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Couples’ places of meeting in late 20th century Britain: class, continuity and change

By Richard Lampard


This article examines couples’ places or contexts of meeting in the second half of the 20th century in Great Britain, utilizing a typology developed by Bozon and Héran. The continuities are as striking as the changes, with social networks maintaining a consistent level of importance, but with trends towards meeting at places of education and work, and away from meeting in public places for drinking, eating or socializing. Rather than reflecting the impact of the rise of individualism and self-identity, these trends arguably reflect the changing importance of settings within people's daily lives, as may the recent growth in internet dating. Social class appears to have become more strongly related to the likelihood of meeting in ‘public’ settings, apparently more common in Britain than elsewhere. Achieved characteristics, especially occupational class, have a greater impact than parental class. Variations between place of meeting categories in the extent of occupational class homogamy appear to reflect levels of class homogeneity within settings more than the impact of either individualism or a homogamy norm. Regional variations in places of meeting highlight the ongoing importance of structural factors such as patterns of sociability or cultural norms

Topics: HQ, HM
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1278

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