To what extent is the lifestyle of Poles - of which musical tastes are a basic indicator - a factor in stratification, i.e., the formation of a social hierarchy in Poland? This was checked by sociologists from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences as part of the research project "Musical Distinctions. Musical taste and social stratification and the process of shaping lifestyles of Poles".

 

"Our analyses concerned, among other things, homology, i.e., the overlap between class position - where a person is placed in the social hierarchy, mainly on the labour market - and various lifestyles, tastes for music," Professor Henryk Domański, a sociologist from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the head of the research project, emphasized in an interview with the Science in Poland service. Dr. Dariusz Przybysz, Dr. Katarzyna Wyrzykowska and Dr. Kinga Zawadzka are also members of the team.

 

Musical tastes are most often analyzed in debates about cultural stratification. Researchers point out that music most clearly reflects the analogies between cultural behaviours and preferences and class hierarchy: "nothing classifies as clearly as musical tastes," is the statement of Pierre Bourdieu, a French sociologist quoted on the project's website.

 

The results of the new study confirm a pattern found in other countries: that liking a particular style of music coincides strongly with class divisions. As Prof. Domanski pointed out, "higher class standing increases the preference for classical music."

 

In a 2019 CAPI survey of a nationwide sample (for this project), liking classical music was indicated by 26.6 per cent of Poles surveyed. However, it turns out that this type of music is most liked by senior managers and professionals (50.9 per cent of respondents), followed by business owners (41.5 per cent), and even less liked by lower-level white-collar workers (31.6 per cent). Classical music is liked least often by unskilled workers (16.8 per cent) and farmers (12.7 per cent).

 

On the other hand, when it comes to liking popular music, disco-polo is most liked by people with the lowest social status, mainly farmers and labourers.

 

Liking this genre was most often indicated by farmers (over 68 per cent of respondents). However, as expected, disco-polo is liked the least by professionals and senior managers - in this "social class" it was declared by 27 per cent of respondents. At the same time, disco polo was liked by as many as 55.9 per cent of business owners (excluding agriculture).

 

Interestingly, when it comes to liking multiple genres of music, business owners rank very close to the intelligentsia (i.e., senior managers and professionals) - not only in terms of liking classical music, but also rock. This is perhaps due, the band members argue, to the fact that "business owners in Poland are largely recruited from the intelligentsia category, i.e., they flow from these professional positions, so they are 'socialized' to classical music in their family environment."