SOCIALIZING INEQUALITY.
THE CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT OF STATUS STEREOTYPES IN FOUR EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

Few subjects have proven more stimulating to the sociological imagination than that of “social inequality”. Few concepts are more central to sociology’s sense of disciplinary identity than that of “socialization”. This makes it all the more curious that sociologists have thus fair paid remarkably little attention to the process whereby social actors gradually learn to perceive and judge the world around them as inherently “unequal”. The research project “Socializing inequality” aims to uncover when and how young children develop the cognitive ability to perceive and judge inequality in social status. Using a specifically designed visual methodology, this project aims to uncover the classificatory logic that children deploy to situate themselves and others in social space. It does so through a comparative study of children from 4 to 12 in Belgium, Norway, Serbia and the UK.

ECCI partners: BELGIUM – UNITED KINGDOM – NORWAY – SERBIA


BUTLERS: SOCIOLOGY OF A CRAFT

The occupation of “butler” – the congenial household manager that the popular imagination generally associates with figures like Jeeves or scenes from Downton Abbey – is currently undergoing a revival. Over the past thirty years the demand for butlers’ specialized services has gradually increased and butler schools have popped up all across Europe. Thus far scholars of culture and work have paid little attention to this revival and the key role that modern butlers play in the management of high-end lifestyles. Situated at the intersection of cultural sociology and the sociology of work, this research project aims to do just that. It focuses on the specialized work that goes into the everyday production of distinguished lifestyles and the highly skilled staff that sustains it. It does so through an original combination of ethnographic research in butler schools (across sites in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands), extensive interviews with professional butlers and a historical content analysis of the professional literature.

ECCI partners: BELGIUM – UNITED KINGDOM – THE NETHERLANDS