Changes in educational, social class
and social class of origin homogamy in France (1969-2011) : Greater openness overall but increased closure of elitesNouvel article
Despite the relevance of homogamy for the study of social structure, the few existing French studies on the evolution of homogamy have significant weaknesses. This article aims to fill this gap by studying the evolution of educational, social class and social class of origin homogamy (following the Erikson-Goldthorpe-Portocarero-EGP classification) within cohabiting couples, using 42 Labour Force Surveys conducted by INSEE between 1969 and 2011. Homogamy is shown to have clearly declined in all three of the components studied, both in absolute terms and beyond what would be expected as a result of structural changes to the population. Endogamy has declined for almost all groups and the dimensions of social space for partner choice have become largely unimportant. In particular, the specificity of persons with no qualifications, of the self-employed, and of agricultural occupations has very clearly diminished. Only the endogamy of graduates of grandes écoles has increased. Finally, these results are related to changes in class-consciousness, socio-spatial segregation and economic inequality.
Keywords. HOMOGAMY – SOCIAL STRUCTURE – SOCIAL SPACE – SOCIAL CLASSES – LOG-MULTIPLICATIVE MODELS – ASSOCIATION MODELS