ECCI CHAIR • Dieter Vandebroeck

Professor
Department of Sociology
Free University of Brussels (VUB)
dieter.vandebroeck@vub.be

I am sociologist interested in the everyday production and reproduction of class inequality. My first book, Distinctions in the Flesh (Routledge, 2017), aimed to show how this inequality affects us in one of the most intimate aspects of our self-identity, namely the relationship to our body. It charts new forms of social distinction in the domains of health, diet and fitness and argues that the body and its appearance play an increasing role in the legitimization of class inequality. From this work on embodiment I acquired a lasting interest in processes of ‘class-ification’, namely the way in which we use physical markers to situate others (and ourselves) in a hierarchical social space. This interest informs my current research into the development of the cognitive schemata that enable young children to gradually perceive and judge the social world as inherently ‘unequal’ (see “Socializing inequality”. Apart from my substantive research, I am currently finishing a book (“Talking Theory”) composed of a series of interviews with contemporary social theorists – featuring, among others, the work of Randall Collins, Andrew Abbott, Michèle Lamont and John Levi Martin – and supervise doctoral researchers working on such diverse topics as bodies, butlers and burnouts.

I founded ECCI out of a growing awareness of the dispersed nature of much contemporary scholarship on class, culture and inequality in Europe. ECCI aims to bring together innovative researchers from different national backgrounds in the hope of producing a more coherent and unified research agenda for the sociology of inequality within the EU.

Select publications

Vandebroeck, D. (2020) ‘Making Sense of the Social, Making the ‘Social Sense’: The Development of Children’s Perception and Judgment of Social Class’. Sociology (online first).

Vandebroeck, D. (2016) Distinctions in the Flesh. Social Class and the Embodiment of Inequality. Routledge.

Vandebroeck, D. (2013) ‘Distinctions Charnelles. Obésité, Corps de Classe et Violence Symbolique.’,  Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, 208(3).


ECCI CO-CHAIR – Giselinde Kuipers

Professor
Department of Sociology
KU Leuven
giselinde.kuipers@kuleuven.be

I am a sociologist at the KU Leuven (Belgium), who studies the social shaping of cultural standards in today’s increasingly globalized fields and societies. For instance: what do people find beautiful or ugly, humorous or not funny, morally right or unacceptable? Such standards are socially learnt: they vary strongly from one society or social group to another. At the same time, such standards are deeply felt. Therefore, they have real social consequences, for social inequality, but also for identity, cohesion or conflict. This research agenda has led me to study a range of topics, including humor, beauty, television, memes, translation, fashion, journalism, bike cultures and literature. I am the author of numerous articles in English and Dutch, and of Good Humor, Bad Taste: A Sociology of the Joke (2006, 2nd revised edition 2015). I am currently preparing a book on beauty, provisionally called Beauty as Taste and Duty, which analyzes the social shaping of beauty standards and their relation with social inequalities. The shaping of cultural standards increasingly takes place on a transnational scale. Hence, my research often concerns globalization and transnational culture, and the shaping of new forms of exclusion and inclusion on the transnational level.

Over the past decades, inequalities have not only grown, but also become more multidimensional. Thus, they are increasingly difficult to capture in the standard categories of education, employment or professional position. Social divides are marked and reinforced through cultural practices and processes, which often play out in slightly different ways across national settings. I see ECCI as a unique opportunity to bring together research and researchers from Europe and beyond to study such complex relations between culture and inequalities.

Select publications

Kuipers, Giselinde. 2015 Good humor, bad taste: A sociology of the joke. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter.

Kuipers, G. (2015). How national institutions mediate the global: American Sociological Review, 80(5), 985-1013.

Kuipers, Giselinde. 2013. “The rise and decline of national habitus: Dutch cycling culture and the shaping of national similarity.” European journal of social theory 16.1 17-35.


Laurie Hanquinet

Professor
Faculté de Philosophie et Sciences sociales
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Laurie.Hanquinet@ulb.be

I am sociologist working at the Université libre de Bruxelles. I am interested in cultural consumption, theories of cultural capital, socio-cultural inequalities, and social stratification. I have published works on the visitors of modern and contemporary art museums (‘Du musée aux pratiques culturelles‘, Ed. de l’Université de Bruxelles) and on different dimensions of cultural participation and social engagement (in collaboration, among others, with the Observatory of Cultural Policies of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. I am the co-editor of the ‘Routledge International Handbook of the Sociology of Art and Culture’ (with Mike Savage). I have also worked on themes such as ethnicity, intergroups relations and European identity (e.g. the EUCROSS project ‘The Europeanisation of Everyday Life’).

Select publications

Hanquinet, L. (2018). ‘But is it good?’ Aesthetic values, tastes and cultural hierarchies. Journal of Cultural Analysis and Social Change, 3(2), 09. https://doi.org/10.20897/jcasc/3990

Hanquinet, L. (2017) Exploring Dissonance and Omnivorousness: another look into the rise of eclecticism, Cultural Sociology, 11(2): 165–187.

Hanquinet L. (2013). ‘Visitors to modern and contemporary art museums. Towards a new sociology of ‘cultural profiles’, The Sociological Review, 61(4): 790–813.


Maaike Jappens

Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Sociology
Free University of Brussels (VUB)
maaike.jappens@vub.be

I am a family sociologist, interested in the impact of social inequality on family formation and dissolution. My doctoral research focused on the often overlooked relationship between grandparents and grandchildren and particularly the role of grandparenthood in divorced families. I am currently the senior researcher coordinating the project “Socializing inequality” (with Dieter Vandebroeck). In this project we explore when in their socio-cognitive development young children first become aware of inequalities in social status and how this awareness shapes the way they come to perceive and judge the social world.

Select publications

Jappens, M. & Van Bavel, J. (2020). Grandparent–grandchild Relationships and Grandchildren’s Well-being after Parental Divorce in Flanders, Belgium. Does Lineage Matter? Journal of Family Research

Jappens, M. & Van Bavel, J. (2016). Parental Divorce, Residence Arrangements and Contact between Grandchildren and Grandparents. Journal of Marriage and Family, 78(2), 451-467.

Jappens, M. & Van Bavel, J. (2019). Relationships with Grandparents and Grandchildren’s Well-being after Parental Divorce. European Sociological Review, 35(6), 757–771.


Bryan Boyle

Doctoral Researcher
Department of Sociology
Free University of Brussels (VUB)
bryan.boyle@vub.be

I am a doctoral researcher at the department of sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and TOR research group. I am obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Politics from Nottingham Trent University in 2014 and my Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Amsterdam in 2017. Drawing from work sociology and cultural sociology, my research focuses on the experiences of people working in interactive service work in high-end sectors. I am also a teaching assistant within the inter-disciplinary Bachelor’s in Social Science program organized by VUB and Ghent universities.


Mattias Van Hulle

Doctoral Researcher
Department of Sociology
Free University of Brussels (VUB)
Mattias.Van.Hulle@vub.be

I am a doctoral researcher at the department of sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and TOR research group. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Journalism in 2012 from the Thomas More Academy in Mechelen and my Master’s degree in Sociology from the Vrije Universeit Brussel in 2015. Drawing an cultural sociology, and social constructivist approaches to the philosophy of science, my research focuses on the genesis and evolution of the “burnout”-phenomenon. I am also a teaching assistant within the inter-disciplinary Bachelor in Social Sciences program organized by VUB and Ghent university.


Luuc Brans

Doctoral Researcher
Department of Sociology
KU Leuven
Luuc.brans@kuleuven.be

I am a doctoral researcher in cultural sociology at the KU Leuven, Centre for Sociological Research. Previously, I worked at the University of Amsterdam as a tutor in Political Science.  My doctoral research focuses on the role of political ideology in the transnational production and spread of food and fashion cultures, focusing on cultural intermediaries. My research interests are wide but all revolve around the intersection of culture, power and politics. In addition, I have a keen interest in science communication, especially through podcasts (such as ECCI’s podcast!). I graduated with an MA in Nationalism Studies with distinction from the University of Edinburgh, writing a dissertation on East German identity in post-reunification Germany. Before that, I obtained a BSc with distinction in Political Science (International Relations) from the University of Amsterdam.

Publications

Brans, L., Theresa Kuhn and Tom van der Meer (2017) “Nations, Nationalism and the Nation State.” In: Van Praag, P. (eds.) Political Science and Changing Politics., Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press”