Lifestyle is the interests, opinions, behaviours, and behavioural orientations of an individual, group, or culture.The term was introduced by Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler in his 1929 book, The Case of Miss R., with the meaning of "a person's basic character as established early in childhood". The broader sense of lifestyle as a "way or style of living" has been documented since 1961. Lifestyle is a combination of determining intangible or tangible factors. Tangible factors relate specifically to demographic variables, i.e. an individual's demographic profile, whereas intangible factors concern the psychological aspects of an individual such as personal values, preferences, and outlooks.
A rural environment has different lifestyles compared to an urban metropolis. Location is important even within an urban scope. The nature of the neighborhood in which a person resides affects the set of lifestyles available to that person due to differences between various neighborhoods' degrees of affluence and proximity to natural and cultural environments. For example, in areas near the sea, a surf culture or lifestyle can often be present.
A lifestyle typically reflects an individual's attitudes, way of life, values, or world view. Therefore, a lifestyle is a means of forging a sense of self and to create cultural symbols that resonate with personal identity. Not all aspects of a lifestyle are voluntary. Surrounding social and technical systems can constrain the lifestyle choices available to the individual and the symbols she/he is able to project to others and the self.
The lines between personal identity and the everyday doings that signal a particular lifestyle become blurred in modern society.For example, "green lifestyle" means holding beliefs and engaging in activities that consume fewer resources and produce less harmful waste (i.e. a smaller ecological footprint), and deriving a sense of self from holding these beliefs and engaging in these activities. Some commentators argue that, in modernity, the cornerstone of lifestyle construction is consumption behavior, which offers the possibility to create and further individualize the self with different products or services that signal different ways of life.
Lifestyle may include views on politics, religion, health, intimacy, and more. All of these aspects play a role in shaping someone's lifestyle.In the magazine and television industries, "lifestyle" is used to describe a category of publications or programs.
Three main phases can be identified in the history of lifestyles studies:
Earlier studies on lifestyles focus on the analysis of social structure and of the individuals' relative positions inside it. Thorstein Veblen, with his 'emulation' concept, opens this perspective by asserting that people adopt specific 'schemes of life', and in particular specific patterns of 'conspicuous consumption', depending on a desire for distinction from social strata they identify as inferior and a desire for emulation of the ones identified as superior. Max Weber intends lifestyles as distinctive elements of status groups strictly connected with a dialectic of recognition of prestige: the lifestyle is the most visible manifestation of social differentiation, even within the same social class, and in particular it shows the prestige which the individuals believe they enjoy or to which they aspire. Georg Simmel carries out formal analysis of lifestyles, at the heart of which can be found processes of individualisation, identification, differentiation, and recognition, understood both as generating processes of, and effects generated by, lifestyles, operating "vertically" as well as "horizontally". Finally, Pierre Bourdieu renews this approach within a more complex model in which lifestyles, made up mainly of social practices and closely tied to individual tastes, represent the basic point of intersection between the structure of the field and processes connected with the habitus.
The approach interpreting lifestyles as principally styles of thought has its roots in the soil of psychological analysis. Initially, starting with Alfred Adler, a lifestyle was understood as a style of personality, in the sense that the framework of guiding values and principles which individuals develop in the first years of life end up defining a system of judgement which informs their actions throughout their lives. Later, particularly in Milton Rokeach's work, Arnold Mitchell's VALS research and Lynn Kahle's LOV research, lifestyles' analysis developed as profiles of values, reaching the hypothesis that it is possible to identify various models of scales of values organized hierarchically, to which different population sectors correspond. Then with Daniel Yankelovich and William Wells we move on to the so-called AIO approach in which attitudes, interests and opinions are considered as fundamental lifestyles' components, being analysed from both synchronic and diachronic points of view and interpreted on the basis of socio-cultural trends in a given social context (as, for instance, in Bernard Cathelat's work). Finally, a further development leads to the so-called profiles-and-trends approach, at the core of which is an analysis of the relations between mental and behavioural variables, bearing in mind that socio-cultural trends influence both the diffusion of various lifestyles within a population and the emerging of different modalities of interaction between thought and action.
Analysis of lifestyles as action profiles is characterized by the fact that it no longer considers the action level as a simple derivative of lifestyles, or at least as their collateral component, but rather as a constitutive element. In the beginning, this perspective focussed mainly on consumer behaviour, seeing products acquired as objects expressing on the material plane individuals’ self-image and how they view their position in society. Subsequently, the perspective broadened to focus more generally on the level of daily life, concentrating – as in authors such as Joffre Dumazedier and Anthony Giddens – on the use of time, especially loisirs, and trying to study the interaction between the active dimension of choice and the dimension of routine and structuration which characterize that level of action. Finally, some authors, for instance Richard Jenkins and A. J. Veal, suggested an approach to lifestyles in which it is not everyday actions which make up the plane of analysis but those which the actors who adopt them consider particularly meaningful and distinctive.
A healthy or unhealthy lifestyle will most likely be transmitted across generations. According to the study done by Case et al. (2002), when a 0-3-year-old child has a mother who practices a healthy lifestyle, this child will be 27% more likely to become healthy and adopt the same lifestyle.For instance, high income parents are more likely to eat more fruit and vegetables, have time to exercise, and provide the best living condition to their children. On the other hand, low-income parents are more likely to participate in unhealthy activities such as smoking to help them release poverty-related stress and depression. Parents are the first teacher for every child. Everything that parents do will be very likely transferred to their children through the learning process.
Adults may be drawn together by mutual interest that results in a lifestyle. For example, William Dufty described how pursuing a sugar-free diet led to such associations:
I have come to know hundreds of young people who have found that illness or bingeing on drugs and sugar became the doorway to health. Once they reestablished their own health, we had in common our interest in food. If one can use that overworked word lifestyle, we shared a sugarfree lifestyle. I kept in touch with many of them in campuses and communes, through their travels here and abroad and everywhere. One day you meet them in Boston. The next week you run into them in Southern California.
Lifestyle research can contribute to the question of the relevance of the class concept.
The term lifestyle was introduced in the 1950s as a derivative of that of style in art:
"Life-styles", the culture industry’s recycling of style in art, represent the transformation of an aesthetic category, which once possessed a moment of negativity [shocking, emancipatory], into a quality of commodity consumption.
Theodor W. Adorno noted that there is a "culture industry" in which the mass media is involved, but that the term "mass culture" is inappropriate:
In our drafts, we spoke of "mass culture." We replaced that expression with "culture industry" in order to exclude from the outset the interpretation agreeable to its advocates: that it is a matter of something like a culture that arises spontaneously from the masses themselves, the contemporary form of popular art.
The media culture of advanced capitalism typically creates new "life-styles" to drive the consumption of new commodities:
Diversity is more effectively present in mass media than previously, but this is not an obvious or unequivocal gain. By the late 1950s, the homogenization of consciousness had become counterproductive for the purposes of capital expansion; new needs for new commodities had to be created, and this required the reintroduction of the minimal negativity that had been previously eliminated. The cult of the new that had been the prerogative of art throughout the modernist epoch into the period of post-war unification and stabilization has returned to capital expansion from which it originally sprang. But this negativity is neither shocking nor emancipatory since it does not presage a transformation of the fundamental structures of everyday life. On the contrary, through the culture industry capital has co-opted the dynamics of negation both diachronically in its restless production of new and "different" commodities and synchronically in its promotion of alternative "life-styles."
A political spectrum is a system to characterize and classify different political positions in relation to one another. These positions sit upon one or more geometric axes that represent independent political dimensions. The expressions political compass and political map are used to refer to the political spectrum as well, especially to popular two-dimensional models of it.
Theodor W. Adorno was a German philosopher, sociologist, psychologist, musicologist, and composer known for his critical theory of society.
A subculture is a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles. Subcultures develop their own norms and values regarding cultural, political, and sexual matters. Subcultures are part of society while keeping their specific characteristics intact. Examples of subcultures include hippies, goths, bikers, and skinheads. The concept of subcultures was developed in sociology and cultural studies. Subcultures differ from countercultures.
Ethnography is a branch of anthropology and the systematic study of individual cultures. Ethnography explores cultural phenomena from the point of view of the subject of the study. Ethnography is also a type of social research involving the examination of the behaviour of the participants in a given social situation and understanding the group members' own interpretation of such behaviour.
The Frankfurt School was a school of social theory and critical philosophy associated with the Institute for Social Research, at Goethe University Frankfurt. Founded in the Weimar Republic (1918–33), during the European interwar period (1918–39), the Frankfurt School comprised intellectuals, academics, and political dissidents dissatisfied with the contemporary socio-economic systems of the 1930s. The Frankfurt theorists proposed that social theory was inadequate for explaining the turbulent political factionalism and reactionary politics occurring in 20th century liberal capitalist societies. Critical of capitalism and of Marxism–Leninism as philosophically inflexible systems of social organization, the School's critical theory research indicated alternative paths to realizing the social development of a society and a nation.
The term culture industry was coined by the critical theorists Theodor Adorno (1903–1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895–1973), and was presented as critical vocabulary in the chapter "The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception", of the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), wherein they proposed that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods—films, radio programmes, magazines, etc.—that are used to manipulate mass society into passivity. Consumption of the easy pleasures of popular culture, made available by the mass communications media, renders people docile and content, no matter how difficult their economic circumstances. The inherent danger of the culture industry is the cultivation of false psychological needs that can only be met and satisfied by the products of capitalism; thus Adorno and Horkheimer especially perceived mass-produced culture as dangerous to the more technically and intellectually difficult high arts. In contrast, true psychological needs are freedom, creativity, and genuine happiness, which refer to an earlier demarcation of human needs, established by Herbert Marcuse.
Popular culture studies is the study of popular culture from a critical theory perspective combining communication studies and cultural studies. The first institution to offer bachelor's and master's degrees in Popular Culture is the Bowling Green State University Department of Popular Culture founded by Ray B. Browne.
In Marxist theory, interpellation - the process by which we encounter a culture's or ideology's values and internalize them - is an important concept regarding the notion of ideology. It is associated in particular with the work of French philosopher Louis Althusser. According to Althusser, every society is made up of ideological state apparatuses (ISAs) and repressive state apparatuses (RSAs) which are instrumental to constant reproduction of the relations to the production of that given society. While ISAs belong to the private domain and refer to private institutions, the RSA is one public institution (police/military) controlled by the government. Consequently, 'interpellation' describes the process by which ideology, embodied in major social and political institutions, constitutes the very nature of individual subjects' identities through the process of "hailing" them in social interactions.
In sociology, taste is an individual's personal, cultural and aesthetic patterns of choice and preference. Taste is drawing distinctions between things such as styles, manners, consumer goods, and works of art and relating to these. Social inquiry of taste is about the human ability to judge what is beautiful, good, and proper.
VALS is a proprietary research methodology used for psychographic market segmentation. Market segmentation is designed to guide companies in tailoring their products and services in order to appeal to the people most likely to purchase them.
Media system dependency theory (MSD), or simply media dependency, was developed by Sandra Ball-Rokeach and Melvin Defleur in 1976. The theory is grounded in classical sociological literature positing that media and their audiences should be studied in the context of larger social systems. MSD ties together the interrelations of broad social systems, mass media, and the individual into a comprehensive explanation of media effects. At its core, the basic dependency hypothesis states that the more a person depends on media to meet needs, the more important media will be in a person's life, and therefore the more effects media will have on a person.
The sociology of literature is a subfield of the sociology of culture. It studies the social production of literature and its social implications. A notable example is Pierre Bourdieu's 1992 Les Règles de L'Art: Genèse et Structure du Champ Littéraire, translated by Susan Emanuel as Rules of Art: Genesis and Structure of the Literary Field (1996).
Popular culture is generally recognized by members of a society as a set of the practices, beliefs, and objects that are dominant or prevalent in a society at a given point in time. Popular culture also encompasses the activities and feelings produced as a result of interaction with these dominant objects. The primary driving force behind popular culture is mass appeal, and it is produced by what cultural analyst Theodor Adorno refers to as the "culture industry". Heavily influenced in modern times by mass media, this collection of ideas permeates the everyday lives of people in a given society. Therefore, popular culture has a way of influencing an individual's attitudes towards certain topics. However, there are various ways to define pop culture. Because of this, popular culture is something that can be defined in a variety of conflicting ways by different people across different contexts. It is generally viewed in contrast to other forms of culture such as folk cults, working-class culture, or high culture, and also through different high praised perspectives such as psychoanalysis, structuralism, postmodernism, and more. The most common pop-culture categories are: entertainment, sports, news, politics, fashion, technology, and slang.
Values scales are psychological inventories used to determine the values that people endorse in their lives. They facilitate the understanding of both work and general values that individuals uphold. In addition, they assess the importance of each value in people's lives and how the individual strives toward fulfillment through work and other life roles, such as parenting. Most scales have been normalized and can therefore be used cross-culturally for vocational, marketing, and counseling purposes, yielding unbiased results. Psychologists, political scientists, economists, and others interested in defining values, use values scales to determine what people value, and to evaluate the ultimate function or purpose of values.
For the last several decades research in cross-cultural psychology has focused on the cultural patterning and positioning of values. Unfortunately, values have low predictive power for actual behavior. Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong decided to develop a questionnaire to measure beliefs, i.e., what is believed to be true about the world, to add to the power of values, i.e., what the person believes is valuable, in predicting behavior.
In cultural studies, media culture refers to the current Western capitalist society that emerged and developed from the 20th century, under the influence of mass media. The term alludes to the overall impact and intellectual guidance exerted by the media, not only on public opinion but also on tastes and values.
Lynn R Kahle is an American consumer psychologist at the Lubin School of Business, Pace University in New York. His title is Sports Marketing Program Director, Visiting Scholar and Professor. He also remains Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business.
Ethnosemiotics is a disciplinary perspective which links semiotics concepts to ethnographic methods.
Marxist cultural analysis is a form of cultural analysis and anti-capitalist cultural critique, which assumes the theory of cultural hegemony and from this specifically targets those aspects of culture which are profit driven and mass-produced under capitalism.