites is very homogeneous.
- The pricniple of similarity is the reason that your chances to get hired by others increases the more similar your habitus is.
- Having great education is not enough to land a job, your Habitus needs to be alinged with the one most prominent among your evaluators.
Although no Habitus is like the other, one thing is always the same
Eventhough intra-group Habitus is by nature not set on distinction but used to authorise oneself, inter-group Habitus by nature always distincts itself. Nomatter if looked at lower-, middle- oder higher-class Habitus disitinction is in the DNA of Habitus. Interestingly enough, some forms of Habitus bewusst use distinction as one of their charactersitics while others don’t at all.
🏌🏽 Example-Habitus 1
Habitus uses distinction as character trait.
🤺 Example-Habitus 2
Habitus doesn’t purpusefully use distinction but rather the Habitus itself distincts itself to other groups.
(Märtin, 2019); (unirostock, 2019);
- Habitus always distincts between groups.
- Habitus is an expression of social inequality.
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