Urban Distinctions: Class, Culture and Sociability in the City of Porto


This essay employs Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice and the methodology of Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA) to extend the mapping of the dynamic relations between class and culture presented in Bourdieu’s Distinction to encompass urban space, drawing on data from a multi-method research project on the city of Porto, Portugal. We present a detailed analysis of the formation and structure of local social space and show its relevance for the study of the (re)production of urban lifestyles. Differences in the volume and composition of the capital of city residents are identified and shown to underpin the relations between social positions, dispositions and position takings in various realms of cultural consumption. Meaningful configurations of ‘lifestyle modalities’ have clear roots in the city’s social space, which in Portugal, as in France, can be interpreted in terms of distinctionpretension and necessity.