Not just a black-and-white story: Cultural participation of different ethnic youth groups in Belgium

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Journal of Youth Studies Conference, Copenhagen, Ghent University, Department of Sociology, Ghent (2015)


Cultural participation might be one of the most unequally spread behaviours in our society. Ethnicity is recently named as a stratifying factor, though analyses on cultural participation of different ethnic groups are scarce. A large scale survey held in 2013 in 84 secondary schools in the Flemish region of Belgium (n=5086), includes 30,4% of respondents with a non-Belgian background. This dataset creates an excellent opportunity to examine differences in cultural participation between Belgian and ethnic minority youth. Active (e.g. singing or playing drama) and public receptive (e.g. visiting a museum) highbrow cultural participation are analysed. Results indicate lower participation in both forms of participation for youngsters from Turkish or Moroccan origin. Eastern Europeans and others would participate less in receptive activities. Is the lower participation related to socio-economic constraints or ethnic factors? And what is the effect of acculturation and schooling in this cultural participation process? Therefore we use a multilevel logistic regression and built up the model stepwise. Especially a lower educational level seems to be responsible for the lower participation of Eastern Europeans. Mainly schooling factors (ethnic schooling composition and cultural climate) and parental receptive participation could account for differences between others and Belgians. Turkish and Moroccans might be less likely to participate because of lower parental participation and the lower parental educational level. Next to the link of parental factors with the child’s cultural participation, there is an independent effect of the respondent’s own acquired educational level. Moreover, there are possibilities identifiable for the organisation of active cultural activities in schools.