Division IV: Inequality and diversity of lifestyles

Finally, Division IV reports on the dissolution of dominant patterns (regarding the ‘matching’ of employment system, income structure and household structure) as well as on the resulting new patterns of social inequality (regarding the lifestyles of households). The everyday life choices in households connect participation in the social division of labour (by means of gainful employment) with participation by way of personal short-distance relationships (domestic work and family maintenance). The old German social model worked on the assumption that the individual income of one (male) person could guarantee the material participation of a family. However, the present changes do alter this ‘matching’ (the system of employment and income on the one hand, household and family structures on the other) on both sides (the economy and lifestyles): Households of couples differentiate themselves into intended and realised models of earning. Because of the increasing gulf in incomes the old model of the one-earner-household turns into a welfare model for a minority and an income risk for the majority. There exists a growing tension between the two guiding principles of regulation – individualisation (equality in the labour market) and familiarisation (partner alimentation and primarily personal contributions by the individual household). This transformation is investigated in a number of contributions written from different perspectives. First we get an overview concerning the empirical diversity of existing household and family structures as well as the different forms of earnings which coexist during that transformation. What follows are analyses of earned income within the context of the household. After all, the interaction between the regulation of wage-setting in the labour market (accompanied by a declining potency of collective bargaining) and the socio-political regulation of the subsistence level by way of ‘the last social safety net’ ("Grundsicherung") have long since taken centre stage of income policy. Then a closer look is taken at how the boundaries between private domestic work and gainful employment are shifting and which effect the increase in services (close to the household) has on the whole system of earnings. Time structures reveal which patterns in the everyday conduct of life enable people to cope with the conflicts between the demands of that system and the private sphere. Patterns of ethnic differentiation also contribute to the differentiation of lifestyles.