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Class Endogamy and Social Boundaries: The Elite Marriage Market in Contemporary Norway

In the context of rising social inequalities and class divisions, this article zooms in on our most intimate social relations and asks: Who marries whom in contemporary society? We integrate two disconnected yet closely related literatures on social stratification: cultural class analysis and demographic research on class endogamy.

Innledere er Maren Toft (Institutt for sosiologi og samfunnsgeografi, UiO) og Vegard Jarness (Senter for profesjonsstudier, OsloMet).

"In the context of rising social inequalities and class divisions, this article zooms in on our most intimate social relations and asks: Who marries whom in contemporary society? We integrate two disconnected yet closely related literatures on social stratification: cultural class analysis and demographic research on class endogamy. Cross-fertilizing key theoretical and methodological insights from both of these research subfields, and drawing on underexplored population data from official Norwegian registers, we focus on the role of class on the marriage market. In particular, we focus on two aspects of elite endogamy: whether those located at the upper echelons of the Norwegian class structure tend to marry partners with (i) similar class origin, and (ii), similar current class position. Following Pierre Bourdieu’s rethinking of the class structure in terms of a ‘social space’, we demonstrate how three principles of class divisions are active on the marriage market: the dimension of capital volume, the dimension capital composition, and the dimension of social trajectory. We also show how these divisions intersect with gender divisions in contemporary marriage patterns."

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