Understanding the Meaning of the Lifestyle in Modern Society
LIFESTYLE is an acronym for lifestyle, family and leisure. Lifestyle is basically a set of patterns of behaviour, interaction, activity, consumption, work and interests which describe the way in which a human spends their time. These patterns can be very different from one person to another and can reflect a particular culture or society. The concept of lifestyle is not limited to the individual, but can also be used to describe communities, peoples and nations.
In Theories of Everyday Life: An Analysis of the Culture Industry (1947), Adorno defined LIFESTYLE as “a set of habits or conventions directed at increasing the general level of pleasure”. He went on to state that LIFESTYLE was formed through “a long series of preparatory stages, each characterized by a distinctive ‘linguistic turn’ “. Adorno further explained that through LIFESTYLE, people were able to experience the freedom of choosing how they lived, the type of work they pursued, their own identity and place in the social structure and how they related to the world. This was done through a systematic development of “the mass mind” or mass culture as he saw it.
Max Weber believed that LIFESTYLE was formed through a process of intellectualisation within modern society. This came about as a result of the development of science and technology. Weber continued this by stating that the growth of these two forces had resulted in the disorganisation of the lifestyle of the masses. Thus, instead of living a “spurious and luxurious life”, the masses were now living a more “spacious and decent” life, which, according to Weber, LIFESTYLE was a necessary part of. Weber went onto say that LIFESTYLE needed to be defined as a specific kind of human life-style. This style was then associated with a specific category of people.
In order to define LIFESTYLE, porno combined his ideas of culture industry and psychology into his framework. According to him, there are a dialect between the Lifestyle and the mass culture and between the individual and the society. Adorno further said that in order for there to be continuity in these life-styles, there needs to be a central force that can keep them together, called the Lifestyle Elements.
In his book, Stili Di Vito, pp. 5-6, the Italian philosopher defined the Lifestyle as a means of living an “expression of freedom and power”. His ideas of freedom and power are derived from his belief in the innate abilities of the individual to shape his own destiny. According to the Italian philosopher, the Lifestyle is not a fixed set of rules which can be applied at all times. It exists instead as a living being, which changes and adapts according to circumstances. For instance, in today’s highly competitive world, where an individual’s lifestyle is bound to be in constant flux as a result of changing social mores, the Lifestyle may be defined as the ability to adapt, which is epitomized by the concept of flexibility. As a result of flexible Lifestyle, the individual can be able to adjust his/her behavior in response to changing circumstances.
The concept of the LIFESTYLE also ties in with the concept of estrangement between a modern individual and a traditional, disciplined, and ordered society. As a result, many times, when studying LIFESTYLE, one is also forced to question the very foundation on which contemporary society stands today. For instance, while eating traditional food is considered sacrosanct, eating fast food on the other hand, particularly outside, is seen as a sign of decadence. In addition to this, Stiles Di Vito also points out that while the Lifestyle may have evolved over time, the core values have not been affected.