Bottero, Wendy and Prandy, Kenneth
Women's occupations and the social order in nineteenth century britain
Sociological Research Online, 6, (2)
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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.
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