Lifestyle (social sciences)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"The object of my book was purely to give, not a history of Sorcery, but a simple and impressive formula of the Sorceress's way of life, which my learned predecessors darken by the very elaboration of their scientific methods and the excess of detail. My strong point is to start, not from the devil, from an empty conception, but from a living reality, the Sorceress, a warm, breathing reality, rich in results and possibilities." --La Sorcière (1862) by Jules Michelet
Lifestyle is the interests, opinions, behaviours, and behavioural orientations of an individual, group, or culture. The term was introduced by Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler for example, in his 1929 book "The Case of Miss R.", chapter IV, The Style of Life".
Lifestyle, literally style of living, 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.
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.
- Alternative lifestyle
- Lifestyle brand
- Lifestyle disease
- Lifestyle guru
- Life stance
- Lifestyle management
- Personal life
- Sustainable living
- Simple living
- Style of life