Marriage Patterns and Social Class: special issue of the International Review for Social History
Call for Papers Deadline:
Call for papers on
Marriage Patterns and Social Class
Supplement International Review of Social History 2005
Guest editors: Marco van Leeuwen, Ineke Maas & Andrew Miles
Courtship and marriage have been prominent on the research agendas of ethnographers, historians, demographers and sociologists alike. Mate selection is important for the well-being of the couples concerned, as well as of interest to their parents, friends, and society at large. Homogamy can markedly influence the distribution of resources. Both in the present and for generations to come, lineages of wealth, poverty, social support or animosity may be attenuated or strengthened.
Among the most longstanding of historical assumptions is the idea that in past societies the constraints impeding free choice of a partner acted much more forcefully than they do in the present. Modern industrial societies, it is argued, are both premised upon and characterised by their openness. Much research has been done on partner choice during the 20th century but the number of long term and historical studies is still too limited to judge whether an exception may turn out to be the rule when a sufficient body of empirical results is at our disposal. In addition, results from the studies cannot be directly compared since they make use of, and are as a result dependent upon, varying class-schemes.
It is the claim of increasing openness of social classes to marriage partners from outside that this supplement sets out to scrutinise. By bringing together historical datasets and a range of conceptual approaches this supplement seeks to expose core dynamics in the making of modern society.
The data studied in any one research tradition are not always sufficient to document these dynamics. Sociological surveys are absent for most of historical time. Qualitative material, such as diaries or comments by contemporaries, are invaluable sources of in-depth information. They might also, however, have problems of representativeness and bias according to social class. Historical demographical data are available for many countries, long periods and all social classes, and they are thus of great importance to describe marriage patterns according to social class in a comparative perspective. However, they might not yield the desired information on human motives. In this supplement various approaches will be presented.
Structure of the Supplement
The Supplement will consist of individual papers each covering a certain region, time span and focus of attention, as well as an introduction. In the introduction to the supplement an attempt will be made to compare marriage patterns according to social class over time and between regions. We will try to use the same occupational classification system (HISCO) which should yield results that are much more comparable than in older studies.
Selection criteria for papers
We invite papers on homogamy – that is who marries who - by social class. Preference will be given to papers covering all social classes for a long period. We expect that most papers will deal with the nineteenth century, but some may start earlier or end later. They must be thoroughly embedded in the historical literature on who marries whom in the respective region, and pay attention to (changes in) determinants of homogamy according to social class. These determinants include economic and demographic changes which affect the size and shape of the marriage ‘market’, personal preferences, the notion of `romantic love’, chances to meet marriage candidates (e.g. at school or church, and during public celebrations or leisure activities), the changing size and nature of the geographical marriage horizon over time (due to improved transport and communication techniques), pressure by parents, peers and the community, and the availability of personal resources.
1 Nov 2003 Submission of abstract (1 page)
15 Dec 2003 Notification of abstract selection by the IRSH
1 June 2004: first draft
15 Dec 2004: final draft
Please send abstracts to the email address provided below.
Marco van Leeuwen
International Institute for Social History Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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