Wendy Bottero and
Kenneth Prandy (2001) 'Women's Occupations and the Social
Order in Nineteenth Century Britain'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 6, no. 2, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/6/2/bottero.html>
To cite articles published in Sociological Research Online, please reference the above information and include paragraph numbers if necessary
Received: 2001/7/05 Accepted: 2001/8/29 Published: 2001/8/31
** incl.. Professionals
** incl. Small farmers
** incl. Farmers' daughters
** incl. Music Teachers
** incl. Waitresses
** incl. Hat workers
** incl. Innkeepers
** incl. Dealers
** incl. Children's nurses
** incl. Housemaids
Factory hands (not textile)
** incl. Parlourmaids)
Factory hands (not textile)
Female Occupational Groups
Husband's Occupational Group
(Occupations around median score for husbands in that group)
Standard Deviation of male scores
Manufacturer, Professionals, Dealers, Employers, Non-food Shopkeepers
Farmers (83%), Managers, Builders, Food Shopkeepers, Innkeepers
Cash Clerks, Cabinet makers, Printers, Farmers, Non- Food Shopkeepers (31%)
Farmers (80%), Builder [ & farmer], Innkeeper [ & farmer]
Farmers, Builders, Butchers, Tailors, Cabinet Makers
Clerks, Farmers (50%), Builders, Hat/glove Maker, Curriers/tanners
Farmers & Small Farmers (37%), Fishermen (47%)
Farmers, Butchers, Cabinet Makers, Clockmakers, Transport Owners
Farmers, Innkeepers (25%), Butchers, Ship's Officers
Farmers (nmi & medium), Painters, Mechanics, Plumbers, Brewers, Joiners
Non-food shopkeepers, Bookbinders (23%), Cordwainers (20%), Mechanics, Joiners, Carpenters, Paper makers
Builders, Food Shopkeepers, Innkeepers, Shoemaker, Cabinet Makers, Tailors
Shopkeeper, Millers, Shoemakers, Bakers, Warehousemen, Joiners
Shopkeeper (6%), Tailors (9%), Plumbers, Cordwainers, Mechanics, Butchers
Hat maker (14%), Painters, Mechanics, Spinners, Tailors, Millers
Cordwainers, Farmers (22%), Mechanics, Painters, Smiths
Bakers (21%), Butchers (11%), Cordwainers, Tailors, Cabinet makers, Shoemakers
Butler, Carpenters, Coachmen (12%), Groom, Cordwainers
Joiners, Textile finishers, Carpenters, Shipwrights, Spinners, Shoemakers
Carpenters, Spinners, Painters, Shoemakers, Gardeners, Transport Owners
Carpenters, Tailors (22%), Spinners, Shoemakers, Seamen
Spinners (11%), Shoemakers, Misc Non-skilled, Masons, Seamen
Seamen, Smiths, Coachmen, Shoemakers, Sawyers, Carpenters
Joiners, Shoemakers (55%), Shipwrights, Sawyers, Seamen
Textile finishers (18%), Spinners, Weavers, Railway Porters, Masons, Smiths
Gardener, Shoemaker, Carpenters, Smiths, Joiners
Carpenters, Coachmen, Wheelwrights, Smiths, Shoemakers, Masons, Seamen
Smiths, Weavers, Sawyers, Personal Service, Seamen, Gardeners, Carpenters
Weavers (12%), Spinners (14%), Smiths, Seamen, Gardeners, Railway Porters
Miners, Colliers (13%), Combers (10%), Weavers (10%), Masons
Gardeners, Misc. Non-skilled, Weavers, Smiths, Fishermen, Servants
Weavers (26%),Spinners, Gardeners, Misc. Non- skilled, Smiths, Fishermen
Carpenters, Gardeners, Misc. Non-skilled, Weavers, Smiths
Knitters (47%), Masons, Fishermen, Coal miners
Servant, Gardeners, Misc. Non-skilled, Weavers, Smiths, Farm workers
Weavers, Smiths, Carters, Coal Miners, Cutlers
Combers (16%), Coal Miners, Colliers, Misc. Non- skilled, Weavers (13%)
Gardeners, Misc. Non-skilled, Masons, Shoemakers, Paper/chemicals (12%)
Farm workers (33%), Coal miners, Miners, Brickmakers
Farm workers (33%), Coal miners, Animal Workers, Fishermen (13%)
Carters, Colliers, Coal miners (16%), Watermen, Farm workers
Farm Worker (31%), Labourers (47%), Bricklayers
Farm Worker (27%), Labourers (36%), Metal Workers,, Watermen
Farm worker (38%), Labourers (31%), Animal Workers
Labourers (65%), Farm Worker, Carters
'The body-makers are the first on the list; then follow the carriage makers; then the trimmers; then the smiths; then the spring-makers; then the wheelwrights, painters, platers, brace-makers; and so on. . . . . A body-maker is considered a "good catch" as a husband for the daughter of an ordinary mechanic; and the carriage maker excited much anxious feeling on the part of mothers, who consider marrying to a carriage maker as important a matter as vulgar-minded mothers in the classes just above them consider "marrying to a carriage"'. (William Bridges Adams, English Pleasure Carriages (1837); cited in May, 1987: 233.)
2A later amendment refers instead to the materially 'dominant' occupation within a household (Erikson, 1984). This can be held by either gender although, in practice, it is generally held by a man. However, the 'dominance' of an occupation is a question of degree, which raises the question of how 'subsidiary' occupations within a household affect the material conditions and social outlook of all household members.
3In arguing that close social relationships, such as marriage, occur in situations of social similarity and involve shared levels of lifestyle we are not forgetting that marriage may involve considerable disparities in access to resources and in status within the household. The method used here can say nothing directly about gender inequality within households – which requires a much finer level of analysis.
4 The same applies to the social significance of jobs within an individual career. Generally, movement from less skilled and well paid jobs to better paid and skilled jobs is regarded as upward career mobility. However, if movement between two jobs (say 'clerk' and 'manager') is routine and typical (such that 'clerks' can reasonably expect to become 'managers' in due course) then it is not clear in what sense real social 'mobility' is taking place (Stewart et al., 1980). If the jobs are linked by the routine and predictable career transitions of the same individuals, then such jobs are socially commensurate despite the gap in rewards. The labour market deficit does not translate into a straightforward social divide. For example, if a 'manager' father has a son who becomes a 'clerk' this might look like downward mobility. However, if that son then rises up to the position of 'manager' (and this is a typical transition) then the mobility (both downward and upward) is more apparent than real.
5 Our sample consists of 80,000 individuals whose occupations were discovered by family historians researching their family tree, raising issues of representativeness. Assessment of the sample is made difficult by the nature of nineteenth-century official statistics on occupation since the early census (until 1911) categorised occupations by industry. Such schemes did not make distinctions of skill and authority which are central to modern classifications (Szreter, 1996; Higgs, 1991). We have coded the occupations of our sample to the census classification for each decade, permitting a broad comparison by industry, and the figures, for both men and women, correspond reasonably well with the distributions given in the censuses.
6As Diagram 1 indicates, there would be three 'versions' of the male occupational ordering for each of the three men and three 'versions' of the female occupational ordering (given by the pairings with their husband, father and father-in-law at the time of marriage). The nine 'versions' of the male occupational ordering and the three 'versions' of the female one can be regarded as estimates of the same underlying (related) social structures, and can be combined to build up a picture of those structures.
7The analysis on occupational pairings has been done for two time periods: 1776-1866 and 1867-1913. There were far fewer female to male occupational pairs than male to male pairs.
Father of groom to Father of bride pairs: 5208 pairs (1776-1866), 5046 pairs (1867-1913)
Father (of groom) to Groom pairs: 7760 pairs (1776-1866), 6787 pairs (1867-1913)
Father-in-law to Groom pairs: 6896 pairs (1776-1866), 6668 pairs (1867-1913)
Father-in-law to Bride pairs: 1416 pairs (1776-1866), 2113 pairs (1867-1913)
Father (of bride) to Bride pairs: 1548 pairs (1776-1866), 2077 pairs (1867-1913)
Groom to Bride pairs: 2944 pairs (1776-1866), 3182 pairs (1867-1913).
8 In a discussion of the methodology of researching assortative marriage, Kalmijn argues that only the occupations of newlyweds should be considered, to avoid capturing the effects that longer-term spouses have on each others careers, and to avoid the biases that may arise from attrition due to separation and divorce (homogamy rates are inversely related to the risk of divorce) (Kalmijn, 1994). Notwithstanding the different rates of separation and divorce between modern and historical samples, we believe that taking the occupations of longer-term spouses is fully justified, since what is being established in our procedure is the social equivalence of aggregate pairs of occupations. If certain pairings of occupations held by spouses are less likely to give rise to divorce or separation than others, then this is a feature of the long-term social equivalence of occupations and, as such, is a feature to be incorporated into analysis rather than a factor to be controlled. Similarly, if, over the long term course of a marriage, spouses affect the social location of their partner (so that occupations of discrepant status or position are matched), this will only show up in the aggregate pattern if this is a large scale social effect, in which occupations have, by virtue of consistent marriage links, become socially commensurate. To the extent that long-term marriages indicate aggregate or routine social links between occupations, they are vital features of the map of social equivalence that is being measured.
9The analyses for the first period were based on 9,340 occupational matches, using 45 female and 83 male occupational groups; for the second period based on 10,818 occupational matches, using 50 female and 91 male occupational groups. Occupational Pairings for Construction of Female Scores
Husband to Wife pairs: 5574 pairs (1776-1866), 5662 pairs (1867-1913)
Father to Daughter pairs: 1848 pairs (1776-1866), 2570 pairs (1867-1913)
Father-in-law to Daughter-in-law pairs: 1918 pairs (1776-1866), 2586 pairs (1867-1913)
5574 pairs (1776-1866), 5662 pairs (1867-1913)
10Product moment correlations of 0.93 and above for the first period analysed, 0.89 and above for the second period; rank order correlations of 0.92 and above for the first period, 0.90 for the second period.
11Product moment and Spearman rank order correlation coefficients of 0.92 and 0.91 respectively.
12The three sets of scores given by the women's relations to their husbands, fathers and fathers-in-law were highly correlated, so any examination of the commensurability of the husbands' occupations should also apply to male occupational order generally.
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