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Bottero and Kien Prandy
Sociological Research Online 3 (1) 6
Keywords: Correspondence Analysis; Marriage; Measurement; Social Mobility; Social Order; Social Reproduction; Social Space
Abstract: This article describes the construction of a measure of the social order in the nineteenth century, which will subsequently be used as a basis for studying processes of social reproduction (or social mobility). The technique of correspondence analysis is used to map the ordering of groups of occupations in two time periods 1777-1866 and 1867-1913. The data are derived from the occupations at marriage of the groom, his father and his father-in-law (the occupations of brides, unfortunately, being very much under-recorded). Marriage, it is argued, is a socially significant act linking, on average, families that occupy similar positions in the social order and analyses of the patterns of social interaction involved provide a means of determining the nature of the social space within which similarity is defined. The three occupations provide three pair-wise comparisons and each comparison gives a mapping of the row occupations and the column occupations six in all. Since any one of these should provide a measure of the social order, assuming there to be any consistency in such a concept, we would expect that, at both time periods, the result of the analyses would be six closely-related estimates of the same underlying dimension. This is what is found; the inter-correlations are very high. Furthermore, there is a very strong relationship between the measures of the social order constructed for the two time periods. The analyses are presented within a framework that emphasises the value of the procedures used for understanding the nature of measurement in social science.
Sociological Research Online 4 (4) singh
Keywords: APEC; Culture; Electronic Commerce; Market; Marriage; Money; OECD; Policy; Sociology Of Money
Abstract: There is seemingly little connection between conversations about electronic commerce at an OECD workshop in San Francisco and talk of ritual cash payments at a Maori funeral in New Zealand. Yet money is at the centre of both conversations. There is a hesitant acceptance in regional policy dialogues that the cultural meanings of money have to be taken into account before any consensus is possible on issues of electronic commerce. Recent sociological work on money is also questioning the duality of the market and society. In the last five years, there has also been interesting sociological work showing how social relations and cultural values shape different kinds of market, domestic and personal monies. It is also revealing the cultural distinctiveness of the media and forms of transfers. Sociologists of money, particularly in the United Kingdom, have addressed the management and control of money in the household and how these relate to social welfare payments. Sociologists are also addressing the use and non-use of electronic money in the home, relating it to social inclusion and exclusion. Policy makers and sociologists of money have areas of common interest. However, sociologists are mostly absent from this policy debate on electronic commerce. The challenge for sociologists is to first connect the new information and communication technologies to changes in the medium, form, meaning and relationships of money. We can then begin to forge a language that can address issues of electronic commerce and culture.
Sociological Research Online 5 (4) bihagen
Keywords: Class Culture; Marriage; Mobility; Rational Action; Social Homogeneity
Abstract: Previous findings of large absolute mobility to service I class (the "upper" part of the "salariat") can be seen as a sign of the implausibility of class cultures. However, it is argued that these findings might be due to inappropriate divisions of class. Using Swedish data, and following a Weberian definition of class, a social class schema is derived empirically from marriage tendencies. Social homogeneity (immobility and in-marriage) is found to be relatively large in the working classes and in certain subgroups of service I. One interpretation of this, and the fact that there are few inter-marriages and a low level of mobility between the working class and these subgroups of service I, is that class structure might be bipolar such that the extremes are upholders of certain norms and cultures. The possible upper classes of service I need to be better operationalised in future research. Thus, since class cultures are plausible, and since individualistic rational action theory appears to be insufficient for explaining all possible class differentials (as earlier research has indicated), future class analysis might better rely on both rational action theory and class cultural explanations.
Wendy Bottero and Kenneth Prandy
Sociological Research Online 6 (2) bottero_prandy
Keywords: Assortative Marriage; Differential Association; Hierarchy; Homogamy; Social Distance; Stratification.
Abstract: This paper examines the hierarchy amongst female occupations in Britain in the nineteenth century, using information on marriage and family patterns to generate a measure of distance within a social space. This social interaction approach to stratification uses the patterning of close relationships, in this case between women and men, to build up a picture of the social ordering within which such relationships take place. The method presented here starts, not with the assumption of a set of broad social groups that may interact to a greater or lesser extent, but from the opposite direction, from the patterns of social interaction among detailed occupational groupings. Instead of reading off social hierarchy from the labour market, we use relations of social closeness and similarity (here marriage) to build a picture of the occupational ordering from patterns of relative social distance. Such an approach is possible because of the way in which social relations are constrained by (and constrain) hierarchy.
Sociological Research Online 11 (3) holmes
Keywords: Distance Relationships, Commuter Marriage, Intimacy, Lifecourse, LAT
Abstract: Distance relationships may be increasingly undertaken by dual-career couples at some point in their life course. Although this can make it difficult to quantitatively measure, the extent of distance relating, qualitative analysis of distance relationships promise to give considerable insight into the changing nature of intimate lives across the life course. This paper indicates the kind of insights offered via analysis of exploratory research into distance relating in Britain. What begins to emerge is a picture of distance relating as offering certain possibilities in relation to the gendered organisation of emotional labour and of care in conjunction with the pursuit, especially of professional, careers. These possibilities might be more realistic, however, at certain points in the life course. Nevertheless, this new form of periods of separation between partners, tell us a considerable amount about how people approach the challenges of maintaining a satisfying and egalitarian intimate life, involving caring relationships with others, within contemporary social conditions.
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) reynolds
Keywords: Same-Sex Partnership, Marriage, Media, Irish Times, GLBT, Ireland
Abstract: This article explores some aspects of the emergence of local debates same-sex marriage in the Republic of Ireland. Taking up this issue through an analysis of mediatized reactions to the introduction of German gay marriage in 2001, I point to how we can see evidence of a shift away from Irish traditional relationships between the social, politics and religion, which served to police and silence much public discussion about sexuality. While prudery about sexual issues still remains, my data points to the emergence of prudent-yet-tolerant sharing of stories about the social exclusion of same-sex couples. In spite of recent setbacks for a legal case seeking the recognition of a foreign same-sex marriage in Ireland, we may point to a growing political and legal consciousness for the extension of rights for lesbian and gay couples but it is still unclear as to what model will be adopted in the Irish context. While in the Irish case, there is only intermittent media interest in 'gay marriage', we can locate this struggle within the framework of the sociology of intimate citizenship. Not only do claims for same-sex marriage illustrate pointed inequalities experienced by lesbians and gay men, the stories also problematize the naturalness of heterosexuality. The Irish case may, of course, be explored within the context of a global challenge to gender identity where the imagined same-sex couple enjoy some element of certainty in an uncertain world.
Beccy Shipman and Carol Smart
Sociological Research Online 12 (1) shipman
Keywords: Civil Partnership, Same-Sex Relationships, Marriage, Law Reform
Abstract: In this paper we map briefly some of the arguments around the meaning and significance of the introduction of Civil Partnership in England and Wales, and in this way show how contested these meanings are with some groups profoundly against this legal reform and others supporting it, but for a mixture of reasons. We then turn to our empirical data based on interviews with same-sex couples to explore the extent to which these arguments and issues are part of the everyday decision making processes of same sex couples who have decided to register their partnerships or to undergo a commitment ceremony of some kind. In doing this, we were interested in how people make their own meanings (if they do) and whether they actually frame important decisions in their lives around the ideas that are part of the current political debates. We are interested in whether the public debates (such as legal equality) are featured in the accounts of our interviewees but we are also concerned to reveal whether other issues are important to same sex couples when they decide to have their relationship publicly recognised in some way. We found for example that while equality and legal rights were important, love, commitment and respect from wider family featured just as strongly in people's accounts.
Jenny Hockey, Angela Meah and Victoria Robinson
Sociological Research Online 14 (5) 14
Keywords: Sexual Knowledge, Sexual Practice, Taboo, Stigma, Gender, History, Marriage, Pregnancy, Death, Second World War
Abstract: This paper explores contradictions within qualitative data gathered among women and men whose young adulthood coincided with the Second World War. These data were generated as part of an ESRC-funded project which investigated the making of heterosexual relationships cross-generationally. They suggest the co-existence of both a prevalent taboo or stigma associated with sexual knowledge and practice before and outside marriage, and personal experiences of precisely these engagements with embodied sexuality. Drawing on Charles Tilly's work, the paper argues that, when interrogated, these contradictions can reveal the strategies through which a creaky heterosexual consensus was shored up during a period of military upheaval that profoundly destabilised existing beliefs and practices. Tilly differentiated between academic historians who sought to reconcile 'very large structural changes' and 'the changing experiences of ordinary people' through either collectivist or individualist approaches to 'history from below'. Neither of these methods could yield an adequate account, in his view. However, the 'lay historians' who participated in our study combined collectivist and individualist perspectives, thereby providing a unique insight into an era when collective values and individual practices were often in tension with one another. As our participants spoke about their young adulthood, their data revealed the potency of local gossip which mobilised wider discourses of alterity or 'othering', so shoring up a consensual view of sexual mores, despite the prevalence of attitudes and practices that contravened it. What we argue, therefore, is that rather than a half-remembered, contradictory account of heterosexuality during the 1920s and 1930s, the data we gathered in the early 21st century exemplifies precisely the discursive strategies of that period. In other words, these data shed light on the ways in which not only heterosexual norms, but also an entire, endangered system of distinctions based on class, gender and national identity was upheld.
Sociological Research Online 22 (1) 3
Keywords: Bricolage, Tradition, Marriage, Relationships, De-Traditionalisation, Reflexivity
Abstract: While the individualisation trend has given way to a relational, reflexive turn in the sociology of relationships, there continues to be a writing out of convention and tradition in understanding relationship processes (excepting Gilding 2010). This paper aims to write tradition back into discussions around relationships by drawing on the accounts of young women and the central role that tradition plays in their relationship narratives. The analysis focuses on: participants’ accounts of marital security reflecting the desire for permanence in an impermanent world; accounts of romance and fairy tales in contrast to pragmatic concerns; and participants’ use of bricolage in combining the desire for ‘invented’ traditions with an emphasis on personal choice and agency. This paper highlights the ambivalent nature of the young women’s discourse around relationships, agency and tradition: ultimately, themes of individualisation are revealed in their restatement of tradition. This emerges in three distinct ways: the emphasis on marital security appears as a response to ‘risky’ relationships; participants aspire to the ‘traditional family’ in response to growing fluidity in family relationships; and romance is appealed to in order to counteract their often very pragmatic approach to the life course. Thus, while there are changes in the ways couples can and do live in their relationships, there remains continuity in the ways that tradition is used by participants to articulate relationship aspirations. Tradition becomes reaffirmed in a context of individualism and de-traditionalisation which reflects a pragmatic response to changing social norms and values.