Bottero, Wendy and Prandy, Kenneth
The use of marriage data to measure the social order in nineteenth-century Britain
Sociological Research Online, 3, (1)
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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.
Correspondence Analysis; Marriage; Measurement; Social Mobility; Social Order; Social Reproduction; Social Space
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