Center for cultural sociology

The center for cultural sociology (CCS) strives to make living conditions of children and youth visible and understandable by relating individual and shared emotions to societal processes – something that is put into practice in a number of concrete research projects.

The cultural sociology foundation on which the center for cultural sociology rests is an understanding of culture defined by the American anthropologist Clifford Geertz. Cultural analysis, according to Geertz, "boils down to one question: How to frame an analysis of meaning". That involves an analysis of how the meaning structures that people use to understand and handle their own experiences and actions can be understood.

Our research

CCS works with cultural theory and social theory as a basis for understanding meaning structures. The cultural concept within CCS deals with the meaning structures through which children as well as youth and adults in different roles understand and ascribe meaning to their own actions, conditions of life and ways of understanding themselves as well as others.

We work to shed light on the conditions that are part of the lives of children and youth. This can be achieved by relating the individual and shared emotions and experiences of young people to wider societal processes. That way, living conditions of children and youth can be made understandable to all of us. Two key analytical themes are:

Extended adolescence and youth culture(s)

A theme dealing with children's – "tweens'" or child teenagers' – and teens' and young adults' structural conditions, practical experiences and forms of self-understanding.

Notions of childhood

A theme focusing on how childhood is represented by different actors and institutions, for instance how the line of thought on "being" and "becoming" is manifested in teachers, parents, sports leaders, etc.

Towards a different everyday life – research project

Individuals' creation of meaning in connection to retirement from a social inequality perspective is a research project ranging from 2014 to 2016, funded by the Kamprad Family foundation. Participating researchers are Anna Lund (project manager), Mattias Bengtsson and Marita Flisbäck. Bengtsson and Flisbäck are active at Gothenburg University but also have ties to the center for cultural sociology at Linnaeus University.

Project focus

The formal retirement age signals societal norms on when it is considered suitable to retire from working life. However, these norms do not necessarily correspond to individual needs and values. Some want to and are able to work until they are 67, some even longer than that. Others may have to stop working much earlier than that, due to being worn out or ill. When a person retires from working life varies between the genders, and between people from different socioeconomic positions.

However, regardless of when an individual enters retirement, it is an important dividing line in people's lives. A new everyday life begins and new routines have to be established. This can lead to the establishment of new identities, social affiliations and contexts of meaning – a questioning of the self in larger contexts. Knowledge about how individuals handle retirement from working life based on identity and resources connected to class, gender and ethnicity is essential since the results can lead to improved conditions, better health and increased well-being among elderly people.

Therefore, this project investigates the transitional phase of retirement, through questions about what it means for elderly people – on an existential level as well as on an identity level – to not be part of working life, which is then analysed from a social inequality perspective. The aim is to develop an understanding of how individuals create meaning at retirement and to explain how this is connected to identities and financial and cultural resources tied to class, gender and ethnicity.