Cross-class families: a social capital perspective -PhD thesis-

Publication type

Thesis/Degree/Other Honours


Publication date

June 1, 2013


The idea of cross-class families has been controversial over the last three decades. In class analysis literature, the debate was intertwined with issues on the cross-gender class comparison and women’s social class. This thesis will try to deal with the ambiguity in previous cross-class-family studies, which distracted a lot of energy from developing the knowledge of cross-class families. Through the social capital perspective, this thesis examines three key critiques to cross-class families: (1) All families are class homogeneous; (2) Sharing resources is equivalent to class similarity; (3) The occupations of the female and the lower-occupation partners have no empirically significant contribution to their own social class. Through the latest waves of the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and an updated British occupational class scheme, National Statistics Socio-economic Classification (NS-SEC) 2000, the thesis examines the three matters. It concluded that there are substantial amount of families where the male and female partners were different significantly in terms of social capital and social class. Couples share social resources may have significant difference in social class. This sharing may only suggest correlations. The occupations of the female and lower-occupation partners should not be ignored in the measurement of their own socio-economic positions.





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